The Madwoman Upstairs (Paperback)
March 2016 Indie Next List
“The Madwoman Upstairs is both a reference to the insane wife of Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre and to Samantha Whipple, who is the last remaining descendant of the Bronte sisters. This exciting literary debut is in part a study of literature, specifically the works of the Bronte sisters, and in part an exploration of the mystery of their legacy. Samantha cannot escape her past with their work, the world's interest in her inheritance of previously undiscovered family treasures, and the current puzzle of artifacts mysteriously appearing in her room that may or may not answer some of her questions. For mystery and Bronte fans alike, this is a delightful romp by very clever author to watch.”
— Terry Gilman (W), Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA
In Catherine Lowell's smart and original debut novel--"an enjoyable academic romp that successfully combines romance and intrigue" (Publishers Weekly)--the only remaining descendant of the Bronte family embarks on a modern-day literary treasure hunt to find the family's long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her father left behind and the Brontes' own novels. Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. Since her eccentric father's untimely death, she is the presumed heir to a long-rumored trove of diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts passed down from the Bronte family--a hidden fortune never revealed to anyone outside of the family, but endlessly speculated about by Bronte scholars and fanatics. Samantha, however, has never seen this alleged estate and for all she knows, it's just as fictional as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and long lost objects from the past begin rematerializing in her life, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father's handwriting. With the help of a handsome but inscrutable professor, Samantha plunges into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontes' own works. A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, The Madwoman Upstairs is a smart and original novel and a moving exploration of what happens when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.