Catherine Lowell is writer of novels, letters, and the occasional limerick. She received her degree in English literature from Stanford University, where her academic interests were inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation: “There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” The Madwoman Upstairs owes its existence to a fierce love of the Brontës, a terrible bout of insomnia, and the kind hospitality of many Manhattan coffee shops.
Catherine’s passions include reading obscure books about Ancient Greece and testing out hot chocolates. She’s a great believer in the power of stories to change history and if you have a few hours she will happily tell you far too much on the subject.
Samantha Whipple is accustomed to the media frenzy that follows her wherever she goes. Since her father’s untimely death, she is the presumed heir toa long-rumored trove of diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts passed down from Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. It’s a hidden fortune never revealed to anyone outside of the family, but endlessly speculated about by Brontë scholars and fanatics. Samantha, however, has never seen this alleged estate and,for all she knows, it’s just as fictional as Jane Eyreor Wuthering Heights.
Yet everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and long lost objects from the past begin rematerializing in her life. Her father’s distinctive copy of Jane Eyre, which should have perished in the fire that claimed his life, mysteriously appears on Samantha’s dormitory bed pillow. Annotated in her father’s handwriting, the book is the first of many clues in an elaborate mysteryderived from the world’s greatest literature. With the help of a handsome but inscrutable (very Mr. Rochester-esque) professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontës’ own writing.
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