The Madwoman Upstairs is Catherine Lowell’s excellent modernization of Jane Eyre with a few other novels from the Brontë sisters added for good measure. Although the Jane Eyre inspiration is clear, Lowell creates a heroine wholly her own in Samantha Whipple, the only living heir to the Brontë estate. Upon arriving at Oxford to study English literature, Samantha learns her room is in a tower that’s included on a tour of the university. That others have semi-frequent access to her room is quite convenient as it means Samantha has few clues once someone starts anonymously leaving her deceased father’s Brontë books in her room. Therein lies the mystery, but The Madwoman Upstairs wouldn’t be complete without the slightly inappropriate romance Samantha indulges in with her tutor (professor in American terms). All the elements come together marvelously as Samantha discovers her father’s past and forges a life of her own even as a fellow student exposes her Brontë connection.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.