Dear Reader,

What better time to read an eerie gothic-style novel than during the strange, erratic springtime storms we had a few weeks ago in the UK?

No prizes then for guessing that I was doing exactly that!

While the rain lashed down and the wind howled around the house, I dived into Madam by Phoebe Wynne…

Madam by Phoebe Wynne

Caldonbrae Hall is a remote girls boarding school steeped in tradition and wrapped in secrets. The school, which sits overlooking the Scottish cliffs, promises an education that will ensure its pupils are ‘resilient and ready to serve society.’

Rose Christie, a 26 year old Classics teacher, is the first to be hired in over a decade. Awed by it’s elite reports and prestigious acclaim, Rose is excited to take this new step in her life and make her parents proud.

But all is not as it seems… From the moment Rose arrives, she is aware of a sinister darkness that seeps into every corner, seeming to smother the place. What is really going on here? And why is the Headmaster so aloof? Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the strange etiquettes and the unwelcome attention of one student in particular, Rose feels more isolated than ever. Why does everyone insist she be kept in the dark?

Thwarted in every attempt to uncover the truth and resented by both pupils and teachers alike, Rose begins to wonder what her pupils are really being prepared for… And perhaps most terrifying of all – what was the fate of her predecessor?

As the suffocating atmosphere of the school closes in around her, and ever escaping becomes a more and more unlikely option, Rose begins to rebel from inside. Hidden between the lines of her ancient texts are a cast of brave and fearless women who throughout history rose to the challenge of speaking out and sacrificed themselves for the future. Can Rose light a fire in the doll-like girls of Caldonbrae and break the spell that has gripped the place for 150 years? Or is she too late to save anyone?

A deliciously gothic and compelling read. Think Bronte’s Jane Eyre and and Du Maurier’s Rebecca but with a sinister contemporary twist that will make your skin crawl!

I was lucky enough to read Madam with my good friend and fellow blogger Lucy @ Bookworm Blogger as one of our buddy reads. As always it was great to be able to discuss the book together – constantly trying to guess what would happen next and who was and wasn’t to be trusted! We both found it a little slow in places but it was an atmospheric and eerily compelling story that follows in the footsteps of gothic tradition while holding it’s own with a passionate feminist streak.

We both loved the interweaving of the ancient texts with the narrative of Rose and Caldonbrae. They provided a wonderful depth to the story and some cleverly executed foreshadowing of events to come…

Thank you to Net Galley, Quercus Books and the author, Phoebe Wynne, for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this chilling book in exchange for my honest review. Madam will be published tomorrow!

I’d love to hear you’re favourite gothic-style novel (classic or contemporary) – do share in the comments 🙂

Meg xx

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