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Madam: A Novel Kindle Edition
"The simmering menace and mystery kept me absolutely gripped...a smoldering novel that I could not put down." ––Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
"Rebecca meets The Secret History: gloriously dark, gloriously Gothic." ––Sara Collins, bestselling author of The Confessions of Fannie Langton
Named a Best Book of 2021 by Goodreads • Entertainment Weekly • Parade • PopSugar • Brit+Co • Romper • Frolic • Crime Reads • SheKnows.com • Women.com
Discover the secrets of Caldonbrae Hall in this riveting, modern gothic debut set at an all girls' boarding school perched on a craggy Scottish peninsula.
For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”
Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs--not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”
It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor--a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere--than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.
A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.
They want our silence…
They want our obedience…
Let them see our fire burn
Praise for Madam:
One of "75 Debuts to Discover in 2021"―Goodreads
One of the "Best Debuts of 2021"―Parade
One of the "Best New Mystery Thriller Books May 2021"―PopSugar
One of the "Escapist Beach Reads" ― Brit+Co
One of the "Books to Binge"―SheKnows.com
One of the "Books to Read Based on Your Book of the Month Club Favorite"―Women.Com
"Haunting, feminist, and deliciously dark."
“Suspenseful...a gothic tale powered by bold heroines who refuse to submit.”
“A deliciously gothic take on patriarchy, class and the purpose of education...a haunting, atmospheric novel about agency, power and the things people do to keep both.”
"Wynne’s glorious gothic carries the same feminist power and inspiring characters as Circe did."
“Good fun if you like your classics with a twist of creepy.”
––The Seattle Times
"Imagine if Donna Tartt and Margaret Atwood got together to write a creepy, suspenseful novel about a school for young women in the Scottish Highlands. The result is Madam, a book I couldn't for the life of me put down. Brooding and unsettling, Wynne paints a gorgeous picture that only serves to camouflage the dark secrets she's hidden within."
―Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network
“Rebecca meets The Secret History: gloriously dark, gloriously gothic.”
―Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
“The simmering menace and mystery kept me absolutely gripped. It gave me the same feeling as when I read The Secret History and put me in mind of The Furies. I loved the clever interweaving stories of the classical women of ancient myth and history with the tantalizing reveal of the horrifying truth behind the impressive facade of the grand boarding school. This was a smoldering slow burn of a novel that I could not put down.”
―Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
"Strange, dark, and utterly consuming... I loved it."
―Katie Lowe, author of The Furies
"Chilling, eerie and very clever. I devoured it."
―Polly Crosby, author of The Illustrated Child
"Spine-chillingly addictive, I found myself swept, hand in hand with the delightful Rose, into an unfolding nightmare. Phoebe Wynne is a talented storyteller, and I was reminded of Margaret Atwood, Daphne Du Maurier, and Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre, but with a modern twist. Drawing the classical tragedies into the story added to its richness and the inequitable treatment of women across the centuries, from the antiquities to the present day, echoes through its pages. I was immersed in the bleak landscape and terrifying atmosphere of Caldonbrae Hall from beginning to end. A wonderful, beautifully written novel––I truly loved this book."
––Louise Fein, author of Daughter of the Reich
About the Author
- ASIN : B08FYZHKTB
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (May 18, 2021)
- Publication date : May 18, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 2613 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 341 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1250272041
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #131,654 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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I don't know exactly how to tell you about this book. It is being given bad reviews by some for a specific reason, but I can't discuss why without spoiling the whole book. I actually liked the story. I am a sucker for atmosphere, which this book has plenty...a castle on the cliffs filled with bratty teens, weird caretakers, an elusive headmaster, and a completely unreliable staff...what is not to love. It made me keep reading, I had to know the secret. What was being hidden and why? This issue I have with this novel isn't about the story itself but the time it takes to reveal the secrets. Now, before you all start booing me, I know the author wants to build suspense. I get it. I could have just used fifty less pages of me guessing what was going on a Caldonbrae, which I was correct, and a slightly shorter book. If you are super critical, skip this. If you like the whole story idea, like I did, it was an interesting, atmospheric read, give it a go.
Don't waste your time and your money on this.
Top reviews from other countries
Some strengths - the author can create tension. The précis’d lessons on the heroines of Greek myth were neat proof of a talented teacher.
Problems - the psychology. Underlying the school’s ‘sinister’ ethos, is the eternal demand for a certain luxury commodity I won’t name here. The requirement for such an establishment in late twentieth century Britain isn’t sufficiently explored. We don’t hear a great deal about why the adults involved support the scheme - beyond the obvious - compliance is rewarded and dissenters will be punished.
Avoiding spoilers, I’ll speak in generalities; why write a book like this and not explore the dualities of certain fundamental aspects of human nature, is a bigger mystery than any contained in its pages. Some of the darker revelations, intended to be deeply disturbing, come off as quaint, or ludicrous. The novel is billed as darkly feminist - we discover choice is good, indoctrination and coercion bad. That society is structured to favour men and their needs, and left unchecked by brave young women, the corrupting influence of the patriarchy creates shallow, competitive girls who view themselves as worth no more than they’re valued. But in both the setting and the set up, ‘Madam’ sheds less revelatory light on any of that than the Greek myths do, making this book feel purposeless, and oddly dated. I’d have done better to read Jean Brodie, and watch the Khardashians, maybe.
I was disappointed. The premise is interesting but I just think it’s really badly written. Another reviewer claims “reminiscent of Du Maurier.” It really really isn’t.
It feels disjointed and badly edited in places, and some of the descriptive language made me cringe.
As a previous reviewer said, there are no sympathetic characters. The protagonist wafts about being startled or confused and interactions with the other characters are over-described. Perhaps to disguise the weak dialogue. I’m not even halfway through this and I’m bored. Totally failed to engage me.
I rarely give up on a book and I don't usually post bad reviews but I just don't get the good reviews of this. I'd really welcome replies from people who enjoyed it- please show me what I missed.
In the autumn of 1992 Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher, has just joined the faculty of Caldonbrae Hall, a boarding school for girls located in the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. The castle was built on a peninsula on the coast of Scotland with turrets, cloisters, the occasional gargoyle and nearby crashing waves. A perfect Gothic location. Established 150 years ago, the school is considered a beacon of excellence that promises that its pupils will emerge 'resilient and ready to serve society'.
From the start Rose feels overwhelmed by the institution: its arcane traditions and entitled pupils. Rose must always be addressed as ‘Madam’ and the icy, vindictive students seem to make it sound an insult.
While seeking to inspire her students with an appreciation for the women of ancient history and myth, Rose also investigates the mysteries associated with the school. Does something sinister beat at the heart of Caldonbrae? You will have to read the book to find out as my lips are sealed against spoilers.
This is Phoebe Wynne’s debut novel. She had taught Classics for a number of years and integrates material associated with these studies into the narrative. ‘Madam’ was also inspired by ‘Rebecca’ with Wynne drawing upon the traditions of Gothic literature.
With respect to the audiobook, Nathalie Buscombe has worked extensively in film, radio, television, as well as on stage. Her voice was strong, clear and crisp, effortlessly portraying the range of characters in the novel. I had enjoyed her work on other audiobooks and felt that she did an excellent job here.
I found ‘Madam’ an unsettling academic novel exploring themes linked to female agency. The descriptions of the castle and its environs was very atmospheric. Personally, I found it a compelling read and was fully immersed in my dual read/listen.
Having loved this debut, I look forward to news of Phoebe Wynne’s future projects.