Truth in fic­tion

Lit­er­ary mys­tery a treat for Brontë fans


Spe­cial to the Whig

Sa­man­tha Whip­ple is the last de­scen­dant of the Brontë fam­ily and pre­sumed heir of the ru­mored Brontë estate and for­tune. Is it real – or just fic­tion? That’s the ques­tion in this lit­er­ary mys­tery, “The Mad­woman Up­stairs.”

“The Mad­woman Up­stairs” is a smart, witty and orig­i­nal first novel by Cather­ine Low­ell. Hero­ine Sa­man­tha be­lieves the hid­den trea­sure to be a piece of fic­tion, but when she en­rolls at Ox­ford Univer­sity, long-lost items from her past be­gin mys­te­ri­ously ap­pear­ing in her room. These clues, writ­ten in her ec­cen­tric fa­ther’s hand­writ­ing, lead her on a lit­er­ary scav­enger hunt that can only be solved by us­ing clues from the writ­ings of the Bronte sis­ters.

April 2016 marked the 200th an­niver­sary of the birth of Char­lotte Bronte, au­thor of “Jane Eyre.” This clas­sic Vic­to­rian tale has in­spired many an adap­ta­tion and, while it is of­ten remembered for the ro­mance be­tween Jane and the brood­ing Mr. Rochester, it is also a story of a com­plex, in­de­pen­dent fe­male pro­tag­o­nist who al­ways re­lies on her­self to get back up on her feet.

If you en­joyed the clas­sic, there are a num­ber of adap­ta­tions for ev­ery taste. “Reader, I Mar­ried Him” by Tracy Che­va­lier is a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries in­spired by “Jane Eyre.” “The Eyre Af­fair” by Jasper Fforde is a sci­ence fic­tion, time-trav­el­ing lit­er­ary ad­ven­ture; and “Jane Steele” by Lyn­d­say Faye is a Gothic retelling, which could be de­scribed as mash-up be­tween “Jane Eyre” and “Dex­ter,” a se­ries on a vig­i­lante se­rial killer.

For more in­for­ma­tion, title avail­abil­ity and reading recommendations, visit www.ce­, find the li­brary on Face­book, call 410-996-5600 or stop by any branch. Leah can be reached at lku­likowski@cc­

Sum­mer reading is here! Sign up at any CCPL branch lo­ca­tion on on­line. The last day to turn in com­pleted reading logs for prizes is Aug. 13. For more in­for­ma­tion, title avail­abil­ity and reading recommendations, visit www. ce­, find the Ce­cil County Public Li­brary on Face­book, call 410996-5600 or stop by any branch.

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