Madam by Phoebe Wynn
May I introduce the newest addition to our family. Purchased at @anthropologieeu on a gorgeous shopping day with my main squeeze Sophie, I had to have her. Isn’t she a beauty?! I am talking advice for a name, at the moment she is called Circe Penelope (hi @madeline.e.miller ). How perfect will she be for a photo of @alex.michaelides new book The Maidens?! In fact for all of my books on mythology. Squeal. There were so many followers I thought of when I brought her home, loving the strong classical representation on this account. Also I nearly burnt my house down, burning paper for this photo – what I do for the gram #worthit
That brings us smoothly to this debut from @phoebewynnewrites who fortuitously is a Classics teacher! This contemporary melodrama has a sharp feminist edge and takes place in the early 1990’s. The story is set in an elite boarding school for girls, housed in a Scottish ancestral castle, Caldonbrae Hall. The protagonist is, you guessed it, also a young Classics teacher, Rose – so y’all know I needed to read this.
You can tell the author is a passionate teacher as this felt very authentic. It begins slowly and the pace increases as the question mount. Rose’s predecessor leaves under mysterious circumstances and there is a real sense of foreboding with a strong sense of place. You can almost feel the Scottish mist and cold ocean breeze.
I became so frustrated with some of the characters but I wonder if this is what the author wanted to achieve. It is a very different time, though near in proximity, and the pervasive misogyny seeps through incrementally.
I absolutely loved the snippets of Rose’s lessons about some all star mythological women because they are more than just educational. They are the golden thread demonstrating the still present victimisation of women. I began to correlate their stories with what was happening in the school and that brought these classical figures to life and that was done so brilliantly. Thank you so much @quercusbooks for this proof copy, the cover design is fierce.