There’s very little objectively wrong with The Madwoman Upstairs and it is a pleasant, even fun, read. The story goes pretty much exactly where you expect it to and it isn’t a bad ride, there just isn’t really anything in here that elevates it.
As for plot, our main character (I’ve already forgotten her name, sorry) is the last descendant of the Bronte family, through, like, their dad’s sibling or something. Her own father passed away when she was a teenager and was considered to have gone more than a little bit nuts dwelling on the suspected Great Bronte Inheritance (or lack thereof). The main character has always coasted through life on her famous ancestry, even gaining admission to Oxford University on it, but hasn’t really sought out more information and seems to have a sense of ennui about literature in general. Cue a mystery and a dashing young professor and rainstorms and rules to be broken.
Much like My Plain Jane, this book probably would have clicked with me more if I were better versed in the Brontes. Honestly, the blow-by-blow near reenactment of Jane Eyre in My Plain Jane probably served me well in The Madwoman Upstairs. The book borrows heavily from that and of course Wuthering Heights and the history of the sisters themselves – including a third sister I didn’t know existed, and the two books she wrote. Again, it’s a fun-enough book, and I chewed through it faster than I expected, but it isn’t one that will stick around or that I expect to recommend.