Madam by Phoebe Wynne #bookreview #thriller #mystery #gothic #historical

Title: Madam

Author: Phoebe Wynne

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

Page Count:  341

My rating: 2 stars

About the book:

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

Madam by Phoebe Wynne is a gothic historical mystery/thriller set in a boarding school on the Scottish cliffs. Of course with my love of creepy boarding school thrillers I thought I would love this one but unfortunately as the saying goes we can’t love them all. 

Rose Christie is the first new teacher hired at the elite Caldonbrae Hall in over a decade. At 26 years old Rose is proud to be the new head of the classics department but stepping into the halls of Caldonbrae Hall Rose quickly begins to see not all is as it seems inside Caldonbrae Hall.

Picking up Madam I quickly started thinking that the story was not what I expected I was going to get and sometimes that is perfectly fine but not so much here. This book reminded me a lot of a young adult fantasy I read a few years back and I really enjoyed that one but this one seemed to take the same concept and make me dislike it. I really didn’t enjoy the characters in this and the story seemed to drag on with the dark material that was probably supposed to shock a reader actually just feeling dull and lifeless since I couldn’t get engrossed in this one.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Phoebe Wynne worked in education for eight years, teaching Classics in the UK and English Language and Literature in Paris. She is both British and French, and currently spends her time between France and England. Madam is her first novel.

10 Comments on “Madam by Phoebe Wynne #bookreview #thriller #mystery #gothic #historical

    • Truth be told a lot of reviews I’m doing now are books I’ve had read and got way behind on my reviews the last year although I do read fairly quickly too so I’m always adding to the list that I need to get posted.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I started out doing just that but then in 2019 life hit and I got a little behind and we all know how 2020 went which put me even more behind. Now I’ve become one of those with spreadsheets keeping me organized as I play catch up. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

            • It really is, I have a tab of what I need to read and one of what I need to review. And the great thing I can organize by color coding my different genres, order by date and make notes for reviews all in one place. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s always interesting to hear about other reader’s experiences with a book. I’m almost finished reading Madam and really enjoying it (although it’s perhaps a bit long), but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as ‘historical’ fiction, with it being set in the early/mid 1990s (or perhaps I’m just very old) 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I totally get that. It didn’t have a “historical” feel to me either but unfortunately it was long enough ago that it gets tagged that. I get a kick out of music I listened to growing up now being on the “classic” stations too though. Glad you enjoyed it more than I did, in a way it reminded me of Handmaid’s Tale in the fact most loved it but I really didn’t like that one either.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s continually intriguing to find out about other peruser’s encounters with a book. I’m nearly completed the process of understanding Madam and truly getting a charge out of it (in spite of the fact that it’s maybe a bit long), however I unquestionably wouldn’t portray it as ‘recorded’ fiction, with it being set in the early/mid 1990s (or maybe I’m super old)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I know, I am in the same boat as you and don’t really think of the 90s as classic or historical but alas they seem to already be classified as such. I’ve even listened to radio that plays early 00’s as classics when it’s hard for me to think of even 70’s, 80s or 90s as such.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: