Book of the week: Madam by Phoebe Wynne

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Phoebe Wynne with the early manuscript of her new novel. Picture: Twitter
Phoebe Wynne with the early manuscript of her new novel. Picture: Twitter

If you enjoy gothic fiction with a feminist twist then you're going to want to get your hands on this dazzling debut.


By Phoebe Wynne


 A young teacher arrives at a prestigious girls' boarding school in the Scottish Highlands to teach classics and soon discovers that all is not what it seems.

As she becomes increasingly overwhelmed by the stuffy traditions of the school she turns her classroom into a sanctuary, where she uses stories of heroic women from Greek and Roman history to spark the imaginations of the girls. But as the darkness at the heart of the school becomes more apparent, she makes a disturbing discovery about the reason for the abrupt departure of her predecessor. Can she and her students use the inspiring classical tales to mastermind their escape - before it's too late?

What other books is it being compared with? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

About the author: Phoebe Wynne taught classics for eight years at three British schools. She dedicates this novel to "all the young women that crossed the threshold of my classroom". The debut author currently divides her time between Britain and France.

Phoebe says: "I would love to write about happy things, but that’s not the side of life that my curiosity and I tend to pay attention to. I think Toni Morrison said to write the book you want to read, and I have done that with Madam."

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