Queer girls, a movie set, a haunted school and a dual timeline? Sign me up, sister. I actually DNF’d Miseducation of Cameron Post, but emily m. danforth’s Plain Bad Heroines seemed right up my ally so I powered through all 600+ pages.
The back cover of my ARC bills it at “The Favourite meets the Haunting of Hill house”
This is a complicated story to explain, even after having read the whole thing, so bear with me. There’s Brookhants, a Rhode Island school for girls that is reportedly haunted after several creepy happenings there in the early 1900s. The headmistress, Libbie, and her live-in lover and teacher, Alex, are the main pivot points of that story, and the girls of the school are obsessed with the book by Mary Maclean. Oh, and there are suspicious deaths, obviously. Then we have the present day–2014/15ish–where Merritt Emmons has penned a book about Brookhants that is being made into a movie starring Harper Harper and Audrey Wells–and that film quickly begins experiencing weird things–but what’s true, what’s for the film, and who can they trust?
While there is a plot here, there’s just a lot of interconnected stories and reveals that kind of drive this forward. I loved the use of footnotes–just the right amount in my view–and the weird third person narration and the characters were interesting and I liked the setting a lot. The book was reallllly loong and it definitely won’t be for everyone, but I was intrigued. I enjoyed it. I’ll recommend it to people looking for a spooky read–but it’s spooky in a fun way not like a “nightmare” way and there’s a lot of humor and jest in it too, which is nice. Also, it’s super super queer so it’ll definitely be on ALLLL those year-end lists.