1902, Brookhants School for Girls: students Flo and Clara are madly in love with each other, as well as completely obsessed with The Story of Mary MacLane, the scandalous debut memoir by 19 year old MacLane. A few months later they are found dead in the woods, after a horrific wasp, the book lying next to their intertwined bodies. Within five years The Brookhants School for Girls is closed. But not before three more people died on the property, each in a troubling way.
Over a hundred years later, Brookhants opens its doors once more, when a crew of young actresses arrive to film a high-profile movie about the rumoured Brookhants curse. And as past and present become grimly entangled, it’s soon impossible to tell quite where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins…
Plain Bad Heroines has a very different feel to it, I’m not sure I can describe the writing well but it has a rhythm and rhyme to it that is hypnotic and immersive, a novel you feel as much as you read.
The gothic tone and old school styling is really excellent, the tale itself utterly compelling, creepy on occasion and absolutely dripping with atmosphere.
Strange goings on at a school lead to a future movie being made – the author creates a group dynamic of layered and unique characters, weaves in an imaginative mythology set around a novel that affects its readers in strange ways then offers a gripping narrative that you find hard to put down.
The ending may divide opinion on whether it offers enough closure but for me it was perfect and the illustrations popping up throughout really added to the overall ambiance of this excellent read.