A novel about a movie production about a novel; Plain Bad Heroines is layered enough to pull the reader in and clever enough to make it a page turner.
The book centers around the school of Brookhants, an all girl’s school on the coast of Rhode Island. A cluster of deaths surrounding the school haunts the location, perhaps both literally and figuratively. It being the early 20th century, it’s speculated that the odd deaths and even odder passions at the school are influenced by a sapphic autobiography of Mary MacLane. Cut to an undisclosed year in the 2010’s; a wunderkind from Rhode Island, Merrit Emmons has her wildly popular book about the tragedy surrounding the school picked up to be made into a movie starring social media starlet and “celebsian” Harper Harper. When the daughter of a legendary scream queen is cast alongside her, tensions start to build and the haunting past of the school starts to creep towards the future.
I had very high expectations for this book and it definitely delivered. Emily Danforth definitely has a talent at creating well-developed characters and incredible atmospheres. This is fairly longer than I usually read for fiction, clocking in at over 600 pages. But even when I put the book down I just kept thinking about it and wanted to pick it back up. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is into the dark academia genre or wants to read something that is spooky but not necessarily horrifying.