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Plain Bad Heroines
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Plain Bad Heroines

A Novel

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.


Bookseller Recommendation

Plain Bad Heroines

“I have never read a book that was this much fun. This was a roller coaster of a read, hitting all the notes from beginning to end. Gothic elements intermingled with the current time period will keep the reader so engrossed that they won’t realize they’ve stayed up all night reading this book, one that’s the kind of book you don’t want to read in the dark but you just can’t put down. The ride through history that meets the present will keep you entertained, on your toes, and peeking between your fingers as you cover your eyes.”

The Book Dragon image Sandra Cararo, The Book Dragon

Description

In 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls, Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered, with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor, and lesbian "it" girl, Harper, playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, oppo­site B-list actress and former child star, Audrey Wells, as Clara. As Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern her­oines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

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Testimonials


“Emily Danforth's ingenious, jaw-dropping novel is a time-hopping epic about the history of a cursed New England girls' school, doomed lovers, and an equally cursed modern-day retelling via film, plus yellow jackets. The expertly rendered characters are as heartbreaking as they are written with an integrity of vision that saturates every page. ”

Paul Tremblay, Author of A Head Full of Ghosts, and The Cabin at the End of the World.

“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and Gothic mischief, Plain Bad Heroines is a brilliant piece of exuberant storytelling by a terrifically talented author.”

Sara Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith

“It is dark, sweet, and addictive. Emily Danforth displays all the Gothic wit of Edward Gorey and all the soaring meta-fictional ambitions of David Mitchell, alongside a generosity and humanity that is uniquely her own. Simply one of the best books I've read in the last decade. ”

Joe Hill , New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

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About the author


Emily M. Danforth is the author of the highly acclaimed young adult novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Montana and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She lives with her wife and two terrible dogs in Rhode Island. Plain Bad Heroines is her first adult novel.


Reviews

“A layered, farcical take on the sins of woman . . . [Danforth] uses vivid language to capture each time and place, in a narrative that is rare even among lesbian fiction . . . clever quips and striking imagery.”

Lena Wilson, New York Times Book Review

“A delectable brew of gothic horror and Hollywood satire . . . [and] what makes all this so much fun is Danforth’s deliciously ghoulish voice . . . exquisite. ”

Ron Charles , The Washington Post

“A delicious Gothic tale . . . a tasty brew of creepy shuttered prep school, creepy reopened prep school, queer feminist legacy and modern adaptation of said legacy . . . will make you crave more of Danforth’s smart, funny prose. ”

Bethanne Patrick , Washington Post

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