Book details


A Novel

Author: Phoebe Wynne



About This Book

A riveting, modern gothic debut with shades of The Secret History, The Stepford Wives, and a dash of Circe, set at a secretive all girls’ boarding school perched on a craggy Scottish peninsula.
Page Count
On Sale

Book Details

"The simmering menace and mystery kept me absolutely gripped...a smoldering novel that I could not put down." ––Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

"Rebecca meets The Secret History: gloriously dark, gloriously Gothic." ––Sara Collins, bestselling author of The Confessions of Fannie Langton

Named a Best Book of 2021 by Goodreads Entertainment Weekly Parade • PopSugar • Brit+Co • Romper Frolic Crime Reads

Discover the secrets of Caldonbrae Hall in this riveting, modern gothic debut set at an all girls' boarding school perched on a craggy Scottish peninsula.

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge "resilient and ready to serve society."

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs--not to mention her commitment to educating "girls for the future."

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor--a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere--than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.

They want our silence…
They want our obedience…
Let them see our fire burn

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin



Reading Guide

In The News

Praise for Madam:

One of "75 Debuts to Discover in 2021" —Goodreads
One of the "Best Debuts of 2021" Parade
One of the "Best New Mystery Thriller Books May 2021" PopSugar
One of the "Escapist Beach Reads"
One of the "Books to Binge" —
One of the "Books to Read Based on Your Book of the Month Club Favorite" —Women.Com

"Haunting, feminist, and deliciously dark."
Entertainment Weekly

"Suspenseful...a gothic tale powered by bold heroines who refuse to submit."

"A deliciously gothic take on patriarchy, class and the purpose of education...a haunting, atmospheric novel about agency, power and the things people do to keep both."
—Shelf Awareness

"Wynne’s glorious gothic carries the same feminist power and inspiring characters as Circe did."

"Good fun if you like your classics with a twist of creepy."
The Seattle Times

"Imagine if Donna Tartt and Margaret Atwood got together to write a creepy, suspenseful novel about a school for young women in the Scottish Highlands. The result is Madam, a book I couldn't for the life of me put down. Brooding and unsettling, Wynne paints a gorgeous picture that only serves to camouflage the dark secrets she's hidden within."
Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network

"Rebecca meets The Secret History: gloriously dark, gloriously gothic."
—Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton

"The simmering menace and mystery kept me absolutely gripped. It gave me the same feeling as when I read The Secret History and put me in mind of The Furies. I loved the clever interweaving stories of the classical women of ancient myth and history with the tantalizing reveal of the horrifying truth behind the impressive facade of the grand boarding school. This was a smoldering slow burn of a novel that I could not put down.”
—Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

"Strange, dark, and utterly consuming... I loved it."
Katie Lowe, author of The Furies

"Chilling, eerie and very clever. I devoured it."
Polly Crosby, author of The Illustrated Child

"Spine-chillingly addictive, I found myself swept, hand in hand with the delightful Rose, into an unfolding nightmare. Phoebe Wynne is a talented storyteller, and I was reminded of Margaret Atwood, Daphne Du Maurier, and Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre, but with a modern twist. Drawing the classical tragedies into the story added to its richness and the inequitable treatment of women across the centuries, from the antiquities to the present day, echoes through its pages. I was immersed in the bleak landscape and terrifying atmosphere of Caldonbrae Hall from beginning to end. A wonderful, beautifully written novel––I truly loved this book."
Louise Fein, author of Daughter of the Reich

About the Creators