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Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth

In some ways, there is an awful lot going on in Emily M Danforth's Plain Bad Heroines , and yet somehow I kept finding myself wondering when something was actually going to happen. It's intriguing and atmospheric with an idiosyncratic, omniscient narrative voice, and the premise is sound, and yet I was left with the feeling that this chunky hipster brick of a book is less than the sum of its parts.  At the centre of the plot is an exclusive New England boarding school for girls in the early 1900s, founded by Libby Brookhants, a young widow who has rekindled her relationship with Alex, a former classmate of hers. Like any girls' school through the ages, Brookhants is a somewhat claustrophobic environment that breeds intense relationships, high emotion and an incessant cycle of rumour and gossip, which perpetuates its own folklore and teeters on the brink of mass hysteria. Flo and Clara, two teenage girls in love, die together in the Brookhants orchard in 1902, stung to death

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