The Heroines: A Novel – Eileen Favorite

Posting an review seems to be working out for me…

On a picturesque acreage near Prairie Bluff, Ill., 13-year-old Penny Entwistle, and her mother, Anne Marie, run a retreat where literary heroines seek temporary refuge from their tragic destinies. Franny Glass, Madame Bovary, Scarlett O’Hara, Catherine Linton and others find respite from their varied crises, but must return to their books eventually and suffer the fate that awaits. Penny, in the first throes of teenage rebellion, has little patience for her mother and the heartbroken or otherwise distraught women Anne Marie refuses to counsel (lest she change the course of their stories). And Anne Marie lavishes on her heroine lodgers the attention her daughter longs for. But when a mythical Celtic knight arrives, searching for his lost heroine Deirdre, Penny gets caught up in a web of deception that lands her in the loony bin. While the staff diagnoses her fabulous story as an attempt to deal with the long-ago death of her father, her mother commits Penny as a means of protecting her from peculiar goings-on at the house, and Penny must rely on the very fictional characters her mother favors to help her.

I really loved the concept of this book. Fictional characters merging with our worlds, combined fates, etc. It just wasn’t … done well. Too much going on, not enough I care about, not enough interaction with the heroines themselves. There were so many stories introduced but not told, and too much paid to very YA-ish themes (unknown parentage, parent-daughter angst, etc.) I want more on this concept, but from a different author. Oh, and the chapter titles were just inane.

How many damn books can I read that take place (at least partially) in an insane asylum?!

It did make me want to read some of the classics that I haven’t, though. Especially Wuthering Heights and Madame Bovary


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