“Eleanor Faderman knew many books. But never before had she read a book that seemed to know her.”
This is one of those books which did okay in some respects, and rather disappointed in others. While I loved certain parts and characters, there were large chunks that either didn’t work for me or even downright irritated me.
Plain Bad Heroines follows multiple timelines and characters as their story eventually meet and affect each other in ways both creepy and fascinating. In 1902, the Brookhaunts School for Girls, a prestigious boarding school, was the site of several grisly deaths. They all seem to center around a salacious (at the time) book written by a mysterious author, a book that has been banned yet still seems to find its way into several hands and even more hearts. After the multiple deaths, the school is closed.
That should have been the end of things, but of course, people can’t leave these sorts of things alone. A century later, a horror movie is set to be made about the events at Brookhaunts. Then, things start to happen which blur the line between movie and tragedy. At least in theory. Unfortunately, this is where the book failed to deliver.
First of all, the characters in the recent timeline tended to blur together. Each had their own differences, but the tone was similar enough to blend a little. Also, the suddenly popular actress that was supposed to be hot stuff was named-no joke- Harper Harper. Not only was the name obnoxious (the author even had a story as to why that’s the name but it didn’t matter, damage done), but the character annoyed the ever-loving snot out of me. She would say things such as, “You like?” on a regular basis while supposedly looking cool or attractive or mysterious or whatever. It did not work at all. Not even a little bit.
And then there was that entire storyline. It just didn’t quite seem to matter. The pacing was off, and I noticed my attention wandering from time to time, which is never a good sign. In fact, the only reason I kept at the book was the 1900s timeline. That was fascinating and I wish that the entire book had taken place there, without any other timeline at all. I didn’t like any of the characters, but I found them interesting, which is better. That timeline was much more eerie, although it never really scared me. To be fair, it is extremely difficult for a book or movie to scare me. I don’t like bees, so that added an “ew” factor, but I wouldn’t call it scary.
Plain Bad Heroines had some positives to it, but the things that didn’t work for me really didn’t work and, at the end of the day, they were enough to make this a swing and a miss for me.