Friday, November 14, 2014

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Cover image for The scandalous sisterhood of Prickwillow PlaceOne Sunday afternoon at St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies the head mistress and her slimy brother suddenly drop dead.  The seven students of the Victorian girl's boarding school must make a quick decision.  Do they report the deaths to the authorities and face the inevitability of the school being shut down, or do they hide the murders and enjoy, for the first time, some measure of freedom and control of their future? Lead by Smooth Alice, the seven girls begin an elaborate charade to fool all the nosy neighbors, police, doctors and suitors and keep their bid for independence alive. This is a fun, but quirky Victorian novel. The story is a bit extreme and the reader must suspend belief a little to go along with things.  For example, one of the girls dresses up like the departed head mistress, and even the doctor can't see through the disguise.  It is like Clark Kent using glasses so people won't recognize him as superman: Not really believable, but necessary to make the story work.  I must also add an caveat. The girl, disgraceful Mary Jane, says some pretty suggestive things.  It doesn't quite go over the line, turning this into a YA book, but it gets close.  That said, I enjoyed the book. The plot was well crafted, and there were some funny scenes. The seven girls, who you think are just stereotypes in the beginning because of their monikers, turn out to be dimensional and interesting characters. There are certain older grade school girls who would love this one. (351 p.)

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