By Julie Berry
The seven young students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls are facing quite a displeasing dilemma. Their headmistress, Mrs Plackett, and her bothersome brother have inconveniently dropped dead at their Sunday dinner. The girls are horrified – now they shall have to be separated! It simply won’t do.
The Scandalous Sisterhood Of Prickwillow Place follows a witty Victorian murder mystery where unexpected guests, inexplicable happenings and unfathomable behaviour abounds.
The Young Ladies
The girls in The Scandalous Sisterhood Of Prickwillow Place are no ordinary school maids and, delightfully, we are treated to more than one main character. There are seven!
Each girl is introduced to us both by name and personality trait. Berry, I’m sure, must have realised that having so many characters would be a touch confusing and so has given us markers to identify them. We have Smooth Kitty, Dour Elinor, Pocked Louise, Disgraceful Mary Jane, Dear Roberta, Stout Alice and Dull Martha, each delightfully unique and necessary as the last.
What I loved most about The Scandalous Sisterhood Of Prickwillow Place was the solidarity between these girls. They are a sisterhood, and must stick together if they are to get out of this without too much trouble. After some initial speculation, Berry ensures these girls are on each others sides – could one really accuse one’s sister of being a murderer?
Overall, I found The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place a fun read. The mystery of the murder was not too complex, but it was not so easy to solve that I lost interest.
Julie Berry has obviously done her homework. Everything from the etiquette to the daily rituals was perfectly in keeping with a Victorian school for girls, and she even took care to write the book in such a way as was written in the time it was set – the author addresses the readers directly.
I do love historical fiction – the premise of this boarding school romp was just too good to pass up and it met my expectations of a light, chucklesome read in every way.
Jane Austin meets Agatha Christie – a smart, highly entertaining romp that had me excessively diverted.