The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
By Julie BerryBlurb: There's a murderer on the loose—but that doesn't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda's from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.
The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.
Genres: Young Adult, Humorous, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
My Rating: 4 stars
It's official, I love Julie Berry. She is the queen of historical fiction to me. I loved All the Truth That's In Me, and I loved this book. It's so different then the previously mentioned book, but it's comical and enthralling and oh so proper that I couldn't help but love it.
These girls, oh these girls! I love their sisterhood. I want to be a part of their sisterhood. They are so smart, and they work together so well! Each character is referred to by an adjective before their name. (Dear Roberta, Pocked Louise, Discraceful Mary Jane, etc.) Normally, this would have begun to bug me, but it somehow works in this story. There's also background information at the beginning on all of the characters in the story, as well as their relatives (who aren't mentioned very much, but give a great background as to each of the girl's home life, which is important for fully being able to accept the story.)
I can't really talk about which girl I liked best; because, honestly, I see them as 'the sisterhood' first and foremost. Each girl is focused on at least once in the story, so you do get to know them fairly well, but so often it talks about them as a group so that is how I see them now.
I like to think of this book as a middle grade Victorian era Clue. The mystery is really fun to figure out; even the girls themselves have suspicion cast upon them at one time or another. They also have to juggle hiding the fact that their headmistress is, well, dead, and how they do that is ingenious and sometimes comical.
Oh, the humor in this book! Some of the more gruesome things in this book, like the murders, are made much lighter by the fact that this book is so irreverant about the whole thing. The girls' reaction to the fact that they just witnessed two murders is a prime example of this. They're so nonchalant about the whole thing. The depictions of some of the oblivious adults is also amusing.
But it still can be a bit creepy, of course. There's strangers hiding in gardens, break ins, and assassination attempts. It's thrilling as well as funny.
Plus, reading about girls who won't conform to restrictive gender roles of the day and who would rather be independent individuals is also very endearing to me. Plus, these girls are so supportive of each other; they aren't catty to one another (there's arguments at times, sure, but it never comes across as 'mean girl'-esque) and it's like they're actual sisters, not just schoolmates.
I loved the writing style of this book; it's so proper and fits in so well with the era that Julie Berry is writing about. It really captured the feel of the story.
I didn't see the ending coming at all! I thought it was perfectly done as a mystery. One problem I did have with it though is that I thought everything ended up a bit too perfectly. There weren't enough consequences for everyone in the end, and realistically, that didn't seem right to me.
This book has a special place in my heart. Definitely one of the best and most unique historical fictions I've read in a long time!