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.
First Sentence: Each Sunday afternoon at Saint Etheldreda’s School for Young Ladies on Prickwillow Road in Ely, Cambridgeshire, the seven enrolled young ladies were invited by custom to join Headmistress Constance Plackett while she entertained her younger brother, Mr. Aldous Godding, at the dinner table.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Fine, I’ll admit it: I had no clue what The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place was even about when I first requested it. All I knew about the book was that it was written by Julie Berry, you know, the exact same author that wrote All the Truth That’s In Me, the very same book that had everyone who’ve read it talking about how good it was? That was exactly the reason why I requested The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place – I wanted to see what everybody was talking about. In the end, I couldn’t help but be disappointed in the book, but not for the reasons you’ll think.
“Killed,” Dour Elinor said. “Murdered.” She savored the R‘s in her pronunciation: murrrrderrrred.
“Oh. Oh my,” Dear Roberta began to gasp. “A murder. Oh dear. I think I shall faint.” She fluttered her hand before her face. (ARC 4)
My first fear when I started The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place was that there are six main characters in the book. Six. Six main characters means that it would so hard to keep track of who is who unless they each have their own unique personality that manages to set them apart from the rest. As I expected, I struggled with keeping track of who is who, who does what, who is what, and I had to look at the cover multiple times to recall each girl’s name with their respective personality trait. In fact, even when I was 60% into the book, I was still a bit confused with the characters. If you gave me one of the six main characters’ names, I would probably take about thirty seconds to think about their respective character trait and 10% of the time, I’ll be wrong.
Even though I was confused with what girl had what personality trait, I did admire the girls’ sisterhood and relationship with one another. Normally, people who witness a murder and try to cover it up will end up betraying one another out of fear or betray one another to save themselves (that happens to most people in the murder documentaries I’ve watched). The six girls in The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, however, worked together as a team. There was absolutely no arguing, no backstabbing, and no blaming one another. There was tons of compromising and tons of backing each other up. It was like the girls weren’t even sisters – they had an even stronger bond than that (you don’t want to know how many murder documentaries I’ve watched where family betrays one another for their own personal gain. The sisters in this book is happily not like that). You’ve just got to admire a close relationship like that.
“Surely it couldn’t have been one of us,” Dear Roberta sniffled.
“Why not?” said Disgraceful Mary Jane. “I say hurrah if it was one of us. Finally someone showed some good sense and got rid of those two.” (ARC 5)
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place also gave me some false expectations. Look at the synopsis of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place. It says that The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is “a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.” This is my main problem with The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place: It wasn’t what it said it will be. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place wasn’t hilarious, nor did it have “outrageous” plot twists. Sure, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place made me grin during some (more like very few) moments, but I wouldn’t go so far to call it hilarious. There were also not many “outrageous” plot twists. In fact, I feel like there was only two, or even one, “outrageous” plot twist in this one. I was just bored for a majority of the book.
Overall, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place was disappointing. Some of my disappointment wasn’t the book’s fault exactly, but the way it was pitched. If I didn’t start the book with false expectations, I would probably enjoy The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place a lot more.