The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Review:

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - Julie BerryI had no idea what I was getting myself into when I got this book from the library, but how could I resist a title like this? A scandalous sisterhood? Sign me up!

It’s listed under both YA and middle grade, which I felt was appropriate after listening to it. Here’s the back cover information:

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.

Julie Berry’s The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.

As mentioned before, I listened to this one, narrated by Jayne Entwistle. I hadn’t had the  time to read through the back cover when I chose it. I was going on a little roadtrip that was about two hours longer than the amount of time I had left on the book I was listening to at its start. I quickly found this wonderful title and downloaded it so I could start when the last one was over. To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be quite an understatement.

The feel of the book was exactly what I expected when I saw the title but not the plot. We’re given an introduction that includes how each girl ended up at the school, and that’s when you know you will love this book or hate it. I knew I’d love it.

I loved the way each girl at St Etheldreda’s School for Girls was addressed; Stout Alice, Smooth Kitty, Disgraceful Mary Jane, Dear Roberta, Dull Martha, Pocked Louise and Dour Eleanor. The girls are resourceful and some are brilliant. As their descriptors indicate, each girl is wildly different from the others but they are sisterhood. They’re friends despite being very different and though they get annoyed and irate with each other, they are still loyal friends. They appreciate their differences and even seem to enjoy them sometimes.

What I didn’t expect was a murder mystery. There was no way that this lot was not about to be entertaining, but there were some enjoyable little surprises and upsets as well. I had been enjoying the whole story and then was particularly pleased with the end and denouement.

It’s a great middle grade book and could be enjoyed by some young adults, but I do feel like there is a bit of an age threshold for it. I got my copy from the library, but it’s available from Amazon and the Book Depository.

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