Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry and read by Jayne Entwistle

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
If you are looking for a feel-good, remarkably well read audio book, look no further.  To be honest, this is one of the best audio books I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The reader is British. She does so many voices. She reads with a very British sense of sarcasm and wit, and I want to find out if she voices any other books. I must find that out after writing this review. I would probably listen to a car manual if she read it –particularly if she voiced each element of my car with a unique British accent.
It also helps that the story was pure hilarious. I often found myself laughing out loud while listening to this. It reminds me of an old Cary Grant movie my boyfriend introduced me to called Arsenic and Old Lace. While it’s clear from the very beginning of that movie that it’s the two old ladies responsible for the murder of that story, and in this book, the murderer is unclear (it’s part of the mystery), the same over-the-top comedy is there about something that’s ordinarily not that funny.
Basically, the girl’s hated headmistress and her not so nice brother both fall dead at Sunday night dinner. It becomes clear that they were both poisoned. And instead of reporting the murder, the girls at the school decide to pretend that it never happened, so they can stay at the school together and be free from society’s norms and restrictions. What a premise! Of course they weren’t expecting a million and one complications, not the least of which is the murderer on the loose.

Between the disguises, the strawberry social, the surprise surprise party immediately following the girls’ decision not to report anything, the burying of the bodies, and the little tiny springs of first love/romance, and well the plot was always interesting. Interspersed throughout it all is sarcastic, yet loving banter amongst the girls. There’s crushes and catastrophes. And I was a little sad when it all finished. I could have kept listening to this story for 8 more discs.
I loved the girls. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of their names or the pronouns placed in front of all their names all the time (ie: Smooth Kitty, Stout Alice, Disgraceful Mary Jane, etc.), but I came to appreciate them. The pronouns ended up helping me remember each of the many characters. I guess it also fit nicely with the story and how the girls wished to be more than what society would always seem them as.
All in all, this was a fabulous, hilarious book with fantastic characters and an interesting mystery of a plot. The narrator of the audio book was top notch, and I can’t wait to find more that she’s read. This gets a 10/10.

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