The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

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.

Description taken from Goodreads. An advance copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. 

Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I got caught up with finals, but now I’m on summer break so I’ll definitely be going back to the three-day-a-week schedule. Thanks for understanding!

THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD is a good read. I just don’t think it’ll be particularly successful with it’s target audience.

The first thing that irritated me was the face that there’s an adjective in front of each girl’s name, every time their name is mentioned in the narrative. It gets old after just a short amount of time, and it’s really the only way you can differentiate the girls. I never ended up remembering whose name belonged to who, I just remembered them by their adjective. If you’re going to have a lot of character, all of them need to be fleshed out to the extent their position as a main character or supporting character allows. Julie Berry just didn’t do that for me in THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD.

The second thing that was disappointing to me here was the premise itself, really. These are what–eighth grade girls? Not even that. They just saw their headmistress and her brother drop down dead in the middle of a meal, and these girls want to bury them and go on living like nothing ever happened? There’s no sense of compassion or humanity or what’s for the best. They’re immature at best, and any thought of telling anyone what has really occurred is glossed over in a matter of seconds.

Those two things really turned me off from this book, and I don’t think that it’s slow narrative will appeal to middle-grade girls in the first place. However, there’s a lot of great Victorian themes here and I loved the way the girls had such a sisterhood with each other. Their friendships and banter was enjoyable also. There’s a lot of research that goes into a book like this, and Berry has definitely delivered on that account. I can definitely see this appealing to certain readers, but as a whole it just didn’t do it for me.

If you’re into the Victorian era or hoping to get into it, I would suggest this book–but only at a certain point. There’s certainly dry parts to THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD, but as a whole it is not entirely unenjoyable and is an entertaining read, but one I would give to middle schooler’s with caution. 2.5 stars.

page count for the kindle edition: 368 pages

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