Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: September 23rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, crime, fiction, historical, humour, medical, mystery, urban fantasy
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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.
Prickwillow Place was an interesting little book. The girls all have distinct personalities (that tie in with their names) which can be quite amusing. There is a lot of changing of character POV throughout which does make it a little bit hard to read, especially if you aren’t really good at keeping up with that sort of thing. What does work really well though is the setting and the fact that the girls are quite clever and capable in their own ways.
It’s a well-written story and although reasonably predictable (it is Middle Grade-Young Adult after all), it is really interesting and Julia Berry throws the girls a few hurdles that they mostly are able to overcome. There is also none of the nasty, spitefulness between any of the girls that seems to occur in a lot of YA novels with a large group of girls you seem to find a lot these days. It’s quite refreshing. There are certainly a few accidental and not-so-accidental upsets which are expected in any group of girls but they don’t cause too many problems.
All in all an enjoyable book, especially for younger girls but well written enough that adults should find it amusing enough.
(Young Adult is actually probably a little bit too old for this. I would say more Middle Grade to Young Adult. Basically for ages 12 – 16 although a slightly more mature 10+ reader would be fine with it also.)