Recommended for ages 10+
In Victorian England, seven girls are students at St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls when their headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her brother, Mr. Godding, drop dead at the dinner table, poisoned. Once the girls are sure that the poisoner isn’t among them, they figure out their next steps – namely, how to get Mrs. Plackett and her brother out of sight, and creating a cover story that will allow them to continue on at St. Etheldreda’s, unchaperoned, mistresses of their own destiny! The only problem – the poisoner REALLY wants the targets out of the picture. And if everyone thinks the headmistress and her brother are still alive, then the girls may still be in danger.
The seven girls are often identified with an adjective that gives readers a background on their personality: Disgraceful Mary Jane, who’s more concerned with the attention of the opposite sex than she is about keeping to their cover story; Stout Alice, who’s stout of heart as well as body; Dour Elinor, who could be the mother of the goth movement; Dull Martha, who’s… well… not that bright; Dear Robert, a kind soul with nothing bad to say about anyone; Pocked Louise, the burgeoning scientist with a bit of a blemish condition, and Smooth Kitty, daughter of a businessman, who seems to have inherited his smooth talking business acumen. Their personalities clash and meld according to the situation as they work together to keep up their façade and solve the mysteries that continue to pop up around them.
The book is darkly funny – think the Gashlycrumb Tinies in finishing school. It’s a comedy of manners meets a Victorian crime drama, and Julie Berry – a noted middle grade and YA novelist – embraces the genres. I enjoyed every second I read this book. If I were to find out that somehow, some way, we’d get to go on more adventures with the Sisterhood, I’d be thrilled!
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place hits stores on September 23rd. I’ve already got my order in for my library – this will make for fun Fall reading! Treat yourself and your middle graders/tweens to this hilarious whodunit.
Julie Berry’s author page provides links to social media and information about author visits, plus book info.
Take a look at The Scandalous Sisterhood’s book trailer – then get your order in!