The Weird Sisters

The Weird SistersThe Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 rounded up. A quick, fun read. I loved the Shakespeare angle. Told in first person plural voice as if the three sisters were one person or telling the story collectively. It worked. Not terribly deep – we don’t really know how these sisters got to be so dysfunctional, and so wrapped up in themselves that they haven’t grown up yet. The oldest sister seems to have held the family together for years (or thinks she has) and can’t give up her martyr role. She holds out hope of getting a job at the local college, while her fiance is off teaching in England. She has rigid ideas about what her future will look like, and needs to learn to let go and step out of her comfort zone. The middle sister seemed the most lost to me – pursuing the fast life, clothes, money, men – trying to fill the void of feeling worthless compared to her sisters. She returns home in disgrace having been caught embezzling money at her job. And the youngest – filled with wanderlust and unable to commit to anything. Now she is pregnant. Back home together again, the three sisters debate the past and present, their life choices, and the nature of happiness and self-worth.

Book description: Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can’t solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard’s heroines. It’s a lot to live up to. The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents’ frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them…

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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia De Luce, #4)I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This installment in the Flavia de Luce series felt more like a Christmas special than a full-length feature. We get cameo appearances of previous characters (charming but serving no purpose) all thrown together at Buckshaw during a winter storm. The plot is pretty thin, and the mystery seems very contrived. The characters involved are never really brought to life, so the murder and its resolution are relatively lackluster. Oh well. There is still plenty of charm with Flavia and her relationships with her sisters, her father, Dogger, and the Inspector.

Book Description: It’s Christmastime, and Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.