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New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel. Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chap New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel. Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chapel is the second youngest of six sisters, all heiresses to a firearms fortune. They’ve grown up cloistered in a palatial Victorian house, mostly neglected by their distant father and troubled mother, who believes that their house is haunted by the victims of Chapel weapons. The girls long to escape, and for most of them, the only way out is marriage. But not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, to heart-wrenching consequences. Ultimately, Iris flees the devastation of her family, and so begins the story of Sylvia Wren. But can she outrun the family curse forever?


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New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel. Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chap New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel. Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chapel is the second youngest of six sisters, all heiresses to a firearms fortune. They’ve grown up cloistered in a palatial Victorian house, mostly neglected by their distant father and troubled mother, who believes that their house is haunted by the victims of Chapel weapons. The girls long to escape, and for most of them, the only way out is marriage. But not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, to heart-wrenching consequences. Ultimately, Iris flees the devastation of her family, and so begins the story of Sylvia Wren. But can she outrun the family curse forever?

30 review for The Cherry Robbers

  1. 5 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    In a Nutshell: Great premise, could have had better execution, disappointing ending, slow! Unlike what many reviews tell you, this isn’t a Gothic horror. More like a historical atmospheric suspense. Story: New Mexico, 2017. Sylvia Wren is a well-known but reclusive artist. She stays on the outskirts with her partner Lola. But when a persistent journalist hints at digging into her family roots, Sylvia knows that she can’t hide under the assumed identity anymore. Flashback to Connecticut, 1950s: Iris In a Nutshell: Great premise, could have had better execution, disappointing ending, slow! Unlike what many reviews tell you, this isn’t a Gothic horror. More like a historical atmospheric suspense. Story: New Mexico, 2017. Sylvia Wren is a well-known but reclusive artist. She stays on the outskirts with her partner Lola. But when a persistent journalist hints at digging into her family roots, Sylvia knows that she can’t hide under the assumed identity anymore. Flashback to Connecticut, 1950s: Iris Chapel is one of the six Chapel sisters. With the Chapel name being known for their firearms fortune, Iris’s mother Belinda is convinced that their house is haunted and cursed by the spirits of those killed by Chapel guns. The six girls are fed up of living with a weird mother and an absentee father and they see marriage as their only means of escape. However, not long after the first sister is married, tragedy strikes, and keep striking with devastating consequences. Why and when did Iris Chapel become Sylvia Wren? You need to read and find out. The book comes in the first person perspective of Iris/Sylvia. What genre it is: Atmospheric, historical, drama, minor traces of suspense and magical realism. What genre it is NOT: Horror, Gothic, murder mystery, thriller, paranormal. ❌: It is a slow read. (which is not a good thing for a 430+ page book.) ✔: it still kept me hooked as the suspense made me go faster and keep flipping the pages. ❌: Lots of depressing stuff. Too many deaths. ✔: The foreshadowing helps you be prepared for the deaths. ❌: Too much of foreshadowing can also spoil the suspense. ✔: Loved the complicated relationship between the six siblings. Never goody-goody. Very realistic. All six named after flowers and have personalities almost matching their flower-names. ❌: When you like the characters, you do feel sorry for what happened to them. And what happened to them isn’t good. 😩 ✔: There are some really spooky scenes. Some elements of magical realism too. ❌: All the spookiness is in the background. Nothing to make you get nightmares. The fantastical elements are underutilised. ✔: Great themes – Feminism, LGBTQ, gender discrimination, patriarchal dominance. ❌: I didn’t like the portrayal of one of the LGBTQ characters; it felt stereotypical. ✔: Great cover, representing the book perfectly. Nice title too if you understand the meaning and relevance of it. Hint: It has nothing to do with the fruit. ❌: You won’t understand the relevance of the title even after you read the author’s note, which only reveals the poem the phrase is borrowed from. I can take a stab at interpreting the title, but it will be a huge spoiler. ✔: It’s a women-dominated show all the way. ❌: Not a single good/memorable male character. ✔: Excellent start and a gripping storyline, almost till the end. Though you know what’s going to come, you still want to read it. ❌: The ending is so disappointing. No explanations provided at all. You just have to accept what happened without knowing why. Not fair! I have a few more ✔s and ❌s but I want to keep this review spoiler-free. So this is all you get! All in all, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. Had the ending satisfied me, this would have easily reached, maybe even crossed the 4 star mark. But the final chapters were more like an anti-climax than a climax to the story. I wanted a lot more! Still, it is a great atmospheric read, as long as you don’t mind the slow or depressing storyline and the excessive foreshadowing. 3.75 stars. (I was confused between 3.5 and 3.75, but as both ratings round up to 4 on my scale, I am going with the higher rating as I didn’t feel like keeping it aside.) My thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley for the DRC of “The Cherry Robbers”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Val (pagespoursandpups)

    Wow. I'm not sure I was prepared for this book. I went into the book mostly blind, and not knowing what awaited me. I was in for a pleasant surprise! A gothic fiction is outside of my normal genre, but man.... I was in it 100 percent for this one! A story about a firearms dynasty and the family that ultimately paid the price for its destruction. Six girls, sisters with a Father who was always at work and a Mother who never wanted to be married or a mother. Luckily they had each other, and they ma Wow. I'm not sure I was prepared for this book. I went into the book mostly blind, and not knowing what awaited me. I was in for a pleasant surprise! A gothic fiction is outside of my normal genre, but man.... I was in it 100 percent for this one! A story about a firearms dynasty and the family that ultimately paid the price for its destruction. Six girls, sisters with a Father who was always at work and a Mother who never wanted to be married or a mother. Luckily they had each other, and they made the most of it. Paired off by age in groups of 2, the girls lived a privileged life that was very different from others of that time. They kept to themselves as their parents wanted no part of society. Their mother, Belinda, had battled her demons since her mother died during childbirth. As no one would question, each girl dreamed of the day she would be able to live her own life, away from their mad mother and a world with no outside social interaction. Once the girls find love, a kind of curse is unveiled. Belinda has foreseen "that bad things will happen". As the story unfolded, I was utterly captivated. What, what, what in the heck was going to happen next? Was this curse real? When would it stop? Was anyone immune? Each of the daughters were well developed. Each had her own strengths and weaknesses and I felt a tug towards each one. The story of their ultimate demise is told through the voice of Iris, the fifth daughter, who is the only one to avoid the curse and who goes on to life outside of the family home. She left the world of Iris behind and became Sylvia Wren. A successful and well-renowned artist at the age of 80, she receives a letter informing her that her hidden identity has been discovered. She relives the tragedies, the grief, and memories of the life she thought she left behind. The story visits themes of family, feminism, sexuality, grief and expectations. Although many questions go unanswered, I was left with a feeling of satisfaction. The truth will never truly be known. I was surprised at how vested I was in this story. I finished this book in two days, not being able to put it down for long. That is the mark of a great author - these characters and this story had me wanting more at every chapter. An odd but strangely compelling read. My heart was racing as I read on. I definitely recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner Books for this arc to read and review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Wonderfully spooky and haunting as a Gothic novel should be. The author did a great job relaying a murderous pattern without it getting monotonous. Not sure that I understood the moral of the story. Is it that we shouldn't have sex with men? That dicks will lead to death? If anyone who read the book could clarify I would appreciate it. Wonderfully spooky and haunting as a Gothic novel should be. The author did a great job relaying a murderous pattern without it getting monotonous. Not sure that I understood the moral of the story. Is it that we shouldn't have sex with men? That dicks will lead to death? If anyone who read the book could clarify I would appreciate it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    Calling out all the fans of Shirley Jackson, this book will quench your thirst for a creepy gothic thriller with an emphasis on loneliness and what grief can do to us, similar to Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Walker's writing is seductive and would claw at your inner calmness, creating tension inside you, not quite different from what the protagonist Sylvia Wren feels. I was on the edge through most of the book, fighting Sylvia's demons and trying to find answers to questions that Calling out all the fans of Shirley Jackson, this book will quench your thirst for a creepy gothic thriller with an emphasis on loneliness and what grief can do to us, similar to Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Walker's writing is seductive and would claw at your inner calmness, creating tension inside you, not quite different from what the protagonist Sylvia Wren feels. I was on the edge through most of the book, fighting Sylvia's demons and trying to find answers to questions that are eventually left unanswered, or better said, left to the reader's interpretation. Sylvia Wren, a popular feminist artist, has a dark secret- she is not who she claims to be and has managed to keep her tragic past buried until she is confronted by a sneaky journalist who knows her real identity and wants to brings that out to the public. This book felt like an exploration of the female mind and sexuality - a journey through the wild terrains of societal norms and the perception of the fairer sex in the 1950s. Walker manages to instil horror in her readers - the horror of not being loved, the edginess that comes with knowing that you'd never be understood and will forever be confined in the land of the unloved & broken.💔 There are ghosts in this book but it's onto the readers to decide whether these ghosts are real or figments of imagination created by grief, anxiety and years of suppression. I'm taking my time to absorb the story and make my deductions, this is not going to be easy! Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for this eARC! The Cherry Robbers is due to publish on 1st February, 2022. 4.5/5 🌟(rounded up). TW: Death, Hallucinations, Emotional abuse, Absent parents, Accident, Drowning, Self harm, War references.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I'm not sure what to think about this book. I definitely didn't get any answers as to why five of the six Chapel sisters died. At 416 pages you would think the answer would have been on one of them. The only positive from this is the very descriptive writing that I enjoyed. I'm not sure what to think about this book. I definitely didn't get any answers as to why five of the six Chapel sisters died. At 416 pages you would think the answer would have been on one of them. The only positive from this is the very descriptive writing that I enjoyed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarai Walker

    My new novel, The Cherry Robbers, is published today! It's available in hardback, e-book, and as an audiobook narrated by January LaVoy. My new novel, The Cherry Robbers, is published today! It's available in hardback, e-book, and as an audiobook narrated by January LaVoy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Apoorva

    WOAH! WOAH! That was my response nearly throughout the book. Yes, with all the twists, turns & brutal incidents said in the fiction, I simply couldn't control my reactions after reading it & being shocked. I headed blindly into this tale after being captivated by the cover & the book's title. Furthermore, glancing at the pages, I felt I would DNF the book midway; in fact, I was really consuming page after page swiftly. I have never read gothic novels & I, for sure, am taking up on this genre mor WOAH! WOAH! That was my response nearly throughout the book. Yes, with all the twists, turns & brutal incidents said in the fiction, I simply couldn't control my reactions after reading it & being shocked. I headed blindly into this tale after being captivated by the cover & the book's title. Furthermore, glancing at the pages, I felt I would DNF the book midway; in fact, I was really consuming page after page swiftly. I have never read gothic novels & I, for sure, am taking up on this genre more in 2022. I would like to suggest this book to all gothic thriller lovers. You won't be dissatisfied by Sarai's female-centric narrative describing the vast sentiments of loneliness & despair. It even releases the raw emotions inside you, causing you to sense the uneasiness felt by the protagonist. The writer made sure that I was consistently on my toes, guessing what was proceeding & not stopping one bit. I desire to thank NetGalley, the publisher & author, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. I am leaving my review willingly.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    If the premise of Sarai Walker’s sophomore novel sounds a bit Virgin Suicides – a cursed family with six sheltered daughters doomed to die in succession – the end result is, thankfully (a hater writes), more like a mash-up of A Reunion of Ghosts, Three-Martini Lunch, and The Psychology of Time Travel sans sci-fi: a warm, highly detailed historical drama that draws the reader completely into its world. Looking at the blurb now I recall that what drew me to it, aside from Walker’s name, wa If the premise of Sarai Walker’s sophomore novel sounds a bit Virgin Suicides – a cursed family with six sheltered daughters doomed to die in succession – the end result is, thankfully (a hater writes), more like a mash-up of A Reunion of Ghosts, Three-Martini Lunch, and The Psychology of Time Travel sans sci-fi: a warm, highly detailed historical drama that draws the reader completely into its world. Looking at the blurb now I recall that what drew me to it, aside from Walker’s name, was the fact that the main character is an artist, and the idea of the story exploring how she reinvents herself after a tumultuous and tragic childhood. In fact, this figures very little. For most of the book we are firmly among the Chapel family in 1950s New England. This was a milieu I wasn’t sure I was interested in... until I found myself hundreds of pages deep and thoroughly engaged. Ultimately, I’m thankful I misunderstood what it was about; I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise, and I’m very glad I did. I received an advance review copy of The Cherry Robbers from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter | Linktree

  9. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Wow. Just wow. I absolutely LOVED this novel! I'm a huge fan of Sarai Walker's writing. Her debut, Dietland was my favorite novel of 2015, and I've been eagerly awaiting her sophomore effort ever since. She did not disappoint. I love how the concept of feminism is weaved throughout this novel, just like "Dietland" - but it's completely different in plot and structure. "The Cherry Robbers" is an original, quirky, heartbreaking, and captivating novel from start to finish. I loved Sylvia/Iris as th Wow. Just wow. I absolutely LOVED this novel! I'm a huge fan of Sarai Walker's writing. Her debut, Dietland was my favorite novel of 2015, and I've been eagerly awaiting her sophomore effort ever since. She did not disappoint. I love how the concept of feminism is weaved throughout this novel, just like "Dietland" - but it's completely different in plot and structure. "The Cherry Robbers" is an original, quirky, heartbreaking, and captivating novel from start to finish. I loved Sylvia/Iris as the protagonist. She was the perfect person to tell the tragic deaths of her 5 sisters (don't worry, that's not a spoiler). Part gothic ghost story, part feminist love letter. I loved the symbolism. The Chapel sisters stole/devoured/broke my heart. I loved everything about it. I was never bored, and I'm a VERY picky reader. All the stars! I hope this book becomes an instant bestseller when it is released in the spring. AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE. Thank you, Netgalley and Mariner Books for the digital ARC.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I was so excited at the idea of a gothic by Sarai Walker, who wrote the weird and wonderful novel DIETLAND. But this ended up being just fine, which was a real disappointment given how much I was hoping for. It's got several gothic elements--big old unusual house, possibly ghosts, the shadow of death hanging over everything, a group of sisters practically cloistered--but it never really felt haunted. It just does exactly what it says it's going to do, which I guess I shouldn't fault it for and y I was so excited at the idea of a gothic by Sarai Walker, who wrote the weird and wonderful novel DIETLAND. But this ended up being just fine, which was a real disappointment given how much I was hoping for. It's got several gothic elements--big old unusual house, possibly ghosts, the shadow of death hanging over everything, a group of sisters practically cloistered--but it never really felt haunted. It just does exactly what it says it's going to do, which I guess I shouldn't fault it for and yet I am doing it anyway. Bookended as a flashback by artist Sylvia in her 80's, we are introduced to the life she left behind as one of the Chapel girls, six daughters born into a family who made their fortune in firearm manufacturing. In this world Chapel is as well known a name as Colt or Winchester. The six sisters are close to each other and almost seem separate from the world at large, in their big Victorian house. And we know right off what is going to happen thanks to a rhyme the locals invent: the Chapel sisters, first they get married and then they get buried. And, indeed, we then proceed to watch 5 of the 6 sisters (minus our narrator, of course) die. The buildup to the first death, of oldest sister Aster, is slowly built up and works quite well. As does the second, of second sister Rosalind, where no one believes the same thing would ever happen again. But after those two it stalls. Because you wonder, how can we keep repeating this? Are we just going to keep doing this same thing. And with some variations, yes we are. And why? Well, that's not really clear. This is where it lost me. There is so much that Walker piles on these sisters--a legacy of ancestral women who all died in childbirth, their own mother who was virtually forced into marriage and who never recovered from the trauma of it, their father's wealth made from guns and death, patriarchy and how marriage is women's only option while also robbing them of identity--that it feels rather muddled. And it's never clear why any of this happens, and that it happens so many times (including, to my chagrin, to one sister who's a lesbian and never even gets married!) I just couldn't figure out what the purpose was beyond saying that women in 1950 didn't have it so good. Which, I mean, yes. I needed it to take me somewhere, I needed it to open something up, and instead it felt like many things I'd read before. I kept reading, waiting for it to turn, waiting for it to shift into something more, but it never did. To be fair, I never cared much for The Virgin Suicides, which this definitely reminded me of, though it also lacked the tone and perspective that at least made that one noteworthy if not enjoyable for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Beautiful and melancholy Oooof this book tore me up. If you enjoy Gothic literature with feminist critique, this is the one. I marked it as horror, but it's not horror in the jump-scare sense, but in the ways that upper white womanhood was a hellshow in the 1950s if you didn't fit in with societal (or husband's) expectations. It's a critique and an homage to Gothic literature, and to the fate women of a certain societal standing were expected to step into willingly. Add art, flowers, a creepy Victor Beautiful and melancholy Oooof this book tore me up. If you enjoy Gothic literature with feminist critique, this is the one. I marked it as horror, but it's not horror in the jump-scare sense, but in the ways that upper white womanhood was a hellshow in the 1950s if you didn't fit in with societal (or husband's) expectations. It's a critique and an homage to Gothic literature, and to the fate women of a certain societal standing were expected to step into willingly. Add art, flowers, a creepy Victorian house, grief and trauma, shades of Dickinson and Tennyson and Sarah Winchester, commentary on the gun manufacturing industry, and a gripping story about mothers and daughters and motherless daughters and headless brides with a dash of weirdness, and you get this book. The ending was...pretty abrupt, but it worked. I don't normally like diary-type books or past-present storylines, but I was enthralled by how this one was set up, mostly because there wasn't a lot of back and forth. Once we were in Iris Chapel's life, we were in in, for good or bad, until Iris Chapel was no more and only Sylvia Wren remains. Oh, and it's queer. It sidesteps around *some* of the issues I thought the book was going to have (chiefly, naming all men bad) and gives the briefest of glances of relationships for queer women in the 1950s...and the lesbian pulp literature that floated around. I did want more on Lola, but I can see why Walker chose to have her included as she was, even if it was unsatisfying for me. The story was not about Lola and Sylvia, but Iris and her sisters, and her mother, and all of the mothers who came before them. I could talk more, particularly about the role of men in this book, but frankly they were not the interesting part and were only vehicles of destruction (although again, interesting commentary on men and courtship and men and marriage). Daddy Chapel was a blandly absent character focused more on work and respectability than his children (until it was too late) (although there were undertones of something...darker??? Kinda???), and the men the sisters fall for (*ahem* grasp at as a lifeline to escape their dysfunctional family) were again, plot devices meant to shepherd the girls off to their fates. Once their part was done, they vanished into their own fresh starts (for the most part). I received this ARC from the publisher for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    Destiny

    If Shirley Jackson and Taylor Jenkins Reid had a baby, it would be THIS BOOK!! OH MY GOODNESS! The synopsis does this book absolutely no justice, though, so I suggest going into it relatively blind and letting yourself be immersed in the story and carried along with the plot. The characters, although plentiful, are all very well-developed and I honestly could relate to each person, making the novel so much better. This story has a decidedly Gothic (here's the Shirley Jackson) feel to it despite b If Shirley Jackson and Taylor Jenkins Reid had a baby, it would be THIS BOOK!! OH MY GOODNESS! The synopsis does this book absolutely no justice, though, so I suggest going into it relatively blind and letting yourself be immersed in the story and carried along with the plot. The characters, although plentiful, are all very well-developed and I honestly could relate to each person, making the novel so much better. This story has a decidedly Gothic (here's the Shirley Jackson) feel to it despite being pretty much contemporary, but it's done in a way that you feel as though you are right there living the action with the characters. Add in a little bit of Taylor Jenkins Reid and her delightful prose regarding feminism and sexuality (think Evelyn Hugo), and you're left with a gem of a book. I couldn't read this fast enough and even though it was over 400 pages long, I devoured it in less than 24 hours! I would give this book all the stars, if I could! Absolutely breathtakingly brilliant!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    I haven’t read Sarai Walker’s first novel Dietland, nor watched the series based on it, but I know it has been described as “genre bending” and as “part-Fight Club, part feminist manifesto”. The Cherry Robbers shows the same enthusiasm for upending genre expectations to convey a strong feminist message. The novel is, in fact, a send-up of the Gothic novel which incorporates tropes of the genre even while comically subverting them. The narrator and protagonist in The Cherry Robbers is eighty-year- I haven’t read Sarai Walker’s first novel Dietland, nor watched the series based on it, but I know it has been described as “genre bending” and as “part-Fight Club, part feminist manifesto”. The Cherry Robbers shows the same enthusiasm for upending genre expectations to convey a strong feminist message. The novel is, in fact, a send-up of the Gothic novel which incorporates tropes of the genre even while comically subverting them. The narrator and protagonist in The Cherry Robbers is eighty-year-old lesbian painter Sylvia Wren. After a career spent in and inspired by New Mexico and its landscape, Sylvia is a respected, well-known – and well-off – figure, even though she lives like a recluse and avoids publicity like a plague. And for good reason too. Sylvia has a well-kept secret. She is actually Iris Chapel, the second youngest of six daughters of an arms magnate, brought up in a palatial mansion in Connecticut. When a journalist threatens to reveal this early chapter in her life, Sylvia/Iris decides to face her past and write down her memories of childhood and youth. Albeit largely left to their own devices by their distant father and their eccentric mother (prey to visions of the victims of weapons manufactured by the Chapel factories), the six sisters lead a privileged life in each other’s company. When the eldest daughter becomes engaged to a dashing young man, her mother entreats her to cancel the wedding, prophesying tragedy. Hardly anyone believes the mother’s rants, but tragedy does strike, in the most melodramatic of ways, after the wedding night. History keeps repeating itself for the other sisters, a sure sign that not only is the Chapel mansion haunted, but the family itself also seems struck by a curse. Will Iris manage to outrun it? The Cherry Robbers reads like a version of The Virgin Suicides in which the voyeuristic male gaze of that novel’s rather morbid narrator is substituted with the voice of a feisty, self-deprecating, feminist heroine. Walker’s novel is best approached as a deliberately OTT creation, painted in garish colours, with little attempt at nuance. The central metaphor of the novel is hardly subtle. All the male suitors are cartoonish, cardboard figures. So are, up to a point, the Chapel sisters who readily sacrifice themselves to them. Yet, the novel is still successful in its combination of comedy and horror, providing a refreshing take on well-worn Gothic tropes. 3.5* https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/20...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jayne

    Compelling premise, poor execution. The author completely lost me when she started talking about "headless brides". NOT FOR ME. The audiobook was read by January LaVoy, one of my very, very favorite narrators. Even January LaVoy could not save this book. 1.5 stars rounded up. Compelling premise, poor execution. The author completely lost me when she started talking about "headless brides". NOT FOR ME. The audiobook was read by January LaVoy, one of my very, very favorite narrators. Even January LaVoy could not save this book. 1.5 stars rounded up.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Cherry Robbers. I haven't read the authors previous novel so I went into this with an open mind. I'm intrigued by novels featuring sibling relationships so I was pretty excited to dive into this, but other than the great writing, I was less than wowed by the narrative. The premise had promise but there is nothing Gothic-y or spooky about the story. When people use the word 'gothic' I don't think they really know what it means, to paraphrase what the great Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Cherry Robbers. I haven't read the authors previous novel so I went into this with an open mind. I'm intrigued by novels featuring sibling relationships so I was pretty excited to dive into this, but other than the great writing, I was less than wowed by the narrative. The premise had promise but there is nothing Gothic-y or spooky about the story. When people use the word 'gothic' I don't think they really know what it means, to paraphrase what the great Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride says to Vizzini every time he says 'inconceivable.' The narrative consists of personal journals written by Sylvia Wren, an elusive and famous artist who was one of the famous Chapel sisters. She details the loss of her five sisters to an unnamed illness, a tragedy that shattered her family and herself, which led to her new identity and life as an artist. The narrative is bogged down with filler and superfluous details of weddings, and dresses, while the not so subtle themes of mental illness, child neglect, and the expectations of a patriarchal society hovers within each line. The terrible illness that befalls the sisters is never named but it's not hard to figure out what the author is trying to say; that women are ignored and disregarded, nothing more but vessels to bear children and run the household. I wished I liked the Chapel sisters more; I didn't dislike them but I didn't connect with any of them, perhaps Sylvia, but as a character she always felt at a remove from the reader, but perhaps that's the point. As the lone survivor of her troubled family, she no longer considers herself a Chapel, and is relating the events of her previous life as if she was a spectator. Foreboding and foreshadowing lives on practically every page, and Sylvia already tells the reader what will happen to her sisters so there's no suspense, no drama; she's just relating the events that will lead to each loss. It took me a long time to finish this because the pacing was so slow. I think some readers would enjoy this, especially if they enjoy long expositions and background information.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trishita Das

    Story of the book- This is an account of a group of little girls and a curse. The story starts with Sylvia Wren, a widely acclaimed artist living in New Mexico. Sylvia gets a letter one day from a journalist who has been examining her life and finds that Sylvia probably won’t be who she said she is. Sylvia has been living furtively under her name for more than 60 years, however growing up she was known as Iris Chapel, of the acclaimed Chapel Rifle family. The book then speaks to 6 young ladies: A Story of the book- This is an account of a group of little girls and a curse. The story starts with Sylvia Wren, a widely acclaimed artist living in New Mexico. Sylvia gets a letter one day from a journalist who has been examining her life and finds that Sylvia probably won’t be who she said she is. Sylvia has been living furtively under her name for more than 60 years, however growing up she was known as Iris Chapel, of the acclaimed Chapel Rifle family. The book then speaks to 6 young ladies: Aster, Rosalind, Calla, Daphne, Irus, and Hazel (Zelie), all named after blossoms. They spend their childhood in CT in a hug house they call the wedding cake and are left to their own gadgets. Their mom Belinda is exceptionally withdrawn from her children like she never wanted to be a mother or a spouse, and their dad is continually working. Furthermore, Belinda accepts unequivocally in apparitions and that the phantoms of individuals who kicked the bucket on account of the Chapel Rifle frequent they're home. The young ladies are for the most part seen as weird people around as they mind their own business in their enormous house. The young ladies frequently talked about going out one day and getting away and Aster and Rosalind as the oldest among them are nearest to this reality. On a family excursion to Cape Cod one summer, Aster meets Mathew Maybrick, with whom she gets romantically attached. She eventually chooses to wed him. In this manner starts the fall of the Chapel sisters. As Aster draws nearer to her wedding date, Belinda starts to smell roses ad gets exceptionally sick, an indication of a terrible sign. She is persuaded that if Aster weds Mathew, something horrible will occur to her. The book follows the tale of these six sisters and their definitive destinies. My review- The author’s composing is alluring and would look at the reader’s internal serenity, making pressure inside them, the same as Sylvia Wren feels. I was on the edge through the vast majority of the book, battling Sylvia’s evil demons and attempting to discover answers to questions that are ultimately left unanswered, or better said, passed into the reader’s translation. Sylvia Wren, a mainstream women’s activist artist, has a dim mystery she isn’t who she professes to be and has figured out how to keep her shocking past covered until she is stood up to by a journalist who knows her genuine identity and needs to bring it out to the general population. This is a gothic story, a contemplation of sadness and endurance, and on a great deal of customary womanliness, the bounty is going on here yet it never feels like it is working under its plan. Furthermore, figuring out how to be both lovely and appalling turns out to be well throughout. It is outright amazing. The composition is rich and each character is completely acknowledged. The casing story is of a more philosophical and passionate bowed. The story is flawless, yet I will concede I may have wanted all the more a startling horror stay outcome. This book felt like an investigation of the female brain and sexuality- on an excursion through the wild landscape of cultural standards and the view of the more attractive gender during the 1950s. The author figures out how to ingrain frightfulness in her readers- the repulsiveness of not being cherished, the tenseness that accompanies realizing that the readers will never perceive and will perpetually be restricted in the place where there is disliked and broken. There are horrors in this book however it's onto the readers to choose whether these apparitions are genuine or inventions of creative mind made by sorrow, uneasiness, and long periods of concealment. I am taking as much time as necessary to retain the story and make my derivations, and it is beautiful.

  17. 5 out of 5

    alailiander

    As if the gorgeous cover wasn’t enough—then there was this puff: “Gothic ghost story with a fiery feminist zeal” and I mean, come on, how are you supposed to not be desperate to read that?! Okay, go with me here: A good bit of Mexican Gothic (but with flowers), a hint of The Muse (but so much better), definitely some The Little Stranger (though a tonally different ending), a rustling of We Have Always Lived in The Castle (the sisterhood, those woods), and throw in some The Virgin Suicides (but th As if the gorgeous cover wasn’t enough—then there was this puff: “Gothic ghost story with a fiery feminist zeal” and I mean, come on, how are you supposed to not be desperate to read that?! Okay, go with me here: A good bit of Mexican Gothic (but with flowers), a hint of The Muse (but so much better), definitely some The Little Stranger (though a tonally different ending), a rustling of We Have Always Lived in The Castle (the sisterhood, those woods), and throw in some The Virgin Suicides (but the female characters are actually characters not just projections of male fantasies) and I guess what I’m saying is that there is a lot that is familiar in The Cherry Robbers, but while all of those stories came to mind for me—this book still felt absolutely like its own gorgeous creature. A ghost story, a meditation on grief and survival, and on the lot of traditional femininity; there’s plenty going on here but it never feels like it is laboring under its agenda. And, managing to be both beautiful and horrifying at turns and to do both really well throughout. It is just plain impressive. The prose is elegant and each character is fully realized (where they’re supposed to be). The blurb tells you what is going to happen from the outset, and while it is enticing—it might be setting you up for disappointment if you’re hoping for many further twists, which don’t really arrive… Instead the frame narrative is of a more philosophical and emotional bent. It bookends the story beautifully, and reaches a satisfying conclusion, but I will admit I might have initially wished for more of a scary ghost story denouement. Nevertheless, I loved this book and I absolutely cannot wait for everyone I know to read it and allow me to talk at them about it excessively. Also, to see the endpapers. I’m just sitting here hoping for pretty binding. Please have pretty endpapers! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily Davies (libraryofcalliope)

    I had high expectations of this book going into it. I loved Walker’s previous novel and couldn’t wait to see what she would do next. This book is very different to Dietland, but it absolutely met all of my expectations. It was the kind of book where after the first chapter I had that warm feeling in my chest where I just KNOW I am going to love reading what I’m reading. Sylvia is a famous artist and renowned recluse. She lives quietly in New Mexico with her partner, Lola, but despite her happy e I had high expectations of this book going into it. I loved Walker’s previous novel and couldn’t wait to see what she would do next. This book is very different to Dietland, but it absolutely met all of my expectations. It was the kind of book where after the first chapter I had that warm feeling in my chest where I just KNOW I am going to love reading what I’m reading. Sylvia is a famous artist and renowned recluse. She lives quietly in New Mexico with her partner, Lola, but despite her happy existence when she is alone at night, the ghost that has followed herself, her sisters and her mother all their lives, is hot on her heels. When she receives a letter from a reporter asking about the Chapel sisters and in particular Iris Chapel, the only one left alive, Sylvia, for the first time, writes down the story of her life, the story of her sisters, the story of her mother and the story of when she was Iris Chapel. The atmosphere of the novel is very tense and gripping and the compulsion to read it all in one sitting is incredibly strong. I really loved the story and the unfolding mystery that doesn’t have a neat answer. Despite not taking place in a school it has real dark academia vibes and the way it uses the gothic storytelling to make points about the position of women is really subtle and interestingly done. I absolutely adored reading this. It is visceral, emotional and gripping and now more than ever I can’t wait to see what Walker does next.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Tejuja

    Reading “The Cherry Robbers” reminded me of Allende’s writing, of a lot of Alvarez thrown in for good measure, and some Cisneros as well, and in all of this I was most happy to read Sarai Walker’s voice about a family and its generational trauma, taking on topics such as marriage, women’s health, depression, and solitude. The Cherry Robbers is about Sylvia Wren, a world-renowned extremely private painter living in New Mexico, away from the public gaze. Her solitary life comes to standstill when Reading “The Cherry Robbers” reminded me of Allende’s writing, of a lot of Alvarez thrown in for good measure, and some Cisneros as well, and in all of this I was most happy to read Sarai Walker’s voice about a family and its generational trauma, taking on topics such as marriage, women’s health, depression, and solitude. The Cherry Robbers is about Sylvia Wren, a world-renowned extremely private painter living in New Mexico, away from the public gaze. Her solitary life comes to standstill when she receives a letter from a journalist, who plans to write an exposé about Sylvia’s life: that she is Iris Chapel, the sole heiress of the Chapel Firearms fortune, who disappeared around sixty years ago. Thus, begins a journey with the Chapel family for the reader – of knowing what happened to Sylvia’s five sisters, of how her mother was hidden away, and what prompted Sylvia to abandon her life as Iris. For the sisters, marriage equals death – that’s the curse really, and to me it was fantastic to see how Walker takes agency and feminism and places it in 50s Connecticut, when none existed, and creates for us a feminist, Gothic tale of sisterhood and male power, and what it means to be free for a woman. The writing is taut and, in some places, perhaps slips also but it is nonetheless magnificent. There is a high degree of suspense and thrill, the pace doesn’t slow down, and more than anything manages to explore female desire – each woman with a distinct personality, with a mind of her own, leading complex and most tumultuous lives. The Cherry Robbers is about women constantly on the run – from their families, from the society at large, and sometimes even from themselves. It is a book that tells you of a time gone by and how rather unfortunately some of the beliefs of that time are present even now. It is a book about privilege and class, and boundaries, and restraint and yet celebrates freedom on so many levels. A wonderful read, in my opinion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Azhar

    gorgeous, haunting + tragic. i absolutely loved this book. it did remind me at times of “virgin suicides” and “seven husbands of evelyn hugo”, both of which are my absolute favourites, and seeing shades of those two in this book made me enjoy it even more. i especially loved the writing, certain lines just stunned me in awe at their beauty. i also really enjoyed the ambuigity that’s presented within the book - certain things don’t really get an answer and i was fine with that since it only added gorgeous, haunting + tragic. i absolutely loved this book. it did remind me at times of “virgin suicides” and “seven husbands of evelyn hugo”, both of which are my absolute favourites, and seeing shades of those two in this book made me enjoy it even more. i especially loved the writing, certain lines just stunned me in awe at their beauty. i also really enjoyed the ambuigity that’s presented within the book - certain things don’t really get an answer and i was fine with that since it only added an additional layer of intrigue/mystery to the story. can’t wait till it comes out so i can grab myself a physical copy. many thanks to netgalley and the publishers for supplying me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sydnie

    I really don't know how to describe this novel apart from saying that I went in ABSOLUTELY blind based off a plotless recommendation from a friend and could not be happier I did so. This is ABSOLUTELY a feminist gothic with elegant and appealing prose and worth the read! **Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for an Advanced Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review** I really don't know how to describe this novel apart from saying that I went in ABSOLUTELY blind based off a plotless recommendation from a friend and could not be happier I did so. This is ABSOLUTELY a feminist gothic with elegant and appealing prose and worth the read! **Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for an Advanced Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review**

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Blaine

    If I had to describe this book in three words, they would be: on the nose. I wanted to shout “a rose is a rose is a rose!” But in this book each primary female character is given a floral name and those petals do a lot of heavy lifting. There’s so much I wanted to love about this book including the descriptions of flowers, perfumes and 1950s fashions, but I felt like I was constantly being hit over the head with symbolism and foreshadowing. The book is framed as sort of a retrospective journal e If I had to describe this book in three words, they would be: on the nose. I wanted to shout “a rose is a rose is a rose!” But in this book each primary female character is given a floral name and those petals do a lot of heavy lifting. There’s so much I wanted to love about this book including the descriptions of flowers, perfumes and 1950s fashions, but I felt like I was constantly being hit over the head with symbolism and foreshadowing. The book is framed as sort of a retrospective journal entry by an artist reflecting on her haunted childhood, however the writing does little to acknowledge the fallibility of memory. This seems like a missed opportunity to me since the story revolves around women being seen as unreliable narrators of their own experiences. I had high hopes because of the inspiration Sarai Walker said she loosely drew from Sarah Winchester, the widow to the Winchester rifle fortune. I grew up near the so-called Winchester Mystery House that Mrs. Winchester built and have visited it multiple times. In her acknowledgements, Walker says she drew from historian Mary Jo Ignoffo’s book Captive of the Labyrinth, which challenges the stories that frame Mrs. Winchester as a crazy woman haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. I was disappointed that The Cherry Robbers was driven so much by that legend instead or Mrs. Winchester’s interest in architecture. The first half of the book introduces characters and sets the scene for something terrible to happen and by the time it happens, I was too exhausted from all the heavy handed foreshadowing to care. The second half of the book was far more interesting than the first, but it was still quite slow and every bit of metaphor was spelled out for the reader in a way that felt redundant and pulled me out of the story. There are some good feminist and lesbian themes in this book, but it just wasn’t enough to make me want to recommend this book to anyone. I received an advance digital copy of this book from NetGalley and Mariner Books in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Martin

    The Virgin Suicides meets Winchester Mystery Mansion, but add a dash of Georgia Okeefe and a little Yellow Wallpaper. That’s the recipe for this book, of which all ingredients are separately more fascinating than the novel itself. I wish I loved this one more, but it just wasn’t for me. It was repetitive and took far too long to reach resolution, to meet the refrain of “life isn’t worth living without love.” However, I enjoyed that the heteronormative relationships were violently doomed in a way The Virgin Suicides meets Winchester Mystery Mansion, but add a dash of Georgia Okeefe and a little Yellow Wallpaper. That’s the recipe for this book, of which all ingredients are separately more fascinating than the novel itself. I wish I loved this one more, but it just wasn’t for me. It was repetitive and took far too long to reach resolution, to meet the refrain of “life isn’t worth living without love.” However, I enjoyed that the heteronormative relationships were violently doomed in a way that most LGBTQIA relationships often (terrifyingly, sadly) are—the danger to the Chapel women are men, just men. Being a lesbian saves Iris’ life. And for that alone, this book gets a solid three stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

    4.5. I urge you to go into this one blind, as I think you’ll appreciate the story that much more. There’s bits of gothic undertones - all that affect the inheritants of a firearms dynasty. The story of these sisters was quite the page turner while you wanted to savor the story at the same time. That said, the plot was quiet and snuck up on you. I never did read Dietland but I’m looking forward to reading that too. My thanks to the publisher for the early copy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Demelda Penkitty

    To follow

  26. 4 out of 5

    Layla

    I am not one to DNF (Did Not Finish) a book, but I was just not up to reading this book. Now I only got 15% through The Cherry Robbers. Don't get me wrong this book was very interesting. I just was not in the mood to read this book. I kept getting bored with all of the descriptions. So if you like very descriptive pieces of literature you will most definitely enjoy this book. And it isn't bad that there was a lot of description, it's just it gets really boring because in my personal opinion, I I am not one to DNF (Did Not Finish) a book, but I was just not up to reading this book. Now I only got 15% through The Cherry Robbers. Don't get me wrong this book was very interesting. I just was not in the mood to read this book. I kept getting bored with all of the descriptions. So if you like very descriptive pieces of literature you will most definitely enjoy this book. And it isn't bad that there was a lot of description, it's just it gets really boring because in my personal opinion, I want to know more about the plot and not about the setting. Both can be very important to the book, but I was just not a fan of the very vivid description. Even though I didn't like the very vivid description I could definitely picture what everything looked like, so it wasn't that bad. I really liked the author's writing style, except for all of the descriptions. I was very interested in all of the characters. The characters I found very fascinating. The characters were definitely a big part of the book, at least what I read about it. I would definitely pick this book up again, to finish it, when I'm in the mood for it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    Thanks to @houghtonmifflinharcourt for a #gifted ARC of #thecherryrobbers.⁣ I’m usually good about calling it quits when I’m reading a book that’s not working for me. I’m a firm believer that there’s no reason to keep going with a book you’re not enjoying, and still I read all of 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐑𝐘 𝐑𝐎𝐁𝐁𝐄𝐑𝐒 by Sarai Walker. This was the story of the Chapel sisters, six young women/girls from a wealthy Connecticut family in the 1950’s. Their father was distant, their mother a bit off, but the sisters seeme Thanks to @houghtonmifflinharcourt for a #gifted ARC of #thecherryrobbers.⁣ I’m usually good about calling it quits when I’m reading a book that’s not working for me. I’m a firm believer that there’s no reason to keep going with a book you’re not enjoying, and still I read all of 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐑𝐘 𝐑𝐎𝐁𝐁𝐄𝐑𝐒 by Sarai Walker. This was the story of the Chapel sisters, six young women/girls from a wealthy Connecticut family in the 1950’s. Their father was distant, their mother a bit off, but the sisters seemed great...until the first got married. Less than 24-hours later she was dead, and that sad pattern continued.⁣ ⁣ I’m not giving anything away here. The synopsis tells you all that and more. What I will say is that for me it was long, overly drawn-out and well, repetitive. Skimming needed to happen! My favorite parts of the book were the very beginning and the very end, where the one surviving sister looked back on her life and how she survived the family curse. Unfortunately, this was only about 10% of the story. I’d love to hear from others who have read 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘙𝘰𝘣𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘴, but if you’re asking me, I’d say read the synopsis closely, and get it from the library!⁣ ⁣

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    Loved the tone of Dietland which led me to request this from NetGalley as soon as I spotted it. It's so different from that book yet equally enthralling. A unique premise, a captivating story, and a genre-bending work overall. Not sure how much additional editing will take place prior to publication, but there were definitely some parts that I found tedious and repetitive. Still, a solid four stars. Loved the tone of Dietland which led me to request this from NetGalley as soon as I spotted it. It's so different from that book yet equally enthralling. A unique premise, a captivating story, and a genre-bending work overall. Not sure how much additional editing will take place prior to publication, but there were definitely some parts that I found tedious and repetitive. Still, a solid four stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lilibet Bombshell

    “Against the haystack a girl stands laughing at me, Cherries hung round her ears. Offers me her scarlet fruit: I will see If she has any tears.” - D. H. Lawrence Sarai Walker says in the acknowledgements for “The Cherry Robbers” that the poem “Cherry Robbers” (from which this stanza comes from), was the main inspiration for what became the tale of the Chapel sisters and their untimely deaths. Other inspirations were, of course, Sarah Winchester (of the Winchester Rifle fortune and the now-infamous S “Against the haystack a girl stands laughing at me, Cherries hung round her ears. Offers me her scarlet fruit: I will see If she has any tears.” - D. H. Lawrence Sarai Walker says in the acknowledgements for “The Cherry Robbers” that the poem “Cherry Robbers” (from which this stanza comes from), was the main inspiration for what became the tale of the Chapel sisters and their untimely deaths. Other inspirations were, of course, Sarah Winchester (of the Winchester Rifle fortune and the now-infamous San Jose tourist attraction that used to be her home) and Georgia O-Keefe (famous artist known to most for painting portraits of flowers that also greatly resembled biological female genitalia). To me, the book also has a sort of claustrophobic, humid feel that I associate with the movie “The Virgin Suicides”, a dreamy sense of females set apart in their own world I associate with the movie “Heavenly Creatures”, and, of course, (as even the books points out), that sense of intense sisterly push-and-pull dynamics that comes with having a gaggle of daughters that’s so familiar from “Pride and Prejudice”. There’s also intense themes running through the whole book about the loss of identity for the wife that comes with marriage and childbirth, the common phenomena (that persists to this day) of not listening to women when they speak their truths or sometimes even just when they speak, of men always thinking they know better than women, about women not feeling complete without marriage and children and the social pressure that tells them they are less without these things, and about how women who are in any way different will always be looked at askance by society. Some of the rest of it, well, it’s going to be left up to the reader to interpret. Violence, intercourse, innocence, and death. These four things are all intrinsically tied together in this novel, and how you interpret the connection will go a long way into how you view this whole novel and how it will feel to you at the end. For me, this was a page-turner. I couldn’t put it down. It’s exactly the type of gothic, haunted house, psychological family drama I like to devour in one piece. I knew where it was going, but that was absolutely okay with me, because like the protagonist, I faced it with a sense of staid inevitability. As she told the story and expunged her demons, I cried for her and her sisters and her mother and for myself, in a way. If I had been alive in the 1950s I’d probably have been in a sanitarium. I’m not exactly what they call stable, and some of the prescriptions I take hadn’t even been invented back then. It’s dramatic, it’s riveting, it’s horrific, and it’s absolutely worth reading. Thanks to NetGalley and Mariner Books for early access to this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anatl

    I had high expectations going into this book. Dietland, Sarai Walker's debut, was a huge favorite of mine. And I am glad to say that The Cherry Robbers did not disappoint. An atmospheric American gothic with a blunt feministic slant. Most of the story takes place in the fifties, as our heroine Sylvia Wren, who was then Iris Chapel lives with parents and sisters in a Victorian mansion that resembles a wedding cake. The Chapel family made a fortune selling firearms and the matriarch of the family I had high expectations going into this book. Dietland, Sarai Walker's debut, was a huge favorite of mine. And I am glad to say that The Cherry Robbers did not disappoint. An atmospheric American gothic with a blunt feministic slant. Most of the story takes place in the fifties, as our heroine Sylvia Wren, who was then Iris Chapel lives with parents and sisters in a Victorian mansion that resembles a wedding cake. The Chapel family made a fortune selling firearms and the matriarch of the family claims that they are haunted and cursed by the ghosts of the people who died by those guns. Interesting enough this part of the story refers to a real life heiress Sarah Winchester, who a built a sprawling architectural oddity supposedly to fend of the ghosts. The Chapel girls are all named after flowers. But flowers are also a harbinger of doom in the story, whenever their mother is afflicted with a nauseating smell of roses, she knows something bad is about to happen. And indeed something bad happens when a Chapel girl is being deflowered, so to speak. Girl after girl they succumb to their fates and are buried. Until only Iris and her younger sister Zelie are left. There are echoes of several stories real and fictional throughout the book, like The Virgin Suicides and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. There is an ambiguity about the curse and the ghosts that haunt Iris and her sisters, that the rational male world around her refuses to acknowledge. Though we know in advance that the Chapel sisters are headed for an early demise, we can't help but feel for them and wish they can lead the "normal" lives they wish upon themselves. The men in the book rarely rouse sympathy, they are either negligent or flippant or worse the gaslighting and mansplaining types, all of them never listen to the women, ever. I'm tempted to discuss how Iris eventually escapes her sisters' fate but it seems like a spoiler, so I shall refrain from doing that. But I'm not entirely comfortable with the underlying implications of what saves our heroine in the end, and why it leaves a rather bitter pessimistic taste. Thanks to NetGalley and Mariner Books for giving me an arc in exchange for an honest review. #TheCherryRobbers #NetGalley.

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