2007: 18.  The Sisters Mortland

“When we first came to the Abbey, it rained for five days.  Nonstop.  I'd been warned that this could happen in England, in spring and in summer, but I hadn't believed it. “

The Sisters Mortland, Sally Beauman

The Sisters Mortland is a good old-fashioned good read. Told by three different characters, it tells the story of the Mortland family, and a tragic day that changed all their lives forever. The story starts in 1967 with the youngest sister, Maisie, before the incident has happened, then flashes forward to 1989 the family friend Daniel trying to unravel what happened (and what has happened to his life), and finally ends with the oldest sister, Julia, tying it all together. It’s a grand story especially if you like the kind of book where you are figuring out a family mystery. I love books like that, so I enjoyed this to no end. However, I think that Beauman made a critical mistake in her storytelling. The first section, the Maisie section, while fine, is just not as interesting as the last two sections, which are fabulous. I was really surprised by how much more interested in the story I was, once I changed to Dan’s point of view. Furthermore, we learn things about Maisie in the later sections which just don’t seem to comport with what her section is like, which is a little baffling. I’m not sure if the point of the Maisie section was just to give us family background – which it did, but might have worked better in a middle section – or if it was supposed to do something else which I missed (like maybe show that her family misunderstood Maisie?), but its too bad, because the later parts of the book are so good, I would hate to have people lose interest in the first part and miss out on a great story.* If you read this book, keep with it until you get to Dan and you won’t be disappointed.


Recommend for: People who like mysterious type novels where you have to piece together the mysterious secret of what happened many years ago; people who like good family stories.


* I don't think that will actually happen. It’s not that the Maisie sections are bad, it’s just that the later sections are so much better.


Date/Place Completed: 02/09/07, D.C.

Categories: Fiction


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017