Regional History Museum Librarian, Olivia Terry, recommends The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker.
The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker tells the fictional story of Sylvia Wren, one of America’s most iconic artists of the twentieth century. Her vast talent has made her a household name, but Sylvia herself is an extremely private person, careful not to reveal any details from her past. But when a reporter starts aggressively digging into her life, Sylvia quickly unravels, unable to suppress the secrets of who she once was.
Sylvia isn’t actually Sylvia. She is Iris Chapel, the second youngest of the six Chapel sisters and the only surviving sibling. Growing up in the 1950s, Aster, Rosalind, Calla, Daphne, Iris, and Hazel, are essentially trapped in their giant Victorian family home, living with their uninvolved father and eccentric mother. The six Chapel sisters are heiresses to the Chapel rifle fortune, but this seems to cause more harm than good. Shortly into the book, it becomes clear that a few members of the family are haunted by the past in more ways than one.
When Astor, the oldest sister, becomes engaged, it seems that the way out of their monotonous lives has finally been found. But when she dies unexpectedly the very next day, and the same fate falls on the next sister to get married, it seems like something much more tragic faces the sisters than their confined lives. As Iris’s mother forebodes, something terrible is about to happen.
If you are looking for a coming of age story mixed with a ghost story, complemented with dreamy flashbacks, this book is for you. The Cherry Robbers is an absolute page-turner and offers an interesting perspective on the power dynamics in male and female relationships. It prompts readers to think deeply, while it straddles the fine line between exploring the value of an independent life, and the pivotal question of the whole tale: What is a life without love? This is a book that I couldn’t put down.