*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
The Sullivan sisters used to be the best of friends. Eighteen-year-old Eileen was the leader and a budding artist. Seventeen-year-old Claire was the dreamer, set on getting out of her small Oregonian town with the goal of attending Yale. And fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, was the engine of the family. But two years ago, that all changed– the sisters grew apart, their mom became absent, and Eileen stumbled upon a family secret that could change their lives forever.
Now, Eileen has turned to drinking to cope with what she has uncovered; Murphy has to bury her pet turtle, Siegfried, alone because her sisters cannot have a conversation without arguing; and Claire has to deal with a crushing rejection from her dream college while navigating her sexuality.
The day before Christmas Eve, a letter arrives informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The letter reveals that when the last Sullivan sister, Murphy, turns 18, the girls will inherit an estate, which they can then sell. After their mom leaves on a Caribbean cruise, the girls band together and investigate. Once there they discover an eerie house and a sinister family mystery. Over the course of two days, the girls piece together the truth of their past, and maybe rediscover their unique bond along the way.
We thoroughly enjoyed this book! When we first read the description, we were excited by the premise. A story about sisterly bonds with a touch of mystery? Sign us up! We grew to enjoy the book even more once we realized this was in fact a murder mystery. We don’t want to give too much away, but Ormsbee wove an engaging story full of heart. We were dying to figure out the story behind Uncle Patrick and his brothers.
We found ourselves rooting for Murphy, Claire, and Eileen. All three sisters had different personalities, and although Claire could be a bit argumentative at times, we loved how they complimented each other. Even though they had their differences, we particularly enjoyed seeing Claire and Eileen rebuild their relationship. Murphy was the cutest and full of spunk. We wanted to squeeze her! She really was the heart– or engine as they call her– of the family. Though Eileen had her flaws, we were cheering for her and wanted her to confront her demons.
The only thing we wish had been different was the pacing of the book. We wanted a few more details about the murder mystery, and we wish the girls had spent more time talking with their mom about her absentee parenting style. We were also hoping for another twist at the end.
The setting of this book was perfect for a mystery. The giant Victorian house in the middle-of-nowhere Oregonian town on the coast set the scene nicely. We now find ourselves dying to visit Oregon! Plus, Christy loves old and creepy houses, especially on Halloween!
If you’re looking for a mystery, we definitely recommend picking this up on its release date, June 23!