An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.
I mean, with the opening line of: “My deep dislike for my sister first struck me at the age of nine, when I shut her in the linen cupboard," Betty came out of the gate throwing daggers. Her quirky awfulness knew no bounds and more than once, I wondered if she had all her marbles. Eccentricity is a challenge to write without sounding completely loony and it really worked here, especially since Lindley combined it with ruthless, narcissistic maliciousness. Haha! I’m giggling while writing this review because I love cheering for an endearing sociopath as they wreak havoc on those around them. Yes, my heart is black and I’m okay with it. *tries to be serious* *ends up snickering*
Note: Actually, on second thought, I don't think Betty qualifies as endearing in the traditional sense, but her consistent take on the world was over-the-top ego-centric, and her twisted nature charmed me. Haha!
If you like your tales on the darker side, with gothic vibes aplenty, and a main character who you’ll cheer on while also fearing for those in their crosshairs, you need to read this snarky, low down and dirty novel. Also, in order to enjoy Betty's antics to the fullest, be prepared to leave your conscience at the door. *sequel snicker*