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The House of Three Sisters

The House of Three Sisters (A Windswept Novel)
by Virginia Nielsen

Oh, 1982 how you had such bad clothing and bad hair (check out the girl on the cover) and bad writing. Yes, I seem to have decided to pick up the 4 Windswept titles I have and read them this weekend. A 170-page book reads fast when you’re in the middle of another book and feel like taking a break. All I need is an hour and a half for these books.

So with this lovely romance-thriller-mystery teen novel from the 80s we have a story that proves that some thing just do not age well with time. The phrasing was so odd. And did people still “go steady” in 1982? I wasn’t old enough to know myself of course… *does the math* Nope, I was only 6 at the time (and no I wasn’t reading these books then! I was reading them about 3 years later though). So I am not sure about the lingo of the Teen People of the Early 80s.

Here we have Janice who lost her father in an accident a year ago and her mother has just gone off on a honeymoon with the new man in her life, leaving Janice and her dog Tiger (who barks a LOT) alone in their little motel-room of a home. Janice’s boyfriend Greg (they’re going stead don’t you know!) is not allowed to see her while her mother is gone per the nosy neighbours who own the motel. One morning while walking Tiger (who is barking) Janice runs into people her mother works with – Marita and Tony. They are older but still ask her to come away with them for the weekend to Marita’s “obsession” her Spanish house called La Casa de las Tres Hermanas (The House of Three Sisters). Janice and Tiger go away for the weekend and Tiger barks a lot. A lot.

Then Tiger gets poisoned and dies. Which pissed me off. I hate when people kill off pets as plot points. His barking was annoying me (even just by reading it) but come on now. There is no need to kill off a German Shepherd! Bad, author! Bad! Janice is sad but gets over it rather quickly it seems as she keeps going to the House of Three Sisters on weekends with Marita and all the weird people who are living there trying to restore it. Even though Janice is only 16 years old (even though I am sure she tells her mother she’s 17 at the start of the book while arguing about getting to stay home alone for the 6 weeks her mother is gone…) Rick, the 20-something friend of Marita keeps hounding Janice to marry him. And he’s serious. Um, hello? Isn’t that in itself illegal?

So Janice says no, obviously and then gets locked in the ballroom of the house and drugged as Rick says that either she agree to elope with him so he can inherit the money she’s about to get (which she knows nothing about) so he can save the house or he’ll resort to other means. The other means being he kidnaps her and tries to send her off a cliff into a forest fire. Lovely man, that Rick.

And hey, I think the dude in the other book was also Rick! Or Rich. But I think it was Rick! Never trust a Rick, people. They are bad folk apparently. Well, at least in 1982 they were!

In the end Janice is saved and her mother comes home from Mexico because her daughter was eloping. No one seemed to be all that shocked that a 16 year old would elope with a 20-something guy she had met 3 times! What the hell? And The sheriff was going to arrest Rick on kidnapping and attempted murder charges, but NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE UNDERAGE MARRIAGE! Was this just OK in 1982 in California? (Hippies!) Aside from the killing off of the dog that was the other thing that really bugged me about this story because, EW! Why didn’t anyone bring up statutory rape? Anyone? No?

Hippies.

As irksome as the dialogue was in this book I think I enjoyed the story slightly more than the previous Windswept book I just read. It had much more suspense than the previous story. Although it read a lot more like a book written in the 1950s with some of the phrasing and language than a book written in the 80s. I might have read this one when I was a kid, but I don’t know. The cover was more familiar to me than the story itself (and I know I would have remembered the dog killing all these years later).

And super score! I just managed to snag another Windswept title off of Bookmooch today! I’ll be the proud owner of The Disappearing Teacher in a week or so! I’m out of points now and don’t have the money to mail out books to other people, so it’ll be a while before I can get any more (and they all seem to be coming from the same person!)

Windswept series (thanks to Cliquey Pizza for this awesome list!)

  1. Don’t Walk Alone – Mary Bringle
  2. Someone Is Out There – Carole Standish
  3. Girl in the Shadows – Miriam Lynch **
  4. The House of Three Sisters – Virginia Nielsen **
  5. Yesterday’s Girl – Madeleine Sunshine
  6. The Snow’s Secret – Carole Standish
  7. The Red Room – Kaye Dobkin
  8. The Silvery Past – Candice F. Ransom **
  9. Dreams and Memories – Lavinia Harris
  10. The Ghost of Graydon Place – Dorothy Francis
  11. A Forgotten Girl – Elisabeth Ogilvie
  12. The Silent Witness – Meredith Hill
  13. The Empty Attic – Jean Francis Webb
  14. Murder by Moonlight – Dorothy Woolfolk **
  15. The Girl Cried Murder – Dorothy Woolfolk
  16. House of Fear – Willo Davis Roberts
  17. Mirror, Mirror – Virginia Nielson
  18. The Missing Sunrise – Joan Oppenheimer
  19. Dark Magic – Miriam Lynch
  20. Mysterious Summer – Marion Schultz
  21. Phantom Light – Susan Dix
  22. The Lost Holiday – Elizabeth Olsen
  23. A Date with Danger – Edward Hunsberger
  24. The Burned Letter – Conrad Nowels
  25. The Secret – Carol Beach York
  26. The Castle Murder – Vivian Schurfranz
  27. Mystery Cruise – Carole Standish
  28. The Disappearing Teacher – Conrad Nowels
  29. Weekend of Fear – Virginia Nielson
  30. Secret of the Dark – Barbara Steiner
  31. The Accident – Jesse Osburn
  32. The Hidden Room – Jennifer Sarasin
  33. The Warning – Dorothy Brenner Francis

** denotes books I own

Girl in the Shadows

Girl in the Shadows (A Windswept Novel)
by Miriam Lynch

Windswept titles were kept in the section of my elementary school library that you had to be in grades 5 and 6 to read. I think I was reading them in grade 4 though and I could also get them from my town’s public library (back when libraries here actually had a decent selection of English titles). These books are a combination of mystery, suspense and romance for teens – think R.L. Stine’s Fear Street only with more romance. I know I had read a bunch of them and even owned a few that I kept in the bottom right drawer of my dresser, where I kept all my favourite books and comics. I wish I could remember the title of the one book that has stayed with me in my memory all this time, but I can’t. So, I have made it my mission to try and collect all 20-something Windswept titles until I find the one I am looking for.

This one certainly wasn’t it.

I don’t remember if I read this one prior to today or not, but I don’t think I would have liked it. I didn’t particularly care for it this time around.

It says something about a book when you can’t even recall the main character’s name once you’ve finished the story. I had to look at the book while writing this to remind myself. Amanda. Her name was Amanda and she should be somewhere in her early 20s if the math is right because she was 16 or so when “the accident” happened and that is constantly referred to as “eight years ago”. So, Amanda and two other former friends who used to summer at this old French lady’s home (somehow she was a Grandmother to all of them, only their families were not related, I still don’t get that part) are all back “eight years later” for the reading of her will and the splitting up of her estate.

Eight years ago (did you get that?) Ellen – then 10, now 18 – was pushed off the dock into the water by Carla, a nasty, spoiled brat and the favourite of Grandmama (she was French you know). After that accident – eight years ago – Carla went missing, never to be heard from again and Ellen stopped talking. Completely.

Now Amanda, Ellen and Ellen’s older brother, Rich, or Rick, or Roger or something are back at the house waiting for the will to be read and they are suspiciously there 5 days before the actual date of the reading. Oh, dear! How could that have happened? And Amanda keeps seeing Grandmama wandering the halls at night and smelling her perfume, which is odd because she’s been dead a year! And where is the mysterious music coming from that only Amanda hears at night?

Meanwhile, Amanda has also discovered that she might just have feeling for Rick-Rich-Roger that she thought was just a childhood crush – wait for it! – eight years ago!

Is Grandmama still alive? Is she a ghost? Who is trying to kill Amanda? Does Rick-Rich-Roger have feelings for her? Where does he keep running off to all mysteriously? Will Ellen ever talk again? And just how much money will they be getting from this inheritance?

And of course it’s one of those stories where no matter how sane and responsible the person is who tries to confide in someone about the crazy stuff she’s seeing, no one believes her and the cops don’t believe the stories and all that jazz.

I wasn’t expecting FANTASTIC! from this 120 page book written in 1982, but I do recall the stories I read to be a little bit better written than this one was. I know I was an anxious and paranoid child, but even I don’t think I would have been all that freaked out by Girl in the Shadows.

Also? There was NO girl in the shadows at all. The title seemed a little off from the story.

My only actual place to get these books has been Bookmooch.com, sadly pretty much NO ONE ships to Canada so I gave up and only got 4 of the titles I wanted. Sigh. I guess I’ll scour used bookshops that I might wander into outside of my province (so I can find English books).

Windswept series (thanks to Cliquey Pizza for this awesome list!)

  1. Don’t Walk Alone – Mary Bringle
  2. Someone Is Out There – Carole Standish
  3. Girl in the Shadows – Miriam Lynch **
  4. The House of Three Sisters – Virginia Nielsen **
  5. Yesterday’s Girl – Madeleine Sunshine
  6. The Snow’s Secret – Carole Standish
  7. The Red Room – Kaye Dobkin
  8. The Silvery Past – Candice F. Ransom **
  9. Dreams and Memories – Lavinia Harris
  10. The Ghost of Graydon Place – Dorothy Francis
  11. A Forgotten Girl – Elisabeth Ogilvie
  12. The Silent Witness – Meredith Hill
  13. The Empty Attic – Jean Francis Webb
  14. Murder by Moonlight – Dorothy Woolfolk **
  15. The Girl Cried Murder – Dorothy Woolfolk
  16. House of Fear – Willo Davis Roberts
  17. Mirror, Mirror – Virginia Nielson
  18. The Missing Sunrise – Joan Oppenheimer
  19. Dark Magic – Miriam Lynch
  20. Mysterious Summer – Marion Schultz
  21. Phantom Light – Susan Dix
  22. The Lost Holiday – Elizabeth Olsen
  23. A Date with Danger – Edward Hunsberger
  24. The Burned Letter – Conrad Nowels
  25. The Secret – Carol Beach York
  26. The Castle Murder – Vivian Schurfranz
  27. Mystery Cruise – Carole Standish
  28. The Disappearing Teacher – Conrad Nowels
  29. Weekend of Fear – Virginia Nielson
  30. Secret of the Dark – Barbara Steiner
  31. The Accident – Jesse Osburn
  32. The Hidden Room – Jennifer Sarasin
  33. The Warning – Dorothy Brenner Francis

** denotes books I own

In My Mailbox #17

The Story Siren hosts this feature and I end up adding a ton of books to my wishlist every week.

All my IMM posts can be found here!

I got two books this week! One from bookmooch and one from super, fantastic, wonderful author Megan Kelley Hall!! It’s the MKH book that I would be squealing about if I had the ability to speak this weekend.

The Silvery Past – Windswept
by Candice F. Ransom

It’s about a girl, and there’s mystery and possibly suspense and she likely meets a guy and he might be questionable. You never know who to trust!

And I am now up to 4 books in the Windswept series. I am still trying to get more. I wish I could remember the title of the one I often have memories of. Drat. The nifty thing about this one is that it’s written by the author of one of the books that defined my early young adult-hood. Candice F. Ransom – she’s the author of Thirteen. Which I suppose I still need to write about on here. I am anxious about reading it again because it always makes me cry. Always.

The Lost Sister
by Megan Kelley Hall

Sisters are born, not chosen…

Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery—an insidious clique of the school’s most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights…

Beware the sister betrayed…

Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won’t stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne—a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials—Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past…and the wrath of the sister she wronged.

I am full of YAY! and ZOMGWTFBBQ!* about this book. Thanks ever so much (again) to Megan Kelley Hall for having me on her review list. Once I get this post written up I’m diving into the book.

Also? The cover is so much more beautiful in real life. The colours are simply stunning!

What did you get this week?

*Oddly? Not flagged by spell check as a misspelled word. Really? Do I want a spell checker that acknowledges chat speak and stupid acronyms? I can assure you that ZOMGWTFBBQ is  not an actual word.**

** Hang on, it is NOW. On the third spell check. Weird. But it’s not flagged in the above footnote though. WordPress is odd sometimes. Ahh, I see. Firefox doesn’t like it, but WordPress things it’s just fine. The war of the spell checkers!

In My Mailbox #13

The Story Siren hosts this feature and I end up adding a ton of books to my wishlist every week.

All my IMM posts can be found here!

Thanks to Bookmooch, I have 3 new (old) books as I try to reconstruct the collection I had as a kid!

Hello to three books in the Windswept series from back in the eatly 80s!

There are 30 books in all, and I know I didn’t own all of them. I remember one distinctly, but I can’t recall the title and trying to find summaries online for these books is hard. I know I had The House of Three Sisters, because the cover is familiar. I have the entire series on my Bookmooch wishlist right now, but most people don’t ship to Canada. Alas.

Windswept titles are teen books with both romance (generally) and thriller! Lots of gothic mansions and ghosts and just fun. Or at least I thought they were when I was a teen! Heck, even younger. I think I started reading these at the age of 11 or so, when I was allowed in the “older kids” section of my elementary school library. Heh.

Ok, well, now I am seriously behind in all my IMM readings and generally I have this posted and ready to go at midnight, except my plans were thwarted by a huge skunk in the yard last night and since then we’ve been bathing one of two dogs (who didn’t get sprayed, though caught the mist of the spray and is slightly skunky). Oh, joy!