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?
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!)
- Don’t Walk Alone – Mary Bringle
- Someone Is Out There – Carole Standish
- Girl in the Shadows – Miriam Lynch **
- The House of Three Sisters – Virginia Nielsen **
- Yesterday’s Girl – Madeleine Sunshine
- The Snow’s Secret – Carole Standish
- The Red Room – Kaye Dobkin
- The Silvery Past – Candice F. Ransom **
- Dreams and Memories – Lavinia Harris
- The Ghost of Graydon Place – Dorothy Francis
- A Forgotten Girl – Elisabeth Ogilvie
- The Silent Witness – Meredith Hill
- The Empty Attic – Jean Francis Webb
- Murder by Moonlight – Dorothy Woolfolk **
- The Girl Cried Murder – Dorothy Woolfolk
- House of Fear – Willo Davis Roberts
- Mirror, Mirror – Virginia Nielson
- The Missing Sunrise – Joan Oppenheimer
- Dark Magic – Miriam Lynch
- Mysterious Summer – Marion Schultz
- Phantom Light – Susan Dix
- The Lost Holiday – Elizabeth Olsen
- A Date with Danger – Edward Hunsberger
- The Burned Letter – Conrad Nowels
- The Secret – Carol Beach York
- The Castle Murder – Vivian Schurfranz
- Mystery Cruise – Carole Standish
- The Disappearing Teacher – Conrad Nowels
- Weekend of Fear – Virginia Nielson
- Secret of the Dark – Barbara Steiner
- The Accident – Jesse Osburn
- The Hidden Room – Jennifer Sarasin
- The Warning – Dorothy Brenner Francis
** denotes books I own