We’ve all known them. People for whom life seems golden from the moment they’re born. They have all the friends, all the good looks, all the personality, luck, and wit that we lack. Maureen Lindley calls them “The Beloveds.” Her story of two sisters – one a Beloved and one not – is a frightening look at sibling rivalry and one woman’s descent into madness.
Betty Stash, the elder sister, immediately recognizes a Beloved when her little sister Gloria is born. From a very young age, Betty believes Gloria is somehow More – more beautiful, more loved, more everything – and relishes committing little (and big) transgressions against her sister. Betty longs to be alone, away from her sister, and comes to see their home, Pipits, as her special place. Indeed, she feels the house is alive and has “claimed her.” Betty’s resentment of Gloria continues to fester as they grow up, as Gloria slowly takes everything from Betty, including her boyfriend who becomes Gloria’s husband, and eventually the house, Pipits. When their mother commits the ultimate betrayal and bequeaths Pipits to Gloria instead of Betty, the eldest child, Betty spirals even faster into madness.
There aren’t many books that give me chills right from the start. This is one of them. The dynamics between Betty and Gloria are tense as only sisters will understand, but Lindley takes the tension to new levels of crazy by immersing the reader completely into Betty’s psyche. The skill with which Lindley envelops the reader in that crazy desperation is laudable and puts this book on the same level as Rebecca. So much fodder for book discussions here, as well as a totally gripping story. Highly recommended.
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy