“When your sister murders three hundred people, you can’t help but wonder why – especially if you were one of the intended victims – though I do forgive her, if you can believe it. I tried my best to deny the strength of family ties when everyone was still alive, but now I realize the truth of the cliche: Blood does run thick. Even if poison trumps all,” (Tsao 1)
A strong start to Tiffany Tsao’s newest book The Majesties which follows the comatose Gwendolyn, the only survivor after her sister Estella has poisoned their entire family at their Opa’s birthday celebration, as she struggles to wake up as she sorts through her and Estella’s life and what led to her sister doing such a thing.
The Majesties is beautifully written, from the opening line but especially the descriptions of the sister’s love for one another and Gwendolyn’s grief over Estella’s abusive marriage. Those passages made my heart ache, the love and concern was so deep in Tsao’s words and I love a book that can make me feel things. It’s also a fairly quick read and an easy story for readers to follow as we travel with Gwendolyn through her memories of her and Estella as she puts the pieces together of what led to Estella poisoning their family.
The mystery and thriller aspect of the novel is definitely over-hyped though with much of the thrilling aspect being the poisoning, which we know from the first paragraph of the book. And while part of the mystery is obviously about why Estella did what she did, it comes off more as a journey and search for redemption than anything shocking and spine-tingling.
While not as dark as the quotes on the cover state The Majesties is still an enjoyable and unique read about privilege, worth, and morality and a memorable read on its own.
Publication: January 21st 2020
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 272 pages
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤
“Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan.
As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?”