Cover Image: The Cherry Robbers

The Cherry Robbers

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Member Reviews

As a lover of gothic horror, I really enjoyed The Cherry Robbers! Sarai really does an amazing job in this book of writing compelling female characters and putting them in scary situations. This book is wonderfully creepy and gives me really great Haunting of Hill House vibes. It explores sex and sexuality in a way that's really handled with care and it shakes up societal normals and perception in a way that makes the plot really interesting. Definitely a must-read if you like gothic horror!
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As if the gorgeous cover wasn’t enough – then there was this puff: “Gothic ghost story with a fiery feminist zeal” and I mean, come on, how are you supposed to not be desperate to read that?!

So, go with me here: A good bit of Mexican Gothic (but with flowers), a little bit The Muse (but so much better), definitely some The Little Stranger (but a tonally different ending), a rustle of We Have Always Lived in The Castle (the sisterhood, those woods), and throw in some The Virgin Suicides (but the female characters are actually characters not just projections of male fantasies) and I guess what I’m saying is that there is a lot that is familiar in The Cherry Robbers, but while all of those stories came to mind for me – this book still felt absolutely like its own gorgeous creature. A ghost story, a meditation on grief and survival, and on the lot of traditional femininity, there’s plenty going on here but it never feels like it is laboring under its agenda. And, managing to be both beautiful and horrifying at turns and to do both really well throughout. It is just plain impressive.

The prose is elegant here and each character is fully realized (where they’re supposed to be [I don’t think the menfolk were intended to get that treatment]). The blurb does tell you what is going to happen from the outset, and while it is enticing, it might be setting you up for disappointment if you’re hoping for many further twists, which don’t really arrive… Instead the frame narrative is more of a more philosophical and emotional bent. It bookends the story beautifully, but I will admit I might have wished for more of a ghost story denouement.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

I loved the themes in this book; sisterhood, grief and femininity. They are done really well here, reflected by language and prose that helps them along. There were several beautiful lines I spent a while with, as I found myself quite eager to devour all the meaning I could. Ultimately, this book is really good, but it definitely has a slower start. It could be hard to get into, especially if you're expecting a paranormal thriller as the description might suggest.
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I'm very sad to have not liked this book because the premise was so promising.
I don't want to keep this review long, but I want to say what I didn't enjoy. First of all, the author basically tells us what the story is going to be about in the beginning, which is that the sisters are dying after they have intercourse. And that's all. We know the story from the beginning, and that's exactly what happens all the time, one by one each sister dying. No you are not reading spoilers if you haven't read the book, because the author keeps reminding us that that's what's going to happen all the time.

It was just extremely repetitive. It's supposed to be gothic thriller and a story about ghosts, but a ghost visiting a character happens, what, like 3 times? And it's not scary and thrilling at all....

I'm sorry to say I was just really bored and didn't really get the point of this story at all.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the arc.
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Thanks to Netgalley for an eARC - this book is set to publish on 1st February 2022.

This is my first review so please bear with me; but what a book to start with! 

I really enjoyed The Cherry Robbers, and the immersive world Sarai has created and so masterfully draws you into. By this I don't just mean 1950s Connecticut, but the inner world of Sylvia Wren - I was on edge throughout most of the book, unable to tear myself away from what I knew was coming on the next pages. I think it takes a lot of skill to essentially explain the premise of the plot up front, as this book does - we know fairly early on <i>what</i> will happen to the characters - but to keep you wanting to read to find out the why, and the how, and this book deals with that in a brilliant way. Sarai does that with skill and charm and a depth of emotion that clawed at me; it is a ghost story, but it's also about so much more, as other reviewers have noted too.

I did find it lulled slightly about half way through, but this may well be edited further before publication, and regardless - it was definitely worth it to get to the second half.
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So after reading the first chapter I wasn't sure I would get into this. However, once it transitioned to Iris'/Sylvia's younger years with her sisters, it drew me in. There were some times that I felt like the author focused too much on the mundane, but the overall story was interesting. I saw at the end that the title was based on a poem (I had wondered throughout the novel where the title had come from) so I looked up the poem online and read it. Admittedly I didn't quite "get" it, but in my opinion I would have rather had a title that related directly to the novel.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. 
While the story itself can be hard, full of tragic moments, the book itself is beautiful. The prose is very poetic and nice to read.
This book could fit in the thriller category, but I wasn't scared while reading it, it was just perfect to keep me on my toes! 
The main story is set in the 1950's, which was a period full of sexism, but this book manages to tell a story about girls and women living in this period, without being sexist.
I couldn't put this book down!
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All the ghosts, disturbed people with macabre histories, and general overall creepiness in this novel are a pretty significant detour from the memoirs and literary fiction I usually read, but all the angst and family drama--I'm here for it. Glad I read this one.
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"The Cherry Robbers" was simply mesmerizing. I loved every single second of it. The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are so vivid, Sarai Walker plays with the senses in a way that makes the reader's imagination go wild. I was so immersed in the world of the Chapel family, I cried, I was angry, I was afraid for the characters. It did remind me of Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived In The Castle", whit an extra touch of the peculiarness of the spiritual/ghostly/intuitive/abstract mind of Iris and her family. This became easily one of my favorite books and I will be so glad to get a copy when it comes out in February.
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Loved the tone of Dietland which led me to request this from NetGalley as soon as I spotted it. It's so different from that book yet equally enthralling. A unique premise, a captivating story, and a genre-bending work overall. Not sure how much additional editing will take place prior to publication, but there were definitely some parts that I found tedious and repetitive. Still, a solid four stars.
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This was really, really good. The Cherry Robbers was my first time reading a book by Sarai Walker and I'm very glad I picked it up, because it blew me away.

The reader starts off by knowing exactly how the story of the Chapel family ends: in death. It is 2017, and the lone survivor of that family feels a sudden compulsion to note down in a diary the events of her life, a life she has up till now carefully hidden from public scrutiny. Through her diary, the reader is transported back to 1950, where her story truly begins.

I personally don't like books written in the style of a diary. However, after my initial hesitation, I did start to enjoy it, getting drawn into the horrific events surrounding the Chapels easily. The story was not about mystery, but about suspense and tension: how would the deaths come to pass? How did Iris Chapel, our narrator, manage to survive? All this and more kept me hooked until, and even after, the lives of most Chapels ended.

Although the ending itself was remarkable, the words (and specifically, the punctuation) used to end this book irked me a little. I won't get into the particulars – they're too much of a spoiler – but I will say, very vaguely, that I would have preferred a full stop.

Review to be posted on my blog closer to the publication date.
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The Cherry Robbers by S. Walker, published by Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt, is a story that got to me.
Set in two timelines, it tells the story of two women. Women from a family who're suffering a curse, made a long time ago.
Sylvia, the renowed american artist and Iris who's life is in smalltown Ireland in the 1950ties.
The storyline spans decades, is a gothic ghost story, well written and beautifully told.
A great 4,5 star read.
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Sylvia Wren is a known recluse in the art community and though her paintings are more than well-respected, she’s not interested in the fame that comes along with her work. Sylvia is more interested in hiding who she is and where she came from. There is no Sylvia Wren...but there is Iris Chapel- previous heir to the fortune of Chapel firearms, along with her 5 sisters. Iris grew up with a detached father and seemingly mentally ill mother (Belinda) who claims to see the ghosts of the victims of the Chapel firearms her husband produces. Written off as crazy, when Belinda speaks of a premonition of her eldest daughter’s death following her imminent marriage, only Iris hears truth in her mother’s warnings. The premonition not only proves correct... it happens again. 

This book turned out to be nothing like what I expected in the most delightful way possible. I expected a ghost story, and while there are absolutely horrifying and unsettling moments with supernatural undertones, I think this is actually a story of sisterhood, sexuality, and overall femininity based in the 1950’s when women were demonized for being anything other than docile. Walker’s writing is creepy and gothic but also lovely and educational. By the end, each sister felt like an old friend I used to know and I fell in love with this book.
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Calling out all the fans of Shirley Jackson, this book will quench your thirst for a creepy gothic thriller with an emphasis on loneliness and what grief can do to us, similar to Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Walker's writing is seductive and would claw at your inner calmness, creating tension inside you, not quite different from what the protagonist Sylvia Wren feels. I was on the edge through most of the book, fighting Sylvia's demons and trying to find answers to questions that are eventually left unanswered, or better said, left to the reader's interpretation. Sylvia Wren, a popular feminist artist, has a dark secret- she is not who she claims to be and has managed to keep her tragic past buried until she is confronted by a sneaky journalist who knows her real identity and wants to brings that out to the public.

There are ghosts in this book but it's onto the readers to decide whether these ghosts are real or figments of imagination created by grief, anxiety and years of suppression. I'm taking my time to absorb the story and make my deductions, this is not going to be easy!

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for this eARC! The Cherry Robbers is due to publish on 1st February 2022.

4.5/5 🌟(rounded up).
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Book Review for The Cherry Robbers

Full feature for this title will be posted at: @cattleboobooks on Instagram!
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Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker is a blend of Southern Gothic and historical fantasy that will appeal to fans of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson or The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab.  The story revolves around Sylvia, a reclusive artist with a mysterious past.  She has become relatively well-known in art circles, but nobody knows who she was before she became an artist.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 when Sylvia receives a disturbing letter from a journalist:

:"I'm wondering if any of this sounds familiar to you?
I laughed audibly, more like a scoff of confusion, alarm. Why would it be familiar to me? I'm Sylvia Wren, an artist who lives in Abiquiu, New Mexico.  I was born and raised in Illinois and now I'm a New Mexican. I know nothing of New England. Or at least that's what I tell people.
But I kept reading the letter because Bellflower Village, the Popplewells, and the house in robin's-egg blue are not actually unknown to me - or rather to the person I used to be.
I don't mean to be coy, Ms. Wren, so let me get to the point: Mrs. Levasseur had a bit too much champagne at lunch and let slip that she knows a secret about you."

Soon after she receives the letter, Sylvia panics.  Then, we are given a flashback to the 1950's when Sylvia and her sister, the Chapel sisters lived in a gorgeous house with their overbearing mother and father.  The sisters long to get married so that they can leave the house.  When the eldest Aster gets engaged, their mother has a horrible premonition that something will happen as a result of the wedding.  The rest of the family ignore her, but something terrible does indeed happen.  Is the family cursed?  Are sinister forces are play, or is the real threat much closer to home?

Overall, The Cherry Robbers is a delightful, spooky Gothic novel.  I couldn't put this book down. I ended up finishing it in a day.  One highlight of this book is the pairing of beautiful descriptions of items of consumption with the creepy ghosts that haunt the family's mansion.  It reminded me slightly of the horror of Crimson Peak, which is one of my favorite films, and the quirkiness of the film Penelope or the TV show Pushing Daisies.  If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of Gothic novels like the works of Shirley Jackson, then I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in February!
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WoW this book was way better than I originally thought!.
Jumping from New Mexico, 2017 to Connecticut 1950.....which I thought was simply amazing!

2017-Sylvia Wren an artist She is known as a recluse and she shoots anything that has to do with the public! 
But she has a good reason Sylvia is living under a fake identity! 
Hiding from a past she wants to forget about. 
But soon the past comes calling when a journalist shows up wanting a story!.
And Sylvia has to come face to face with her past when she was known as Iris Chapel..
1950- Growing up in a big family Iris Chapel is the second youngest of six sisters... And they are all an heir to a firearm fortune!
Their lives they have been so distant with their father and mother.. 
These girls can't wait to get outta here but the only.way to do that is by marriage..
Little do they know after one sister gets married she soon dies by something mysterious. And it happens again to the second sister!. What do they do? 

I absolutely loved this book! It was beyond amazing!.
The writing was on point! The characters were great, strong willed! 
The entire book was interesting and very intriguing, I had a hard time trying to stop reading to fix dinner! 

Thank you NetGalley & Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this amazing ebook copy!.
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