All Editions of The Cherry Robbers

by Sarai Walker

The Cherry Robbers

The Cherry Robbers

Author: Sarai Walker Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/06/2022

Exploring male power, female subjugation, sisterhood, and the romanticisation and demonisation of female mental illness, Sarai Walker’s The Cherry Robbers is an incredible novel. It’s a gothic ghost story, of sorts, in which six sisters are trapped by a curse that means their only way of escaping a miserable life - marriage - condemns them to die. In 2017, the wealthy, reclusive American artist Sylvia Wren has lived with a new identity for several decades. She was born into the Chapel munitions dynasty as Iris Chapel in 1937. “Our house was paid for by death… That’s how our family made money, after all: war, murder, suicide, animal slaughter. As macabre as it was, the Chapel rifle was nevertheless a treasured American icon”. As Sylvia/Iris relates in her diary, not only was their Victorian “Wedding Cake” house paid for by death, but the Chapel sisters were cursed to suffer a succession of tragic losses. Living with a distant father and a mentally ill mother who’s haunted by the fact that her mother died in childbirth, the only clear way for the sisters to escape is to marry. But for the Chapel sisters, as predicted by their mother, marriage is a death sentence; the nail in the coffin of their already restricted, subjugated female existence. In the words of one of the sisters, “The embrace of a man doesn’t wake us up, it sends us to sleep, an eternal slumber from which we will never wake”. Though Iris and her sisters and mother are centre stage through this rich, incendiary novel, it’s the lesser-seen men who pull the strings. As Iris comments, she knew from a young age that “it was often women who suffered the consequences of men’s actions”. With all but one of her sisters dead, Iris makes it her mission to protect them both. Suffused in poetry and art, and tingling with atmosphere, coming-of-age fever, and potent feminism, this remarkable novel poses a crucial question that sees Iris take action to break the curse: “What’s a life without love?”

Star Books