Poor Iris

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Once upon a time there were six sisters. Their mother was glad to have the girls because her mother, her grandmother and her great grandmother had all died when their first child was born. Fate had a different plan for the girls.
Iris Chase, the fourth of six girls, was a reclusive painter, only she wasn't known as Iris. She had changed her name to Sylvia Wren. After the publicity about her sisters, she felt the only way she could have an even remotely normal life would be to change her name. Things were quiet in her little corner of New Mexico. She had a reputation of turning down all requests for interviews. All that changed when a reporter found proof that she was one of the "doomed Chase girls". Because of this, she felt the need to write down her remembrances of her childhood. This book is her journal diary.
I vaguely remember the late 1950's. It was a very repressed and controlled time. Men ran everything. Women were expected to marry and start popping out children just as soon as they were done with high school. The Chase girls went to a proper preparatory wealthy girls school. The wedding preparations for Aster, the oldest girl, were elaborate, as befitting the most important event in her life.
Belinda, the mother of the girls, had premonitions that bad things were going to happen. As has happened to many women who express their feelings, she was labeled crazy and hospitalized for her 'nerves'. Iris, who was a child at this time, tried to slow or stop her sister's wedding so the bad thing her mother predicted wouldn't happen. She was unsuccessful. Her sister died shortly after the wedding. The same pattern followed when Rosalind married and died a year later.
We are not told what killed Iris' sisters. Iris wouldn't have known at her age. The autopsies were inconclusive. The same unexplained thing killed four of the girls. One drowned herself to avoid that wedding aftermath death. Only Iris escaped.
I liked the story. It is mostly the story of a wealthy family with daughters. Some might make it a gothic tale of the terrors of marriage or sex, but I don't think so. We are, after all, watching the events through the eyes of a child as remembered by an old woman who hadn't thought about them for years.
I received the copy of the book that I read for this review from BookishFirst.