The Burden

The Burden

Agatha Christie's 6 forgotten psychological romance novels are now being published under her pen name for the first time - Mary Westmacott. Laura resented the arrival of baby Shirley, but her emotions towards her sister change dramatically one night....

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Burden
Author:Mary Westmacott
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Burden Reviews

  • Ria

    A fascinating tale of how love can go wrong, how it can turn inwards on itself to the point of obsession.

    Laura always wanted to be the child most beloved but it was always Charles, when he sadly died Laura thought now was her chance to shine and be her parents all but it was not to be as her little sister Shirley was on the way.

    At first Laura hated her with a passion believing her to the usurper of her parents "new found love" for her due to Charles passing.

    This situation carries on until a dire

    A fascinating tale of how love can go wrong, how it can turn inwards on itself to the point of obsession.

    Laura always wanted to be the child most beloved but it was always Charles, when he sadly died Laura thought now was her chance to shine and be her parents all but it was not to be as her little sister Shirley was on the way.

    At first Laura hated her with a passion believing her to the usurper of her parents "new found love" for her due to Charles passing.

    This situation carries on until a dire accident brings Laura's love to the fore and so starts her utter obsession with making Shirley's life "perfect" just as she wished for herself but it was never to be...

  • Vikas Singh

    In this novel Agatha Christie, writing under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott looks at the complex relationship between two sisters. In many ways it is a psychological analysis of behavior and motivation of two protagonists- A doting but over bearing elder sister and her much younger care free sister. The end is quite un orthodox and you are left wondering if finally justice is delivered. Brilliant read.

  • Jackie

    Is love a burden? Is it better to love than to be loved? Those are some of the questions this book asks. Overall the first two parts were better than the second half but still a really good look at human nature.

  • Disha Acharya

    Since I was introduced to the wonderful world of Mary Westmacott by my Best Friend, I have always enjoyed reading her books, which of course made me, determined and want to read all six of her works. What is extremely delightful is the fact that a writer who wrote such intelligent and thrilling crime novels could also write such lovely books on human relationships. Everyone usually talks about how amazing a writer Agatha Christie was and that she is even today considered the Queen of Crime Ficti

    Since I was introduced to the wonderful world of Mary Westmacott by my Best Friend, I have always enjoyed reading her books, which of course made me, determined and want to read all six of her works. What is extremely delightful is the fact that a writer who wrote such intelligent and thrilling crime novels could also write such lovely books on human relationships. Everyone usually talks about how amazing a writer Agatha Christie was and that she is even today considered the Queen of Crime Fiction but hardly anyone ever talks about her Mary Westmacott novels and more is the pity as the readers don’t know what they are missing out on.

    Her Mary Westmacott novels display her deep understanding of human nature. I think she would put even Freud to shame! What is most amazing in her novels is the fact that everything is grey with a capital G. There is no black and there is certainly no white. Morality is a matter of interpretation, as are matters of right and wrong.

    This particular book deals with love, the various shades of love and how sometimes too much of love can also be a burden. In Shirley and Laura’s relationship we see the burden of love that Shirley has to carry as her sister smothers her with too much of love. While Shirley is further burdened by Richard’s love and Llewellyn feels the burden of God’s love and finally Laura starts feeling the weight of love for the first time. It is interesting to also see how Westmacott also tries to grapple with the eternal question of ‘How much is too much?’ Is it alright for someone to ‘interfere’ in a loved one’s life to the point of changing the course of their life? How can someone be a bystander when one’s loved one is not taking the right decisions, but the question is what are the ‘right’ decisions? ‘Right’ according to whom? Do we have the right to decide for the ones we love, what is right and wrong for them?

    It is quite wonderful to see that Westmacott realizes that there are no easy answers to these questions and, that human relationships are extremely complicated and intricate and well, Grey. However, much as I enjoyed reading the novel and the questions it raised, I did not particularly enjoy a few things. The first being that I did not quite understand why she had to put in the character of Llewellyn in the novel. When the part on Llewellyn started, it seemed as if I was reading another book altogether, it seemed entirely disjunct and unnecessary from the rest of the novel. What was more unnecessary was to give a fairy tale ending to Laura. It seemed pretty melodramatic and soap- operatic (sic) to me. Sure, someone can have a ‘second sight ‘and have a clear vision as to who he/she loves but that does not mean the object of affection shall understand this kind of love or else respond in the first meeting itself. Suddenly the nun-like figure of Laura is transformed suddenly in to this lipstick wielding ‘Fatal Apple’ Laura.

    Another contention that I have with the novel is the fact that it becomes a little too ‘action-packed’ (for lack of a better word) after the first part of the novel. Mary Westmacott’s novels are supposed to be an interrogation inside the inner recesses of the mind and are a journey into the deeper psychological processes of humans, case in point being her novel – Absent in the Spring. This deeper interrogation of the human psyche, as it were, is missing in this novel to such an extent and that is a tad disappointing as this is the defining point of her Westmacott novels and to have it missing in this novel was a definite letdown. We get to know more about what the main protagonists of the novel – Shirley and Laura are ‘doing’ rather than ‘thinking’. We don’t get a very clear picture of Laura and Shirley, as the novel is overcrowded with too many characters and that is why I have a particular grudge against the character of Llewellyn. Instead of giving us Llewellyn’s story etc. we as readers would have preferred to know more about the two sisters. Westmacott’s novels are always about the inner journey of the characters rather than their physical journeys which is sadly missing in this novel to a large extent.

    A word here about the racism in the book. I love Mary Westmacott dearly and she has been and always will be one of my favourite authors, however, one cannot be blind to a writer’s faults. I never noticed her racism until I read this book. I quote (pgs. 133-136) ‘It had none of the exotic languor of the tropics.’ ‘There would be poverty here, and pain, and the various ills of the flesh,’ ‘The girls were beautiful with a proud dark beauty that would probably not outlast youth.’

    I guess it is some Caribbean island that Westmacott seems to have described in the book; however the way she has described not only the place but the natives gives her away. The island and the inhabitants are clearly the ‘Other’ and the ‘East’ with all the stereotypical trappings of being not only exotic and sensual but also lazy and poor. Well, that made me obviously angry and upset that I have finally realized that (one of) my favourite author can also be a ‘mild’ racist, if ever there was a term for this. Food for thought.

    If one casts that aside, then I must say it is an enjoyable read and it deserves four stars for it simply being a Mary Westmacott novel.p

  • Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws

    The Burden deals with a really dark plot revolving around the bond of sisters. The book had me engrossed from the beginning till the end. The characters were so well drawn up that I had no trouble believing in them, flaws and all! They were real to me throughout the book.

  • Cassia Watakabe

    Laura since childhood thought her opinions are absolute but in reality she only has a vision of the world and life is limited. Her love for her parents demand reciprocal excluvity but love for her sister becomes consistent and also unpredictable that come astonishing. A book with hard familiar realities and a bit of romantic mysticism that pleased me.

  • Sinduja Ragunathan

    The burden turned out to be significant in ways more than one. For one, after a long time, longer than I can remember, I finished a story of 200 pages in just two days. With all due respect to my reading speed, it would suffice to say that few stories have gripped my imagination and held my interest the way this one did. Secondly, it was on a theme that means something to me: the bond between sisters. Without getting into a personal rant, I would have to say that it was a refreshing theme to rea

    The burden turned out to be significant in ways more than one. For one, after a long time, longer than I can remember, I finished a story of 200 pages in just two days. With all due respect to my reading speed, it would suffice to say that few stories have gripped my imagination and held my interest the way this one did. Secondly, it was on a theme that means something to me: the bond between sisters. Without getting into a personal rant, I would have to say that it was a refreshing theme to read.

    Despite these icings on the cake, the burden disappointed me. Most of the characters were etched in a black-or-white fashion, the story lost its allure after the first half, and most importantly the ending was so cliched that I quite couldn't come to believe that it was the end. In fact, the end did no justice to the effort and language that stood out in the first half.

  • Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    This has been sitting half finished on my e reader for a while, so I'm accepting that I may just not finish this (bizarrely, since I've had the e reader I've been finishing all sorts of dreck that I would have tossed aside if they had been in paperback form)

    This book starts of as bleak & sinister, then turns into dull & mundane. Just couldn't work up the interest to keep reading & see if it goes back into sinister.

  • Anne Truong

    My goodness.

    Maybe it's just my distaste for romance, but this has got to be the most boring book I've ever read. I don't know, a lot of my recent reads have been adventure novels and philosophical novels with spritzes of romance within them and I enjoyed those a lot, so I thought I'd give this one a go. Considering how much I love Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot has been a great hero of mine in high school), I thought it would be at the least bit bearable but boy was I wrong. I agree with the re

    My goodness.

    Maybe it's just my distaste for romance, but this has got to be the most boring book I've ever read. I don't know, a lot of my recent reads have been adventure novels and philosophical novels with spritzes of romance within them and I enjoyed those a lot, so I thought I'd give this one a go. Considering how much I love Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot has been a great hero of mine in high school), I thought it would be at the least bit bearable but boy was I wrong. I agree with the review beneath mine; it starts out very depressing, but then just becomes super dull. I tried to just go on and read it for the sake of finishing the book, but the characters are all one-dimensional with little going on in their lives...to be honest, I just gave up at the 4/5 mark.

    When it comes to Agatha Christie, I'd stick to the mysteries.

  • Moonlight Reader

    The Burden is the first of the books written by Agatha Christie under her

    nom de plume that I've read, although it was the last one published. It was published in 1956, the same year she published

    and

    .

    This is a very strange little book centered around Laura, the least-loved child in her family. Very early in the book, she has a younger, favored, brother who dies, and Laura hopes that her situation will change. Her younger sister, Shirley, is

    The Burden is the first of the books written by Agatha Christie under her

    nom de plume that I've read, although it was the last one published. It was published in 1956, the same year she published

    and

    .

    This is a very strange little book centered around Laura, the least-loved child in her family. Very early in the book, she has a younger, favored, brother who dies, and Laura hopes that her situation will change. Her younger sister, Shirley, is born, which puts her back in the position of being less.

    She makes friends with a cranky local man who generally dislikes children, but sees something in Laura that is interesting. He remains a constant friend and fixture in her life. Initially, Laura's feelings about Shirley are decidedly negative - until she saves Shirley's life at significant risk to her own, when Shirley is around 2 years old. Laura becomes deeply protective of Shirley from that point on, and raises her once their parents die unexpectedly.

    Agatha Christie sets this up as a contrast between dark - Laura - and light - Shirley. Laura gets short shrift with her own life, dedicated essentially to caring for Shirley. Shirley falls hard for a pretty awful man, whom she later marries. This becomes a significant source of tension, when he ends up significantly disabled by polio. This does not improve him.

    I read this book very quickly, partly to just get it over with, I think. I really didn't like it - the decisions being made by all of the characters were confounding. The ending was just weird.

    Even in the context of this book, which is described as a "psychological romance," Agatha can't get away from crime. In addition, I don't think that I agree that this is a romance, as that genre identifier is generally applied today. I don't think that Laura is capable of an HEA, given the level of trauma that she sustained during her life (at least not without a lot of therapy). She is restrained to the point of isolation.

    I'm not sorry I read it, because Agatha. But I am hopeful that it is the weakest of her Westmacott books, because it's hard for me to imagine that they could be worse.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.