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Sarah's family is opening up their historical cemetary vault, where no one else was ever supposed to be buried. To the surprise of all present, much has changed since its official closing. The main change is the addition of an exotic skeleton with rubies set into her teeth. This is the start of a kaleidoscopic adjustment of Sarah's view of her compressed little world. Charlotte MacLeod's brilliant plot is sympathetically humanized. When I listened to my old favorite THE FAMILY VAULT, it started a whole reading and listening sequence of Charlotte MacLeod books.
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Sarah kelling has always adored her generation older Cousin Alexander Kelling, so when her father dies when she's 19 and leaves Alex as her guardian, she happily marries him. But they are living with his tragically blind and deaf mother, using Sarah's income from her trust that expires when she's 27, whose funds go to Alexander if she dies, and though the house is one of Boston's distinguished old homes, they are living in shabby genteel poverty, recycling old clothes and doing their own DIY - or are they merely being thrifty aristocratic Boston Brahmins?.
But when a cantankerous older family member insists on being buried in the original historic family vault (instead of the modern cemetery on the outskirts of Boston next to his pre-deceased and despised wife), they find an unexpected resident - a notorious stripper Ruby Red -- and the Kelling secrets are about to come out.
Sarah is a bright, well-mannered young woman, happy to serve, but growing tired of the social demands of her heritage, the autocratic demands of her mother-in-law, and the financial demands of poverty when she's supposed to be part of a rich family. And when this shock starts to crack the family solidarity, she begins to search for the truth of how Ruby intersects with the family, but also the pattern of premature death. And trying to make her marriage a more equal one.
Well - written, with multiple humorous eccentric characters in the in-bred Kelling clan, and a complicated plot with a totally unexpected solution.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful