Read The Burden by Mary Westmacott Agatha Christie Online


A Crime of the Heart novel about the destructive bond between two jealous sisters. Laura Franklin bitterly resented the arrival of her younger sister Shirley, an enchanting baby loved by all the family. But Laura's emotions towards her sister changed dramatically one night, when she vowed to protect her with all her strength and love. While Shirley longs for freedom and roA Crime of the Heart novel about the destructive bond between two jealous sisters. Laura Franklin bitterly resented the arrival of her younger sister Shirley, an enchanting baby loved by all the family. But Laura's emotions towards her sister changed dramatically one night, when she vowed to protect her with all her strength and love. While Shirley longs for freedom and romance, Laura has to learn that loving can never be a one-sided affair, and the burden of her love for her sister has a dramatic effect on both their lives. A story of consequences when love turns to obsession......

Title : The Burden
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13457580
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 223 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Burden Reviews

  • Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
    2019-05-04 14:50

    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.

  • Disha Acharya
    2019-05-04 22:38

    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

  • Andy
    2019-05-05 22:54

    Agatha Christies große Menschenkenntnis erkennt man an der Gestaltung der Charaktere.Schon der Prolog hatte es in sich. Mir gefällt die kompakte, nüchterne Art, wie alle beschrieben werden. Sie ist in ihrer Art zu schreiben ehrlich, unerbittlich und recht konsequent. In "Spätes Glück" fühlt man die komprimierte Essenz dessen, was man sonst in ihren Krimis recht ausschweifend zu lesen bekommt. Trotzdem bleibt Raum für Gedanken.

  • Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
    2019-05-11 18:41

    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.

  • Bruce
    2019-05-16 18:56

    This is my favorite Westmacott novel so far. The craftsmanship of the writing and plot are not as polished as Absent in Spring, which I deem her best, but it possesses certain elements which bring it close to my heart. The story dramatizes the nature of romantic love, and also offers insight about teaching as a vocation. It has some elements of a third-rate romance novel and the plotting is rather clunky, but Westmacott's (i.e., Agatha Christie's) very genuine human sympathy and insight shine through and cause its faults to recede.

  • Zézinha Rosado
    2019-05-08 18:50

    Foi a primeira obra que li de Agatha Christie fora do contexto "policial/thriller/mistério" e fiquei surpreendida, embora não seja um livro fantástico.Como sempre a autora tem uma capacidade fenomenal de descrever as personagens e de nos fazer agarrar o melhor de cada uma delas.Laura é uma personagem deliciosa e deveras interessante, quer na sua infância, quer na idade adulta.Já a sua irmã Shirley deixa muito a desejar, não foi uma das personagens que me tocaram.O que me despertou de facto a atenção foi a forma algo subtil como a autora aborda o tema amor, o que a falta ou excesso deste sentimento pode despertar na vida de cada pessoa, chegando mesmo a influenciar as suas vivências futuras.O final é um pouco estranho, mas não deixa de se enquadrar no contexto da obra.

  • Ria
    2019-05-16 19:30

    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...

  • Sinduja Ragunathan
    2019-04-26 14:31

    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.

  • Stephanie Stennett
    2019-04-26 16:42

    I'm giving this three stars as an average over the whole book. First 56 pages FIVE STARS. Thought I might have found a new fav. Next 70, pretty good 3 stars. Interesting sister plot line, though I was much more sympathetic to laura than Shirley. Last 80? One star. All this metaphysical god-stuff. Shirley is even less interesting. Laura Doesn't reappear until very end, when .......SPOILER HERE.......she's "saved" by this god-guy. She falls for him?!?! I so wish she'd stayed more like the little girl of the first 60p. I have another Westmacott, but now I'm not sure I'll read it, if they all get bogged down in religion and philosophy. (It is, as someone once said, "too much responsibility for me.")

  • Ira Patra
    2019-05-03 16:52

    Agatha Christie has done a deep interrogation of human nature and the result is as fascinating as her crime fiction. She explores 'how much love is too much', 'how much should one interfere to steer the loved ones back to the right path' , 'and right from whose perspective?' in this beautifully written novel about 2 sisters.

  • Kusum Manjeshri
    2019-05-09 15:33

    Excellent work

  • Gowri N.
    2019-05-15 15:38

    I've been re-reading Christie's Mary Westmacott books this past year and The Burden has come out as one of my least favourites. This is a book that begins amazingly well with a premise that evokes a horrified fascination - the unwanted middle child who hopes to get attention when her popular older sibling dies but is shocked when a new baby arrives instead. How things play out between the two siblings forms the rest of the story.Where it goes haywire is when Christie tries to loop too many things together and sketch out a back story for every character - it all ends up being, well - sketchy. One gets the feeling that the book need not have been overcomplicated. That it would have worked a lot better with fewer characters. If you are just starting out with the Westmacott books, leave this one for the last. I would highly recommend Absent In The Spring, Unfinished Portrait and A Daughter's A Daughter over this.

    2019-05-15 16:51

    I didn't know that our LOVE could also be a burden on others,till i read this book. Agatha you are not a fabulous thriller writer but also a great romantic author. The BURDEN is a simple but a heavy book as the name suggests. Everyone has to pay.............. Laura as the second child,hates her brother Charles who is the first born and is loved by all due to his charm and mischief. Whereas Laura is a silent and introvert type. She was happy when Charles dies of polio as she would be loved by her parents,but then comes Shirley,her younger sister. Laura hates her and prays to god for Shirley's death. The day when her house catches fire,Laura instinctively rescues the baby and from then on her hate turns to love on her sister.

  • Kanika
    2019-05-03 21:51

    I am reading Mary Westmacott for the first time. the first half of the book was exciting but some part it was difficult to connect as I gradually came to the end it made sense. The book was a nice read. Tells a lot about human nature and quite heart touching. I liked the character of the Laura. It's a good weekend read.

  • Ananth Singeetham
    2019-04-30 15:33

    I am not sure what was the point of this book. The first 2 parts were good. But the third last part was painfully dragging and uttrerly boring. Meh.

  • María-Columna
    2019-05-18 17:45

    I liked the book. The characters could be more defined, many years pass without knowing anything about them, but maybe it is not necessary.

  • Elvis Rodrigues
    2019-05-25 20:28

    Laura não fica feliz quando sua irmãzinha Shirley nasce, mas logo se apaixona intensamente pela bebê dez anos mais nova que ela e resolve dedicar sua vida a fazer de Shirley uma pessoa feliz. Quando Shirley cresce, Laura se preocupa com suas relações amorosas, levantando a questão de qual seria a linha que ela não poderia cruzar. Até que ponto podemos amar uma pessoa e deixar esse sentimento interferir na vida dela?Laura é uma personagem fascinante, especialmente quando criança. Novamente Christie se supera ao descrever crianças, tornando-as tão ou mais complexas que os personagens adultos. Na segunda parte do livro há uma queda de qualidade, uma vez que Shirley nunca se torna tão interessante quanto a irmã. Também há um problema estrutural, pois um personagem importante é inserido de forma tardia na trama, passando a impressão de ter sido inventado de última hora, como artifício para conseguir chegar a um fim desejado.Porém, analisando em perspectiva, a história de Laura e Shirley, embora levemente novelesca, é maravilhosa. Nestes livros como Mary Westmacott, a Dama do Crime não fez romances, mas sim dramas realistas. São questões duras colocadas à pauta. Atitudes egoístas. Personagens muito verossímeis. O Fardo talvez seja meu favorito entre os seis.Neste momento, me torno melancólico. A única leitura de Agatha Christie que me resta é a sua autobiografia. Farei um intervalo para ler outras coisas, mas a encararei em breve, encerrando uma jornada de quase quatro anos.

  • Mariana
    2019-05-25 21:31

    É a primeira vez que leio uma obra da Agatha Christie que não seja um policial ou um crime. A minha classificação são 2,5 estrelas, porque acho que é um livro mediocre, nem bom, nem mau. Gostei muito mais da primeira metade, até dos dois primeiros terços. Depois tornou-se uma obra completamente diferente, com uma temática distinta e um personagem novo foi introduzido e que só serviu para me entediar. Devo admitir que o último terço deste livro foi super difícil de ler exactamente pelos razões que expressei antes. Acho que se a temática não tivesse feito esse desvio tão claro, ou seja, se a meio do livro a autora não tivesse decidido que queria abordar temas completamente distintos e do foro místico o livro teria continuado bom e interessante. Acho que o problema foi tentar introduzir demasiadas coisas e tentar buscar um final feliz que se calhar podia ter sido encontrado de outra maneira. Devo admitir que foi um pouco uma desilusão pois esperava muito mais desta autora.

  • Chethana
    2019-05-01 18:56

    Though this is the first Agatha Christie novel I chose to read, I was aware that this is different from the thrilling crime novels by the author.Still ,I was expecting Henry getting murdered by Laura out of jealousy and was predicting similar possible scenarios while reading.But it turned out to be an interesting book detailing the different shades of human nature with a great deal of philosophy in every conversation. I felt a slight disconnect in the chapter which introduces Llewellyn but considering the ideas conveyed through the conversations, it fits well. It shows Love, despite how true and sincere, can transform to a burden. It questions the pointless pursuit of happiness, how absurd is the 'right' decisions we take, out of the generalization that is accepted as true. This book amazed me, with the philosophy the author brings in through the intelligent conversations on Morality and human relationships. A good read for sure.

  • Anne Truong
    2019-05-17 15:49

    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 be honest, I just gave up at the 4/5 mark.When it comes to Agatha Christie, I'd stick to the mysteries.

  • Kirsti
    2019-05-23 17:31

    Agatha Christie wrote a bunch of non-mysteries under the name Mary Westmacott.This one is pretty good! I read Christie novels for the puzzle aspect, not for the characterization, so I wasn't sure I would like this. But it's atmospheric and somewhat romantic. I cared about what happened to the characters, though the structure of the story meant that some characters weren't mentioned for 40 or 50 pages at a stretch.The cover of the new edition is very attractive. The cover of the book I have is quite dated. My spouse saw it and said, "Oh, yeah, my dad shelved a lot of those at the bookstore back when he worked there. They were called gothics. They always had a picture of a girl in front of a castle." And that's what's on the cover of the book I have . . . although, disconcertingly, the woman on the cover resembles a blond Chrissie Hynde circa 1980.

  • Linda K
    2019-05-08 14:54

    I have owned this paperback forever, (it sold for 45 cents!!)but just never read it although I am a HUGE Christie fan.The story begins simply with Laura being quite jealous of new baby sister, Shirley. After a near tragedy, Laura becomes smitten with Shirley and devotes her life to her care, nearly smothering her with love. Shirley marries Henry and the plot becomes more involved.Other characters in the story are Baldy, their neighbor who is infuential in both the girls lives, and two other men, both love interests.I dislike giving away too much in a review, so will suffice to say, that although there was major saddness in this book, it was very worthwhile reading. The characters are mostly likeable and all challanging in their views on life.

  • Martina Sartor
    2019-05-02 14:29

    Mi è piaciuta molto la prima metà circa del libro, con la delineazione del carattere delle due sorelle, Laura e Shirley, e delle dinamiche affettive fra le due.Meno equilibrata la seconda parte, con l'introduzione un po' forzata del personaggio di Llewellyn che, sebbene abbia una sua funzione al fine del romanzo,non è così ben riuscito come gli altri. Alla fine comunque Agatha/Mary Westmacott raggiunge il suo scopo: dimostrare come il troppo amore possa essere soffocante, se usato con la presunzione di sapere cosa è meglio per la persona amata."Un fardello leggero, ma pur sempre un fardello."

  • Hajrah Majeed
    2019-05-21 20:44

    the first Agatha Christie book i've read and i'm impressed. i love the way she's depicted human emotions in such a beautiful way. really thought-provoking as well. characters are really lovable and i loved how she made them so raw, so real. yes, she got a bit carried away with Llewellyn's side but i was really happy that he found Laura (even though the ending was fairy-tale like, it was a nice change from reading books with sad endings)overall, beautiful, real, smart and tragic. a must read.

  • Rainbow
    2019-05-17 21:43

    My favourite book.It is genius and perfect and I loved it.A saw a lot of reiews of this book on goodreads.I think that the most of them gave like 3 or 4 stars.I think that not everyone can understand this book.It is not for everyone,but luckely it was for me.I understood every word from this book and I think it was great.It tought me so many things..I can't even count them.Sometimes I just wish i could love my sister the way Laura did.And obviously it had a little mistery in it.I mean,it's an Agatha Chrisie book,of course it had mistery.I loved every single word.

  • Luciana Melo
    2019-05-02 19:46

    Reading AC is like visiting a beach house where you have spent every summer as a child with great memories. I had read all mysteries books from Agatha Christie when I was a teenager. Poirot was more like a friend to me. I was addicted and after all those years, just found out that I didnt read any of hers as Mary Westmacott. After reading this one, was like eating comfort food. Felt like meeting an old friend

  • Gillian Kevern
    2019-05-26 21:54

    First time I'd read this, and I was expecting a murder. This threw me. Hearty dash of Christie melodrama and sentimentality, but some good points about human nature. The main theme of the novel, that love can be a burden, makes this book either perfect for Valentine's or the worst book ever -- I think it vindicates everyone who celebrates Singles Awareness Day. Also, if this is a romance it has the highest body count I've ever met in one.

  • Rohit
    2019-05-27 20:52

    This book goes on to show that Christie would have been just as successful had she chosen any other genre to focus on (not complaining that she chose crime, at all). She has taken special care to delve into the mental faculties of her major characters, as readers of her crime novels would know very well. The story doesn't possess much by way of a plot, but you should try this out to see how effortlessly she switches from suspense to drama.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-28 20:38

    Again, an excellently written story, with well-defined characters and all that Agatha Christie did so well, but the overwhelming negative feelings I was left with ~ and had to slog through ~ just didn't work for me... at all.* * * * * *Yeah, and the star? That's my feelings about the book and nothing about how well-written it was. I know a lot of people who would absolutely LOVE any of Mary Westmacott stories... I'm just not one of them.

  • Tiko
    2019-05-27 15:46

    Háááát.. az első könyvem volt Agatha Christie-től, ami nem krimi, kíváncsi voltam, hogy hogyan fog tetszeni… Az első fejezet érdekes volt, de utána sajnos unalomban fordult, nem volt rendesen szerkesztve, vagy nem tudom.. Leginkább Baldy karaktere tetszett, a két lány eléggé érdektelen maradt végig. Többet vártam és csalódtam, összességében három csillag.