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The Burden

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,160 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Agatha Christie's 6 forgotten psychological romance novels are now being published under her own name for the first time - Mary Westmacott. Laura resented the arrival of baby Shirley, but her emotions towards her sister change dramatically one night.
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published 1997 by HarperCollins (first published 1956)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,665)
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Disha Acharya
Jul 17, 2014 Disha Acharya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sinduja Ragunathan
May 09, 2013 Sinduja Ragunathan rated it liked it
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 ...more
Ira Patra
Mar 20, 2016 Ira Patra rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 06, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing
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 th ...more
Kusum Manjeshri
Feb 15, 2015 Kusum Manjeshri rated it liked it
Excellent work
 Carol ♔ Type, Oh Queen! ♔
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.
Oct 31, 2015 Rainbow rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 Ag ...more
Hajrah Majeed
Feb 28, 2014 Hajrah Majeed rated it liked it
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.
Gillian Kevern
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.
Oct 27, 2008 Kirsti rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Christie completists
Shelves: fiction
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 qu
May 21, 2016 Tiko rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Robert Stewart
Jul 03, 2015 Robert Stewart rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Esther Cabral
May 08, 2014 Esther Cabral rated it liked it
This a one of those easy reads, but has enough food for thought—"...she comprehended the burden of love." The entire story of the Franklin girls just makes sense with this one sentence at the end.

Though I felt the Llewellyn Knox's chapter was rather long and unnecessarily stretched. It does build the premise for the next chapter, we could've done away with the lengthy prose.
Linda K
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,
Sep 19, 2014 Nina rated it it was amazing
It's a great lesson in letting people make their own choices - maybe they're not the choices we'd make for them, but they're THEIR choices. I read this many many years ago, and I'm thinking it might be time for a re-read.
Jan 13, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Deep insights into the effects of smothering love. We think this is what we want but it can bury you.
Jan 18, 2016 Polaris rated it it was amazing
Forget about Freud, this woman is the best psychoanalyst ever....
Priyanka Mallick
Dec 29, 2015 Priyanka Mallick rated it it was ok
ok ok
Skylare plath
love it !
Oct 24, 2014 Sakila rated it it was ok
it is fun
Anna Wallman
Nov 03, 2015 Anna Wallman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this was not at all my kind of book..
Oct 13, 2009 Kathy rated it did not like it
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.
Luciana Melo
Oct 30, 2015 Luciana Melo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: christie-read
Love is a burden. How depressing.

The best of the Westmacott novels, but still not as good as Christie's mysteries. Question though... why does everyone in her stories fall in love and marry people within a week of meeting them? Reality of the times or ridiculous plot device? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if that's worse than her stories where cousins marry each other.
Jun 15, 2013 France-Andrée rated it liked it
Shelves: relationships
This is the story of Laura and Shirley and how one sister can completely dictate the destiny of the other. Very good character development, there's nothing jaw dropping about the story, it felt plausible and it could really have happened to someone. I like the slow pace of the story; that's the thing about this book, it's not over dramatic, but it's very affecting.
Aug 18, 2015 Jean rated it liked it
I read this book some years ago and have just finished reading it again recently. While the book held my interest I thought that the plot was rambling and the various sections of it did not gel together very well. I think I prefer Agatha Christie's crime novels to this one which is billed as "A Novel of Romance and Suspense".
Oct 12, 2013 Natalia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
They say Agatha Christie believed that "The Burden" was her best book. I'm afraid I don't symphatise with her on this matter. I love Christie's crime novels and compared to them "The Burden" is a mediocre book. The first half of the book was quite good (3 stars), but then there was only a dissapointment.
Nov 11, 2012 Tripta rated it liked it
It's fascinating to read the "other" voice of Christie, as it were. I am a huge fan of her writing, and I enjoyed this book, though by way of plot this isn't the strongest or the best. I wonder how much of it is autobiographical (based on her first marriage to be particular)...
Cathy Houston
Jan 12, 2014 Cathy Houston rated it liked it
Almost a mystery story but not quite
Jul 15, 2012 Irissska rated it really liked it
It was a surprise, in the finest sense of the word, that Agatha C. wrote a novel so different from her crime stories. It was really interesting to read this book, and I liked that A.C managed to show how smb's love can be a real burden for the one who is being loved.
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