I was captivated by this book from the beginning. Everyone who loves books should read the first two or three chapters for this is written by a woman who loves the written word. The writing is exquisite, the descriptions bring you into the world she has created. It has been a long time since I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish a book.
So, why can I not completely recommend it? I do for most people, for it is truly a wonderful book. However, it is a Gothic style mystery and it does deal with very dark issues. There were a couple chapters that I found to be very dark and difficult to get through but they are necessary to understand the tragic background of the girls born into this family.
I give it three teacups out of four, not for a lack of quality (indeed, it is truly one of the best books I have ever read) but it is not for the fainthearted or those not wanting to read subject matters involving dark sins of the soul and body (albeit not explicit and much is implied). The very way the author wraps up most loose ends in the final chapters gives more proof that she is, indeed, a fan of good novels, herself.
I found myself thinking of the story as I went about my normal household duties. That is the sign of good writing.