V. C. Andrews [also published as Virginia Andrews]
The Heavenstone Secrets (Heavenstone, Book 1)
Simon & Schuster (US & CA: 29th December 2009; AU: 1st March 2010; UK: 9th May 2013)
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Usually with VCA villains, we learn what triggers their tyranny and understand why they become…well, who/what they become.
Cassie Heavenstone is a different kettle of fish. We learn her trigger (her mother, Arianna’s, pregnancy), but we don’t understand her motives. What makes her put her father, Teddy, above everyone else – psychotically so?
Cassie’s crimes (SPOILERS APLENTY):
-Shaming of women who get pregnant aged 40+ (including Arianna)
-Unconfirmed, but she may have had a hand in causing the miscarriage
-Blames Arianna for selfishly getting pregnant, and her age endangering the foetus
-Murders Arianna; disguises it as suicide
-Wants Teddy to be drunk every night
-Uses her sister, Semantha’s, menstrual cycle to her own advantage
-Gets Semantha terribly drunk
-Sanctions/encourages a carefully chosen individual to rape unconscious-by-booze Semantha
-Pays a doctor (fake doctor?) to convince Semantha she has pseudocyesis
-Confirms the pregnancy when it’s too late to abort
Imagine how worse Cassie would’ve been if she’d discovered Semantha carried a baby girl, instead of a heralded boy…
Apparently this book has a sequel, but it works fine as a standalone. I doubt we’ll learn anything new in Secret Whispers, but I’d be happy to be surprised.