I originally thieved the Casteel Series from my old Roommate Michelle, when we parted ways with a hodge podge of one another's things. The Casteel Series by V.C. Andrews was luckily shoved in a set of drawers that came home with me. This was another set of books that I wasn't anxious to read, after having read Flowers in the Attic back in middle school, but eventually lack of new reading material ended up tossing me into it.
I will say first off that I wouldn't recommend this series for children- save it for the older adults. This was the last series that V.C. Andrews wrote herself before her untimely death, and because of that her usual themes are intense as ever. Just so you know, she's known for her morbidity and use of incestuous sub plot- so if you're alright delving into that, then by all means.
The series follows the life of a young girl named Heaven, who is forced to become the sole provider for her four siblings and elderly grandparents, after her step mother dies and father abandons them. She learns that she is the daughter of her father's first love, when her grandmother gives her a beautiful doll in a wedding dress that is an exact replica of her mother. Learning of this, Heaven reignites aspirations of becoming a school teacher to improve their situation, manages to keep the children in school, and even catches the eye of an admirer. Things are rough, but she shows stability and inner strength, managing to keep everything going- that is until her father reappears and begins to sell her and her siblings.
Through a series of heart breaks, literal torture, and the need to escape and buy her family back, you're left wondering at every single one of Heaven's emotional moves. Half the time you're so flabbergasted by her decisions, that you have to really examine yourself and ask if you would do the same thing in her shoes, which is the genius of the novels. But even through her crazy choices, you become extremely emotionally attached to her, and her journey is a long and twisted one you can't seem to escape from until the last page is turned.
“You are the most dangerous kind of female the world can ever know. You carry the seeds for your own destruction and the destruction of everyone who loves you. And a great many will love you for your beautiful face for your seductive body; but you will fail them all because you will believe they all fail you first. You are an idealist of the worst kind - the romantic idealist. Born to destroy and self destruct."
— V.C. Andrews
The Casteel Series is a heart wrencher. It's full of scenarios that you never see coming, full of unfortunate events, and V.C. Andrews is wise in that she allows us only a taste of happiness and relief- before snatching it away and dangling it in front of our noses to chase through the pages. The books never let you become comfortable. Don't get attached to characters, don't get attached to places, and always expect the unexpected.
There are so many strange and tangled plot twists, so many tragedies, and so many ways the author toys with you- that the books are literally painful to get through. Luckily though, they are painful in a very good way.
If you are looking for something different, that pushes boundaries, and drags you through an intense emotional roller coaster- the Casteel Series is perfect.
It's not your average, run of the mill, 'and they lived happily ever after' novel. It's dark, it's moody, and it'll take you places you'd never think to go otherwise.