Dark Angel is the second novel in the five part Casteel family series. However this gothic horror tale can be enjoyed as a stand alone book.
17 year old Heaven Leigh Casteel goes to live with her paternal grandmother Gillian and her younger husband, the wealthy and distinguished Tony Tatterton, head of the successful Tatterton Toys empire. Heaven is determined to triumph above her poor, hillbilly roots in West Virginia and make a success of herself in Boston. Despite the beautiful mansion, trips to the most exclusive boutiques and access to all the trappings that money can buy, Heaven finds herself bored and lonely trapped within the walls of the gothic-like, Victorian style mansion of Farthingale Manor. Deciding to explore the maze outside in the gardens one cold day, Heaven finds herself outside a tiny cottage that looks like a toy house from a children’s book. She lets herself in and meets Troy, Tony’s younger, loner brother who prefers to make toys rather than deal with people. Reluctantly Troy allows Heaven into his life and they begin a bittersweet romance with far reaching consequences.
As a fan of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind, I was happy to give the Casteel series a chance and am glad I did. Heaven is an emotionally starved girl yearning for love and acceptance having endured nothing but hardship and betrayal throughout her childhood and adolescence. The tentative relationship between Heaven and Troy is thrilling to read as is the disturbing controlling nature of Tony over all those in his life. As with all of Andrews’ books, disturbing elements of incest linger beneath the surface so when the big reveal comes about, the reader is not entirely surprised.
I first read this book in my early teens and am happy to report that my most recent reading of it hasn’t diminished my enjoyment. The one factor that irks me is the continuity errors in the book, particularly in relation to Heaven’s age which changes from seventeen, to sixteen and back again. I remember being annoyed by this many years ago and this error was once again glaringly obvious. Dark Angel is an exciting tale of psychological terror and rousing romance owing to Andrews’ ability to evoke an ongoing sense of both dread and hopefulness in the reader.
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