Thursday, April 9, 2015

A to Z April: H Reviews - Heaven (Casteel series #1) by V.C. Andrews

Today I've picked an oldie, but a goodie?  This is a series that I loved back in middle school.  No, I would never recommend for a middle schooler to read it now that I am an adult, but at the time, I guess my parents didn't realize what it was about.  You see they'd made me get rid of all my "romance" books, Sweet Valley High, Harlequin Teen series, etc.  But for some reason they didn't seem to care about me reading these V.C. Andrews books, guess maybe the size of them and the covers made them think they weren't romance.  The funny thing is that my mom wouldn't let me read her Stephen King books either until I was in high school.  If you've read any of the V.C. Andrews books you know there is incest, rape, or in this book it was a new adopted stepfather falling in love with Heaven, so maybe a Lolita type of story.  However I couldn't help but read these at the time, and other than those things, they were fascinating reads.  And back then, I didn't have tons of books to read, so I re-read a lot. And these books are ones that I read a lot while I waited for new books to come out or to have money to go buy new books.  I know what I've described will make a lot of people go ahead and stop reading now. But I will still share the blurb from Goodreads for this first book in the series.

Of all the folks in the mountain shacks, the Casteels were the lowest -- the scum of the hills.
Heaven Leigh Casteel was the prettiest, smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes and dirty face...despite a father meaner than ten vipers...despite her weary stepmother, who worked her like a mule. For her brother Tom and the little ones, Heaven clung to her pride and her hopes. Someday they'd get away and show the world that they were decent, fine and talented -- worthy of love and respect.
Then Heaven's stepmother ran off, and her wicked, greedy father had a scheme -- a vicious scheme that threatened to destroy the precious dream of Heaven and the children forever!

The other books in the series are Dark Angel, Fallen Hearts, Gates of Paradise, and Web of Dreams.  The last one is actually a prequel where we learn about Heaven's mother and how the whole story got started.  Now the big deal is that supposedly V.C. Andrews didn't actually write most of her books. That some manuscripts were found after she passed away and then they hired people to ghost write or finish them.  You can definitely tell from the books that are being cranked out under her name these days that is true. They are all so formulaic. And while these earlier, original series, like this one and the Flowers in the Attic series, as well as the book My Sweet Audrina, do all have similar elements, there is enough of a difference in them that I believe they were probably pretty well written by her before any ghost writers took over.

So, have you read any V.C. Andrews books?  Are you extremely offended that I would include a title like this on my blog?  So sorry for those of you who are!  Please forgive me and don't stop following, I love all of my followers!

And, of course, here is the giveaway for you to enter!

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