Dragonwyck is a difficult book to LIKE. And yet its very good. I'm in a quandry...
5 star writing skills
3 star enjoyment
Rounded off to 4 stars
a nutshell, a country girl has high aspirations and jumps at the chance
to leave the farm for an extended visit at her cousin Nicholas' vast
estate. (I thought Miranda was much like Hettie from Adam Bede
) Of course, she doesn't know her cousin Nicholas at all; nor does she
understand why his corpulent wife, Johanna would rather bury herself in
teacakes and pastries than cross him. All she sees is his godlike
attributes, magnetism and charm. So when Nicholas' wife, Johanna
suddenly dies from 'acute gastritis', Miranda slides right into his
arms. And wakes up in a nightmare...
Its important to understand
from the get go that Nicholas is not the hero. He is a sociopath/
egomaniac. ( Think Wolf Larsen, Captain Ahab or even Ted Bundy). So he's
not swoonworthy; however, he IS one of the main characters so you see a
lot of him. And I was ready to get shed of him much sooner than was
the case! But you know, that in itself was skilful writing because the
reader could genuinely enter into the heroine's world and feel what she
For those of us who have a
hard time understanding why someone stays in an abusive relationship
instead of 'just leaving ', this book opens our eyes to what
manipulation really is. How background plays a part (in both the victim
and the abuser), how an abusive person 'recognizes ' their next victim,
and how the web is spun so expertly that the victim hardly knows they're
caught until theyre stunned powerless to fight...
And I suppose
its knowing that there's really people like this that takes it out of
the realm of what I would term enjoyable "escapism fiction".
SEX : None shown to reader explicitly but marital rape is obviously an issue on several occasions.
VIOLENCE: domestic violence shown mostly in the form of mental intimidation and physical domination.
PROFANITY : Very mild
ELEMENTS : laughing and piano playing is heard by two characters on
different occasions when no one else heard it. Whether it was mental
illness or ghosts is not clarified.
MY RATING : Strong PG or mild PG-13