This is one of those epic books that recounts several tragic generations family who lives in semi-seclusion. I think this must be a branch of gothic literature.
The first half of the book is about the elopement of 18-year old James Piper with 12-going-on-13 year old Materia, their early marriage, and their daughters. A slow horror disguised as love develops through this half of the book with a foreshadowing that seems more like being beaten over the head rather than suggestion. After a heart-rending, terrifyingly, creepy scene in the middle of the book the horror calms and pretends to disappear for a bit. The second half of the book focuses on James' and Materia's three younger daughters, Mercedes, Frances, and Lilly, and their relationships.
It's tough to say anything about this book. What happens in the book is so horrible but the way that it is portrayed in a slow dreamy manner steeped in forgiveness makes it a tough pill to take. I like my tragedy to come with the anger that I feel it deserves. Anyways, this is a well-written book and worth reading, I just don't think that I'll be rereading it.
I also just finished reading We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and the two books are sort of sitting in my head. Together they remind me of The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield. But once again I'm getting my orders confused, The Thirteenth Tale was written more recently than either book.