I began reading this book as I was revising for my exams. Bad move. This is one of those very few books which make you shudder with fear, laugh with joy, and the next moment cry with despair. The way MacDonald plays with words is extraordinary, and moves the story so close to you that you end up engrossed in the lives of this doomed family. The characters are both utterly unbelievable, and at the same time, so very, very real. It is a book that moves you as you read it, more so than most other books I have read. I would like to join another reviewer, and express my gratefulness to the author: This is really a great piece of literature. When it comes to rating this book with crowns, I have no choice but to give it 5 crowns. It is that good, even though the top-/bottom-ratings are overused. But nevermind that, simply read this book and find out for yourself. You deserve to read this great a story, and the sisters deserve to have their story told, and read.