This book is the offspring of the Brontes, Cinderella, and the work of H.C. Andersen. A good dose of Rebecca is added to the mix.
It is a very gothic novel. Perfectly suited to Masterpiece.
It is a very frustrating book.
Helga is a child of mysterious circumstances and eventually finds herself married to her childhood love, Daniel, who despite his family history seems to be the brother of Heathcliff. He is a fairy tale beast who seems destined to stay a beast in nature if not in looks.
The writing style is gripping; the characters not so much. Bombal’s description of Helga’s wedding night is absolutely heart-wrenching. Yet because of Helga’s stupidity (admittedly, this aspect of her character is accounted for) and Daniel’s cruelty, one doesn’t care about their relationship while being convinced that they are perfect for each other simply because no one else will have them.
It is the atmosphere that sells this novel – not the plot or the characters. I’m not upset I read it. It is a quick read and the writing style is great, but I can’t really recommend it.