Dark Angel by V. C. Andrews

Book 7 in:

heavenicon21

Ah, V. C. Andrews. Nothing like killing some brain cells before starting Infinite Jest.

Dark Angel is the second in the Casteel series. It picks up where Heaven left off, with Heaven flying to Boston to meet her dead mother’s family. She dreams of a perfect family but is greeted by anything but. Her grandmother is desperately clinging to her youth, and insists that Heaven call her by her first name, Jillian, so no one discovers she is old enough to have a grandchild. Her grandfather had died, and she has a step-grandfather who wants to have a relationship with her but insists on a very strict set of rules, including never speaking to her WVA family again.

Heaven begins attending a local boarding school, staying there during the week and coming home on weekends. The other students are not very friendly towards her, so she looks forward to coming home on the weekends. Her grandparents are often traveling though, and Jillian ignores her when she is home, so she develops a friendship with her step-grandfather’s brother, Troy. (The family trees in these books get a little ridiculous at times.) This is something she was forbidden from doing by her grandparents so it must be kept a secret. She is further driven towards Troy when she tries to reconnect with her childhood love, Logan, and is rejected again for being a slutty slut slut and sleeping with Cal Dennison (in the previous book). (That Logan is a swell guy. Heaven eventually realizes that he only likes her when he can rescue her, but this doesn’t ever make her stop running to him.) By the time she graduates from high school, Heaven is head over heels for Troy, and after spending several romantic days together, they end up in bed.

Of course, they immediately decide to marry, like you do, and break the news to her step-grandfather Tony. He’s actually excited, and Heaven decides that before she marries, she needs to see all her siblings again. She flies off to visit Keith and Our Jane, who have a meltdown when they see her and claim to not know her. She then goes to see Tom, who is working for a circus with her father. This depresses her and she runs off to see Fanny. Fanny is basically a hooker, and just wants Heaven to give her money and get her baby back. So Heaven returns to WVA to try to get Fanny’s baby. This doesn’t go well, and she tries to return to her family’s old cabin to check on her grandfather. Her car breaks down in a storm, and Logan magically appears to rescue her. They reach the cabin, which has been rebuilt into a nice and sturdy house. Heaven is suddenly struck with a terrible illness, and Logan spends days nursing her back to health in the house while waiting for the storm to pass.

Eventually, Heaven is able to return home and step-grandfather Tony is angry with her for abandoning Troy. Tony then reveals to her that years ago, he repeatedly raped her mother and Heaven is actually the product of the rape and not a Casteel at all. This also means she cannot marry Troy, who is now her uncle. (V. C. Andrews loves the uncle/niece love.) Grandma Jillian is the one to break the news to Troy, who leaves town with a broken heart.

Time moves uneventfully as it does in V. C. Andrews’ books when she wants to just get to the point of someone being a certain age. Jillian lost her mind when Heaven confronted her about letting Tony repeatedly rape her mother, so now it’s just Heaven and Tony hanging out when she isn’t attending college. He tries to be all fatherly to her and takes her on lots of trips. During one summer, he brings Keith and Our Jane to the mansion, with their adoptive parents. It turns out that Troy wrote to the adoptive parents and revealed that Heaven is rich now and just wants to know her siblings, not take them away. Money changes everything, of course, and now everyone is friends. Heaven is touched that Troy did that for her and wishes she knew where he was.

Eventually she graduates from college and heads out alone on some random trip. When she returns home, Tony tells her that Troy returned home while she was gone, but died when a horse he was riding freaked out and rode him into the sea. At this, Heaven decides to return to her hometown in WVA and become a teacher. When she learns that her Casteel Pa’s circus is in town, she dyes her hair to better resemble her dead mother, and puts on an old outfit of her mother’s. She visits the circus, and when Pa sees her, he thinks he is seeing a ghost and freaks out. This causes some chaos in the circus ring, which results in a lion mauling her brother Tom to death. Poor Tom. Grandpa kicks the bucket soon after, and Heaven is left with good ol’ Logan, who loves her again since she’s needy. They reunite and decide to marry.

End of Dark Angel, which I’ve read was the last book in the Casteel series that Andrews actually wrote. The weird obsession she has with rape and incest is present in this book. Heaven also fixates on Our Jane’s breasts when she sees her, much like Cathy did with Cindy in Seeds of Yesterday. I still find this creepy.

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