Heaven, the first book in the Casteel family series written by Virginia Andrews was published in 1985 before the death of Virginia Andrews, who fell victim to Breast Cancer in 1986. Heaven is the second novel series written by Virginia Andrews and follows the life of Heaven Leigh Casteel, a young girl who is raised in the Willies by a poor family in a dilapidated shack. Her father Luke Casteel is a handsome, yet abusive man and her step-mother Sarah is a harsh woman driven mad and hateful by her husbands neglect and abuse. Sarah soon leaves her young children to fend for themselves after the birth of her stillborn child and her mother in law Annie. Heaven is then left in charge of her four younger siblings and her ageing grandfather. Luke Casteel continues to dart in and out in the story, leaving to chase women and dangerous jobs, returning only to bring food just in time before his children starved to death.
Heaven Leigh Casteel manages to find love in this dark, twisted story but is soon faced with losing her brothers and sisters as one by one they are sold by Luke Casteel to those in need of children, or slaves. Heaven is soon sold to a new family and things begin to look up for her, but she soon finds that the wealthy life she is sold into is no better then her life in the Willies. After a series of tragic and page turning events, Heaven finds herself in the Boston airport, seeking out her biological grandparents and a better life.
I was filled with reservation towards Heaven, unsure if I could go from the Dollenganger series and into the Casteel series. I started reading Flowers in the Attic when I was about fifteen and from there I finished Petals on the Wind and got half way through If There Be Thorns, a painful book to read which is unfortunate considering my love for her other books. When I was presented with Heaven I was unsure, after indulging in the Dollenganger family series it can be hard to transition into another family. Despite my reservations I turned the cover page and began to enter into the world of Heaven. Throughout reading this book I found myself intrigued by her world and I truly felt like what happened to Heaven Leigh Casteel was indeed happening to me. As a result I found myself hating who she hated, loving who she loved and crying when she cried. Virgnia Andrews descriptive writing is truly captivating and really brings your into her books and surround you with all the feelings and emotions felt by the protagonist. If you’re looking for an investment, more then just entertainment, then I strongly suggest you get your hands on Heaven, it is so far, one of my favourite books by Virginia Andrews, may she Rest In Peace.