Although graphic and explicit at times this is nevertheless a compelling Victorian gothic style novel. A gloomy winter countryside is the atmospheric setting for a story of increasing intrigue and suspicions with lurid letters and gruesome acts culminating in a particularly nasty murder.
To my horror I saw a sheep lying on its side with blood spattered across its body and over the grass around it. It was feebly kicking its legs in what looked like a mild protest at what was happening. I now realised that the boy was not just hitting it but stabbing it with a knife - raising his arm and thrusting it down into its belly with all his strength. There was a long slash from its neck down its front from which unimaginable things were bulging. I felt dizzy with the horror of it.