Causing mirth and sneering
It isn't often that one reads a children's book that begins with a dwarf losing his virginity to a witch; still less that it should continue to include incest and rape [etc. etc. mirthful plot summary of the 'Her father dies (phew!)' kind] Underneath all this is an involving, if protracted, fable about the loss of innocence and the need to face up to the horrors of everyday life. Go deeper still, and you'll find Hardy, Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell—authors who love putting their heroines through the mill in order to find redemption. This supposedly original mishmash is actually a competent pastiche of a good old-fashioned Victorian novel. Adventurous teenagers, if they can cope with 'Goodwifes' and 'womanwards' and unconvincing rural dialect, may love it.So pleased, to be a writer of a competent pastiche!
More convincing is Jeanette Winterson's Battle of the Sun...
*gives rhinoceros-hide a bit of a scratch*