I'm disappointed in you, Andrews!
Unlike most of V.C. Andrews staples, and the precedent Flowers in the Attic set, this book lacks in the incest department. However, this has all the other hallmarks of a V.C. Andrews works- a family saga, an underprivileged girl from a distant privileged background, a doomed love story, a distant father, a complex relationship with a mother, and so on. There is some form of incest (after all, this is Andrews), but it's of the adoptive parent kind. Heaven is raped repeatedly by her adoptive father, Cal, although she doesn't fully recognise it (which I'll get to soon), and Fanny reveals that she is having her adoptive father's baby, her adoptive father being a reverend no less.
I will momentarily praise Andrews for writing Heaven's reaction to her repeated rape in a somewhat believable manner. Heaven is desperate for the love of a parent all throughout the book. Her grandparents loved her- and I believe her grandfather was belittled and abused by his son for so long that he no loner stood up to him, even when he was selling his children off- but she longed for a parental figure. I think Sarah appreciated her more than loved her, but I do sense some kind of care there. But then there was Kitty and Cal. Cal showed Heaven everything Kitty wouldn't, and the rest of the adult figures in her life didn't. She wanted love, and with that, kind, physical attention and touch. After being beaten and abused by Kitty, Cal's kind touch would have been a blessing, even though he had other intentions. Heaven knew what was going on was wrong, but she accepted it. This doesn't mean she wanted it, and it's said again and again she knew it was wrong, but she accepted it because she thought it meant Cal loved her. It's only at the end that she finally realises he doesn't, and he's just using her. Cal is a grey character. I refuse to believe he's meant to be seen as a villain in the end, but he's not an all-round nice guy.
As far as rating this book goes, it's V.C. Andrews. It's not fine literature, and my copy was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors (including here instead of hear), and as always, the characters speak in an overly-floral manner. And the prose isn't as purple as it is Flowers in the Attic, as well, which was a welcome surprise. In short, it's trash, but it's the better side of trash. If you've read Andrews before, you'll know what to expect.
Overall enjoyable, I'm ashamed to say.