Initially slow moving book with the entertainment in subtle observation - may, gently, prepare children for Jane Austin in this respect.
Second half speeds up as a gothic horror. As with the best horror; the possible supernatural element is left veiled.
Plot turns half way on an apparent suicide of a major character - may distress some.
The novel is set in the wake of Darwin's publication - though it isn't a major feature, it won't sit well with any 'Creationists' out there.
There is a scene of rat-baiting.
Several characters are assumed to be having affairs.
There is a hint that two minor characters are in a lesbian relationship, though it could go unnoticed by children.
There is a scene with a character apparently intoxicated on opium. The child deliberately invests a mind altering substance. In all cases the effect is painted as undesirably unpleasant.
I let this book sit on my mind for a day before deciding it would be great for my bright twelve-year-old, if we read it together first time; and an entertaining diversion for my fifteen-year-old.
This title contains:
Positive role models