Of all of the Gothic novels I’ve ever read, this one is quintessentially the most Gothic of them all. Elegantly written, bold in its assumptions, and stirring up controversy as fast as you can read it, this book is in no uncertain terms the writer’s equivalent to giving the finger to precepts of organized religion (especially Catholicism), playing up on themes of sex, temptation, corruption, destruction, and my personal favorite one: hypocrisy. In it’s time, it was quite scandalous; by today’s standards… maybe not quite so much, but it still has bite. It’s violent. It’s disturbing on mental and emotional levels. There is absolutely no subtlety. But then again, it is a Gothic novel, so what else is expected?