It is a compliment to Gregory's writing talent to say that I found the main character so unsympathetic as to make the book difficult to read. Gregory skillfully takes us inside the clever mind of a cold-hearted, obsessed young woman, Beatrice Lacey, who has set her cap on one thing and one thing alone. Putting aside the themes of incest and violence, Beatrice Lacey is, in a word, psychopathic. Her utter lack of conscience, her grasping greed, and her inability to love others are her main traits. These traits also bring about her downfall, but only after about 600 pages of distasteful conduct. Nevertheless, I kept reading, as Gregory's depiction of life in Georgian England is richly drawn with lots of interesting detail. I can't say that I enjoyed this book, but I couldn't fail to finish it.