V.C. Andrews builds intriguing characters and a distinctive setting in Ruby. While the use of figurative language comes off as cheesy, it does allow the reader to get a glimpse of Ruby's artistic side. She sees the beauty and intrigue in many ordinary objects.
Ruby does have her faults though. She has very selfish thoughts and does not think about decisions before making them. She constantly uses her naivety as an excuse. Instead of making her appear innocent, it makes her seem stupid.
Of all the series written by Andrews and her ghost writer, I find the Landry Series to be my favorite. The setting is desirable and the characters, at times one-dimensional, do have some interesting characteristics. The culture of New Orleans is intriguing, though stereotypically portrayed in the book. The portrayal of voodoo in the story comes off as false and one-dimensional. It does not appear that the ghost writer, Andrew Neiderman, did much research about voodoo culture.
The gothic elements of the novel are great. The darkness that seems to be following Ruby is relevant and foreshadows events that occur later in the series. Ruby's grandmother adds a great deal to the gothic element of the book, because she is a Cajun traiteur. In the first chapter, she helps release a stillborn baby's ghost, which Ruby feels and sees.
Beau Andreas is an unlikable boyfriend for Ruby, and it does not help that the juxtaposition between him and Paul is quite clear. Beau is forceful in his relationship and he doesn’t quite seem to understand why Ruby might not want to jump into something so soon with her twin’s ex-boyfriend. Whereas Paul was gentle, caring and forbidden, Beau is available, desperate, and demanding.
In comparison to the original works by Andrews, the writing in this particular case is weak and lacks some of the emotional connection with the reader. The best reason to read this book is to experience the culture of Ruby's Cajun roots.