Last time on this horrible book, Cecily is now pregnant from being raped. Rhine grudgingly acknowledges that maybe Cecily is deserving of slight sympathy, then goes back to explaining that the real issue is Cecily not being properly fawning toward the servants and also she’s so whiny just because she’s scared she’ll die! It’s so hard being Rhine and having to put up with this.
The rapist is happy she’s pregnant, so he unlocks the floor and lets them out.
She spends her days wandering the garden, but she can’t find the way out and just ends up back at the mansion. I’m finding it harder and harder to believe she actually wants to escape.
She thinks about her dad talking of his childhood and going to a carnival with a house of mirrors. Apparently, there are no carnivals or house of mirrors things in the current day.
He said that the house always looked like it went on forever, that it was infinite, when from the outside it was really as small as a tool shed. The trick was looking past the illusion, because the exit was never as far as it seemed.
So she tries to channel his spirit and do that. It’s a shame her dad was a city boy, because there’s a far easier solution. Let me explain.
Is the sun currently right above you? If yes, it’s noon.
If not, was the sun right above you earlier? If yes, it’s afternoon. Your shadow is pointing in the opposite direction it as in the morning.
If not, it’s morning. Your shadow is pointing the opposite direction as it does in the afternoon.
Go outside. Use your shadow to make sure you’re going in as straight a line as possible. If you left in the morning, sit and wait when it’s noon, then remember your shadow has reversed when using it as a guide for the rest of the afternoon.
You will probably not be able to go straight, but using your shadow you should be able to tell the difference between heading sideways or backward, so you at least won’t get so turned around you accidentally end up picking your way back to the house.
In the event the place is a ludicrously twisty maze, which I doubt because it’d be a chore for the men and they prefer the women’s imprisonment to not inconvenience them, bring a pad of paper and start making a map. If you can’t do that, then remember the simplest way to solve a maze is to follow one wall. It won’t be the shortest path, but you’ll see every bit of the maze’s far wall. Either there’s a way out, or at least you’ll know for sure you’ll have to push through a wall to keep going.
For advanced travelers, pay attention to any slight gaps in the hedge walls, particularly when you can’t find the other side of them. It’s quite likely the hedges mark the boundaries of the property. With this in mind, it’s best to focus your efforts anywhere other than the rose gardens. You want the least painful hedges to crawl through. Listen for any cars.
Climbing a tree may seem like an obvious option, but don’t, because it’s also going to be obvious to anyone watching. It’s unlikely any tree will get you high enough to see past the all the groves of other trees. Rhine is several stories up and can’t see any sign of the end from her window.
This is without getting into the fact that there are apparently trucks making deliveries, which means there’s a road out. She claims there’s no road right by the house or sign of tire tracks, but if she gets far enough out and just circles the area she should run into it. If there’s a particular area she can’t reach because of how the garden’s set up, that’s where it must be. Crawl through the hedges there.
I’ve never been good at solving puzzles; my brother is the one who solved the Rubik’s Cube on the first try. He’s the one who took an interest in the science of things, asking our father questions about the destroyed countries while I was busy admiring the pictures.
I don’t think why the ignorant protagonist is such a favorite. People who like to solve puzzles are annoyed by a protagonist overlooking the obvious, people who don’t like to solve puzzles usually do like someone else solving them. This is also yet another thing for her brother to be awesome compared to her – she seems to have no traits of her own but the fact she’s pretty, and even then, her brother has the same eyes.
And no one who has a Rubik’s cube in their house can claim they’ve never played any games.
When she gets sick of looking for a way out, she swims in the pool and plays mini-golf and tennis.
She also hangs out in the kitchen because she has access to the candy there, having still not realized she can ask for the damn stuff.
cooks talk about the weather and how they’d like to serve the bratty little bride a dirty sock. Gabriel, as good-natured as he is, agrees that Cecily has been particularly awful lately.
Gabriel isn’t good-natured, and I hate all these people so much.
The rapist feels bad he’s “neglecting” his other two victims, so he says he’ll get them something.
I almost ask for a crate of June Beans, because I heard the kitchen staff complaining about early-morning deliveries, and since then I’ve been fantasizing about escaping on a delivery truck. But then I think of all the progress I’ve made earning Linden’s trust, and how easily it would be destroyed if I were caught
So she asks for a trampoline.
I guessed this earlier, that she’d spend most of her time sitting quietly. The book seems to present this straight, as if of course this is the only way to deal with things. She doesn’t even try to ask for something that might help. The book claims she’s been thinking about the trucks, but this is actually the first time it’s come up. It’s very clear the author doesn’t want her to escape and has no interest in the subject, because it’s one of the various things that keep getting handled in this after-the-fact manner.
(The June Beans idea is also idiotic because there’s still a crate of them down there, so the staff would just start bringing her those.)
She and Jenna play on it, and Jenna asks if he’s been in her bed recently, and Rhine says no.
“Rhine?” she says. “When he came to you, it wasn’t .. . for children.”
I was mentioning earlier that getting someone pregnant and actually fucking them don’t need to go hand in hand. I think this is just being used in an euphemistic sense, really – I mean, this is a word where “consummate” is considered unbearably crass – but it’s still bad because it’s trying to distract from the fact he’s doing it because he wants to.
Rhine asks if he’s gone to Jenna. She says yes.
This surprises me. I think back to Jenna’s reliable morning routine of taking tea in the library and burying her nose in romance novels. There hasn’t been a single morning when she has seemed rumpled or out of sorts, especially not the way Cecily was.
That’s what’s confusing Rhine, not the fact Jenna said she’d sooner die, just that she doesn’t seem properly shamed and broken.
“What was it like?” I ask, and immediately a hot blush spreads across my face.
These books are indescribably vile.
Jenna is all “eh”. “He kept asking if I was okay. Like he thought I’d break or something.” She laughs a little at the thought. “If I was going to break, he wouldn’t be the one to do it.”
Then Rhine thinks about how she’s a nervous virgin and how The very thought of Linden kissing me sets my nerves on edge, puts my stomach in knots. but she’s totally fine with him sleeping in her bed and nuzzling her because those things aren’t sexual at all. So she switches the topic to why has Jenna changed her mind on the hating thing?
Jenna says she still hates him. “I’ve hated all of them. But this is the world we live in.”
See, she’s already a slut, so it’s okay. Only Rhine needs special protection from this, because she still has her virginity and something to actually lose.
Rhine doesn’t get it, and then Jenna’s surprised to realize Rhine’s a virgin. “How were you earning money?”
How were you, Jenna? Prostitution usually happens when there’s more workers than jobs, so women can’t get regular employment but have to get their money from employed men. That requires a population boom. Starving kids and a tiny handful of wealthy rapists who buy their own wives isn’t going to provide much employment.
I think of all the girls who dance in the park at New Year’s parties, how some of them will slip into a car with a wealthy first generation.
There aren’t many of those. It’s clear that, though it makes no sense, plenty of first gens have menial positions stripping sheets.
Although…hm. All the first gen servants we’ve seen have been women. So maybe women can’t get normal employment but any first gen men are wealthy. Not that it’d make the slightest bit of sense that way either, but it might be the idea.
And all the brothels in the scarlet district with blacked-out windows.
But those are full of kidnapped girls, remember?
God this setting makes no fucking sense.
Rhine says she thought that the orphanages gave them enough, which is totally irrelevant to the fact she’s saying she saw that plenty of girls were prostituting themselves so it shouldn’t be a shock that a girl was prostituting herself. There’s the horrible sense that what she’s really saying is “But you don’t seem like a filthy whore who has sex for fun, and I thought all prostitutes were like that.”
In my mind Jenna begins to materialize in a new light. But I don’t judge her. I don’t blame her. Like she said, it’s the world we live in.
Oh, good, as long as she had no choice you’ll forgive her for sleeping around. How progressive of you.
Also, and this is even worse, I think – Jenna is not confused she’s a virgin, she’s confused Rhine hasn’t had sex for money. Because there’s no other reason it’d be weird a girl with four years to live would never have had sex or even kissed someone before. Both of them agree that sex is not something women do willingly.
“If you hate him so much, why not refuse? Linden is so mild, I can’t imagine him forcing himself on any of us.”
Well, he obviously had no problem with the kidnapping thing, or imprisoning you. So he clearly doesn’t have much investment in consent.
Also, look at the word choice. Not getting raped isn’t an issue of decency, it’s an issue of aggression.
Not kicking puppies isn’t impressive. Not kicking puppies because you’re too lazy manages to be even less so.
And right after saying that she says she’s worried the rapist hasn’t been “pressed the issue”.
Has he sensed my hesitation and allowed me the luxury of time? How long before his patience is gone?
1) Rhine is fine with being fucked by her owner who murdered a dozen other girls, she’s just a bit jittery about her first time.
2) Not raping her immediately is a luxury because he’s so nice.
3) You can’t not have sex, he gets that by right so if you refuse eventually he’ll lose “patience” and rape you anyway.
But back to Jenna. Jenna, it turns out, hasn’t even been technically consenting due to being too depressed to fight about it. She’s actually doing it because she’s terrified the rapist’s dad will do something worse to her. And agreeing because of a threat is, and I realize this is hard to apparently very hard to remember but I swear it’s true, not consent. The only thing that can be said about this is that the rapist isn’t aware he’s raping his older wife as well as the younger one, and it’s not clear he’d care.
Jenna, what has Housemaster Vaughn done to you? But I’m too afraid of the answer. The image of Rose’s hand under that sheet sends a cold ripple up my spine.
There are ugly, dangerous things lurking beneath the beauty of this mansion.
There’s also the child rape thing right in the open. And all that murder. And the fact you’re imprisoned slaves. But hey, keep whining about OMGGGGGGGGGG dissection is ICKYYYYYYYYY why won’t someone think of LINDEN-CHAAAAAAAAAAAAN and how he deserves to do whatever he wants with Rose’s dead body just like her living one!