The care and passion that the author showed in this portrayal of familial and sisterly love was memorable. We see life from both Louisa's and May's perspectives from their poor beginnings to their achievements in the arts (writing and painting, respectively) to their trials of life and love. There is a deep seated mutual respect between the girls but to me, it was always bittersweet. Jealousy and in-content plagued them both night and day, day and night, year after year. They loved each other because only those you truly care about can get under your skin so badly, it just made for a less than tender affection between them. I really loved getting to know May and the final sacrifices at book's end truly finished shaping her character for me.
In conclusion, if you're going to embark on the journey, you better be in for the long haul. This isn't a read that can be raced through. It must be given time and understanding because only then can the light from within its pages shine through. Recommended for older teens through adults not due to any mischievous content (gasp...Julian sees her ankle!) but for appropriate interest levels and dedication to the story.