This is a captivating saga of greed, jealousy and over-weening ambition, against a backdrop of the rich folk who live on the hill and their grindingly poor neighbours who live below.
It begins in 1916 with triplets born to a teenage mother in the shanty town at the foot of the hill. Triplets are hardly a common occurrence and they quickly become ten minute celebrities. The gifts and money come flying in - for a short while. The father is in his element - money means booze. He is angry when it dries up but there is light at the end of the tunnel for him: one of the babies' admirers remains true and she is a duchess from the top of the hill. She wants to adopt the triplets and offers cash incentives. Their young mother, Ermel is not too happy and finds a way to hang on to one of her babies, Dorethea.
Whilst her sisters are brought up in luxury and with love, Dorethea can only watch from her squalor at the foot of the hill. It soon becomes clear that Ermel did not hang onto Dorethea from love but more out of a desire to bester the Duchess and her greedy husband. She does not even offer her daughter a mother's love and Dorethea has nothing in the face of her two identical sisters who seem to have it all.
This is in part Dorethea's story and the effect no love and malice born of envy can twist a life. But it also a saga of families, of money corrupting and how easy it is to know the cost of everything and the value of little. It is a well written tale with its twists and turns and the characters are well developed with the individualism of the triplets shining through. These are all people you want to know more of as you become fascinated by their lives.
My one criticism is the character of Dorethea becomes perhaps a little larger than life as the story moves towards its awful crescendo.