"Point of honor to bring her to tears before main course arrived"
Googled "wicked stepchildren" and a host of interesting results came up. This is my favorite one so far. She is writing as a stepchild who is now adult. She candidly states the only thing that made a stepmother successful--and she had a host of them--was her father putting the fear of god into her and her sister and throwing total support behind the woman. Further, she states he only did this for one woman and the rest she and her sister made a game of destroying and she thinks her dad secretly enjoyed the battles.
This little google adventure of mine was partly inspired by notsobad's recent blog about her experiences as a stepchild which resulted in an interesting discussion. So, thank you to notsobad.