Browsing the shelves of the local second hand stores, I came across loads of paperback copies of V C Andrews books. I read Flowers In The Attic as a teen, and thought it might be fun (if reading VC Andrews can be called fun) to dip into one or two of her books.
Part of a longer saga about the Casteel family, this is the final book in a series of five, and is the prequel to the events that came in previous novels. At the opening of the story, Leigh, the daughter of a wealthy cruise ship line owner and an incredibly beautiful, calculating mother, turns 12. She’s a pretty, happy child, doted on by her parents, and surrounded by wealth and privilege. But Andrews never allows things to be happy for long… Divorce separates Leigh from her beloved father, and her mothers calculations mean they’re soon ensconced in the palatial Farthinggale Manor, home of her new stepfather Tony, rich beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. As her mother sinks into the luxurious life, Leigh finds herself pushed to spend time with her very strange stepfather.
If you’ve heard anything about VC Andrews, you’ll recognize certain motifs: young, innocent girl placed in a danger, madness, huge houses, incest, awful family secrets that tear people apart, forbidden love… It’s all very heightened, romantic, tragic, soap opera stuff. It’s not literature. But, … You actually can’t put it down. I have no idea why, but it’s somehow gripping stuff, even as it’s all so ridiculous and the events are so awful. Perhaps this kind of story was at it’s height in Flowers In The Attic, and I can recommend that book as being well written and horrifyingly tragic. I can recommend this one as being shocking, sad, tragic, awful, and for some reason awfully entertaining.
Read It If: If you like dark, tragic gothic romances, Game Of Thrones type plots, or soap operas, this book is definitely for you.