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Flowers In The Attic by V. C. Andrews

Flowers In The Attic

by V. C. Andrews

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dollanganger Series (1)

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    The Girl In The Lighthouse by Roxane Tepfer Sanford (LauraT81)
    LauraT81: If you enjoy V.C. Andrews then you'll love The Girl In The Lighthouse.

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Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

Money is what makes the world go round, or at least that’s what Corrine Dollanganger told her four children when they had to leave their house for foreclosure after her husband’s death, and return to her childhood home. She promised the children that, because of her father’s lack of knowledge of their existence, they would only have to be locked in a small room and an attic for a few days to a week at most, until she could find a way to tell him. Months turned into years, and the children grew up to resent their mother and grandmother, and form a new family in this Gothic horror.

This is a book that many people read when in their young teens; which I didn’t learn until after I had already read it. For whatever reason this slipped under my radar as a child, and personally I am glad, as this is a pretty heavy book to read.

That isn’t to say that this is a bad book by any means. Actually, it’s one that I enjoyed immensely, though I wonder what that says about me as a person. This book has a plot like a train wreck; I wanted to look away and go back to reading the comfy cozy mysteries, but I couldn’t stop turning the pages! There are, of course, some difficult topics in the book. Incest, for one; some in the past and some in the present. Rape and abuse are present, though there isn’t anything too graphic, at least so it isn’t stomach turning in that respect. There are some grotesque descriptions of things, but at the same time it is told from the viewpoint of Cathy, a twelve-year-old girl – at least in the beginning of the novel.

Tiptoeing over the difficult topics, what lies underneath, is actually a critique of how children respond to media and the ideas of the adult world without proper guidance. Cathy and Chris adopt the roles of parents easily enough, but when it comes to other things they have to rely on television and books to grasp ideas. Their grandmother is incredibly strict and forces the children to follow rules to lead them on the morally correct path, but the idea ultimately pushes them into the same situation they were in with their mother; locked up with nothing but questions, and wondering what the correct answers could be without any guidance.

The characters were eerily good. From the calculating mother, to the impenetrable grandmother, and children begging to be noticed, we get a wonderful piece that analyzes human interactions with characters that, while they may not grow very much, definitely fit their roles in the story. There isn’t a character who is superfluous, as far as I can tell, and Andrews doesn’t waste our time introducing new characters without any meaning.

The plot is well formed, and leaves the reader in suspense, although enough hints are dropped that one can figure out how it will end before it does. What I liked, though, was that I could know the ending and still enjoy the twists and turns as though I hadn’t known they were coming.

If this is a book you read in your younger years, I’d recommend giving it another look. If, like me, you never had a chance or desire to read this as a kid, I would definitely recommend giving it a try. It is a good thrill of a book, especially for people who, like me, shy away from such things.

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
One of my favorite books. I have read it again and again. ( )
  nandamom74 | Mar 17, 2016 |
One of my ultimate favorite books ever. It was the first adult horror novel I had ever read and instantly fell in love with VC Andrews' writing. The depth of her characters and truly twisted story has never left me. I have since read every novel written by her (and her ghost writer). She is the original queen of horror. Highly recommend. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
Facing financial destitution, Corinne decides to move herself and her children back to Foxworth Hall, her family home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Corinne begins to write letters to her mother, Olivia, persuading her to let her and the children stay in the giant mansion. Corinne tells the children that her parents are very rich, but were upset with Corinne for an unexplained reason and so she had not seen them in years. She also relates that their grandfather is dying and if Corrine can earn back her father's love then the children can live a life of riches. Olivia agrees to Corinne's wishes as long as the children are hidden; she does not want their grandfather, Malcolm, to know about them. Corrine and her children move out of Gladstone without a goodbye to any friends and take a train to her parents' mansion. They are dropped off by the train in the middle of nowhere and end up walking to Foxworth Hall.

When the children are settled into a small room below the attic, Corinne leaves with her mother and promises to return the next day after she has spoken with her father. She believes seeing him in person will win him over. When she returns to her children, she has been savagely horse whipped by Olivia, who explains to the children that their parents were half-uncle and niece; their father had been Malcolm's half-brother. If Corinne has any hope of gaining her father's approval, the existence of the children must be kept secret. The children are told that they must remain in seclusion in the end bedroom and the attic of their grandparents' vast mansion until Malcolm’s death.

At first, Corinne lavishes the children with expensive gifts and promises of a bright future. However, as time goes by, she slowly loses interest in her children, particularly Cory and Carrie, who have almost stopped growing due to the stress of being locked inside and not getting any sunlight. Corinne continues to favor Chris, though this love for her eldest does not motivate her to free her children. After months of inprisonment Corinne stops visiting her children, leaving Cathy and Chris to believe that something has happened to her while they have been trapped in the attic. The children are both physically and emotionally abused by their evil grandmother and are constantly told that they are the devil's spawn and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord due to their parents' incestuous relationship. The grandmother warns them to abide by her list of strict rules and reminds them that God will punish any evil she does not witness.

The children initially spend most of their time decorating the attic to make it less scary for the twins. They turn it into their own paper-made garden with flowers and animals. Chris fashions a swing for them, to make the flowers move as if there is really a breeze flowing through the attic. As years pass, Cathy practices ballet, she and Chris become voracious readers, and Chris works toward his dreams of becoming a doctor, yet the two elder siblings, largely due to their confinement, begin to share sexual feelings about each other. Cathy reminds Chris that the two must not repeat their parents' incestuous mistake.

Corinne's abandonment forces the children to rely on one another for comfort and friendship. This leads to the formation of a new family unit, with Chris and Cathy assuming the roles of mother and father for their beloved twins. Chris and Cathy resolve to teach the twins in a school room in the huge attic.

Corrine soon tells the children that she has remarried. While Corrine is away on her honeymoon, the Grandmother catches Chris watching Cathy as she admires her naked body before the mirror. She gives Christopher and Cathy an ultimatum: Either Chris must cut off all of Cathy's hair or all four children will be starved of food for two weeks. Cathy tries to trick her Grandmother into believing that Christopher has cut off her hair but the Grandmother is not fooled and after drugging Cathy in her sleep, pours burning tar onto Cathy's hair. As a consequence of their betrayal the children are starved. After several weeks, food, along with a new addition of powdered doughnuts, is finally brought to the children. Corrine also returns, which triggers Cathy's fury, sending the mother scurrying from the room, threatening to return only when the children convey their regret for their accusing actions.

The abandoned children begin to rebel against their grandmother who whips both Cathy and Christopher for defying her orders. Cathy vows revenge on her grandmother.

As time passes the children start to form a plan to escape thier prison. Christopher fashions a rope that the children can climb down, however they soon discover the small twins are too frightened to climb from such a tremendous height and so the two elder siblings decide to use the rope to visit the family lake, where the two go skinny dipping and continue their incestuous desires. They make an impression of the key that is used to lock them in their room and are able to get out. They began to steal small amounts of money to finance their escape from their Mother and new stepfather's lavish suite. One night, Christopher is too ill to steal so Cathy goes to the room alone, only to find her stepfather asleep on a chair. Confused and curious, she kisses him before she can stop herself. Days later, Christopher finds out about the kiss and, in a jealous rage, rapes Cathy. Afterward, Christopher is ashamed and apologetic to Cathy who forgives him admitting she could have stopped him, had she truly wanted to.

Soon after, Cory becomes very sick with pneumonia. After Cathy yells and berates her mother, Corrine promises to take Cory to the hospital. Corrine returns and tells the children that Cory has died, leaving Cathy to feel that God has punished them, just as the Grandmother had them believe. Now desperate to escape, Christopher plans to take whatever money and jewelry he can find in his mother's suite, only to find that Corrine has once again left them, and it appears this time, for good. He also discovers that the Grandfather had died nine months before leaving all his money to Corrine on the condition that if it is proven she bore any children from her first marriage to Christopher Sr. or has a child in her second marriage, she shall be disinherited. In this shocking revelation the children realize that their mother brought them to Foxworth Hall, knowing that they would never leave the attic. Chris begins to suspect that they were poisoned when he overhears the butler, John Amos, talking about how the Grandmother has been leaving arsenic-covered doughnuts upstairs to kill the mice in the attic. After testing one of the doughnuts on their pet mouse Mickey, who dies from the poisoning, Christopher, Cathy and Carrie escape from their imprisonment after three-and-a-half years of captivity and plan to head to Sarasota, Florida where the flowers blossom every day of the year. Christopher is nearly eighteen, Cathy is fifteen and Carrie is seven.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I read these books as a child and then again as an adult. I was surprised that I enjoyed them just as much, if not more, the second time. An amazing author and I'm sorry she's no longer with us. She was a genius at creating a world away that sucked the reader in until the very end. I couldn't wait to pick up the next one. ( )
  ReneeMiller | Feb 25, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
V. C. Andrewsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
van Loon, ParmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(Part One) Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?

Isaiah 45:9
This book is dedicated to my mother.
First words
It is so appropriate to color hope yellow, like that sun we seldom saw. (Prologue)
Truly, when I was very young, way back in the Fifties, I believed all of life would be like one long and perfect summer day. (Chapter 1)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent little secrets, struggling to stay alive. Flowers In the Attic The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives -- a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before. Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents' fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn't told them. She hasn't told them that their grandmother considers them "devil's spawn" who should never have been born. She hasn't told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn't told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it's only for a few days.... Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength -- a love that is almost stronger than death.
Haiku summary
"My lover is hot!"
Now hold on. You mean he is
her brother? Oh, ick.


Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671729411, Mass Market Paperback)

This is the Extroardinary Novel That Has Captured Millions in Its Spell!

All across America and around the world, millions of readers have been captivated by this strange, dark, terriifying tale of passion and peril in the lives of four innoocent children, locked away from the world by a selfish mother.

Flowers in the Attic is the novel that launched the extraordinary career of V.C. Andrews®, winning her an immediate and fiercely devoted worldwide following; today there are more than 85 million copies of her books in print.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:54 -0400)

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Horror. 1st in trilogy.

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