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Garden of Shadows

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Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall... V.C. Andrews' thrilling new novel spins a tale of dreadful secrets and dark, forbidden passions--of the time before Flowers in the Attic began. Long before terror flowered in the attic, thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. At last, with her tall handsome hu Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall... V.C. Andrews' thrilling new novel spins a tale of dreadful secrets and dark, forbidden passions--of the time before Flowers in the Attic began. Long before terror flowered in the attic, thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. At last, with her tall handsome husband, she would find the joy she has waited for, longed for. But in the gloomy mansion filled with hidden rooms and festering desires, a stain of jealous obsession begins to spread... an evil that will threaten her children, two lovely boys and one very special, beautiful girl. For within one innocent child, a shocking secret lives... a secret that will taint the proud Foxworth name, and haunt all their lives forever! The wicked curse of the Dollanganger family begins in... Garden of Shadows (back cover)


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Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall... V.C. Andrews' thrilling new novel spins a tale of dreadful secrets and dark, forbidden passions--of the time before Flowers in the Attic began. Long before terror flowered in the attic, thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. At last, with her tall handsome hu Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall... V.C. Andrews' thrilling new novel spins a tale of dreadful secrets and dark, forbidden passions--of the time before Flowers in the Attic began. Long before terror flowered in the attic, thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. At last, with her tall handsome husband, she would find the joy she has waited for, longed for. But in the gloomy mansion filled with hidden rooms and festering desires, a stain of jealous obsession begins to spread... an evil that will threaten her children, two lovely boys and one very special, beautiful girl. For within one innocent child, a shocking secret lives... a secret that will taint the proud Foxworth name, and haunt all their lives forever! The wicked curse of the Dollanganger family begins in... Garden of Shadows (back cover)

30 review for Garden of Shadows

  1. 5 out of 5

    Neva

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ever wonder why Cathy's grandmother was such a bitch? No? Well, I did. Apparently, so did VC Andrews. It turns out, it was because she was so damn tall, wore her hair pulled back sternly, and was so serious! Oh, and because her husband cheated on her with his stepmother. And then he killed his father, and impregnated his stepmother who gets PUT IN THE ATTIC. Geez, they just stuck everyone up there. So does that make him his...stepsister's father? Well, anyway, the stepmother has a daughter who i Ever wonder why Cathy's grandmother was such a bitch? No? Well, I did. Apparently, so did VC Andrews. It turns out, it was because she was so damn tall, wore her hair pulled back sternly, and was so serious! Oh, and because her husband cheated on her with his stepmother. And then he killed his father, and impregnated his stepmother who gets PUT IN THE ATTIC. Geez, they just stuck everyone up there. So does that make him his...stepsister's father? Well, anyway, the stepmother has a daughter who is the most beautiful woman of all! Anyway, the daughter ends up falling in love with who she THINKS is her half uncle...but little does she know...he's her HALF BROTHER! So they get damned to hell by Cathy's grandmother, and then they run away together and have Cathy, her gross brother, and the twins. Confused? I am too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3 out of 5 stars to Garden of Shadows, the 5th book in the young adult thriller series written in 1987 by V.C. Andrews. Two key things to note about this book. The author passed away while writing this book, and I'm not clear on how much VC Andrews wrote versus a ghost writer at the publishing firm. Also, it's the fifth book in the series, but it is actually a prequel to Flowers in the Attic, so it should be read first. That said, if you read it first, you'd totally lose the power Book Review 3 out of 5 stars to Garden of Shadows, the 5th book in the young adult thriller series written in 1987 by V.C. Andrews. Two key things to note about this book. The author passed away while writing this book, and I'm not clear on how much VC Andrews wrote versus a ghost writer at the publishing firm. Also, it's the fifth book in the series, but it is actually a prequel to Flowers in the Attic, so it should be read first. That said, if you read it first, you'd totally lose the power of the first book... it's better to see someone as bad before you find out they were once good, as well as what pushed them to turn towards the bad life! If you haven't read Flowers in the Attic, stop reading this review and go back to the beginning. We find out what Olivia, the grandmother, was like as a child. We learn to like her for awhile, seeing how she was broken down by a wicked man and the loss of her parents at a young age. You begin to feel sympathy, but then you remember, it doesn't quite matter what was done to you, you should know better than to repeat the cycle, right? I loved and hated this book. Took too much to read, pushed in the wrong directions. But it also continued a devastating and complex family saga. I had some different ideas on how it should have come together, but I was barely a few years at this point to be able to say anything. Imagine a young kid saying "Oh, I can write that better." LOL If you read the series, you owe it to yourself to finish it with this one. If you didn't, don't start with this one even tho it's technically the "first." About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    With all the drama of the Dollanganger saga done, it would seem that everything is as it should be. However, how did it all start and what led to such a fire and brimstone sentimentality that Bart ended up exuding upon reading his great-grandfather’s journals? V.C. Andrews answers this in this final instalment, a prequel of sorts, that takes that story far into the past, before things got out of hand. Olivia Winfield was a quiet girl, though her height and gangly nature made her more wholesome t With all the drama of the Dollanganger saga done, it would seem that everything is as it should be. However, how did it all start and what led to such a fire and brimstone sentimentality that Bart ended up exuding upon reading his great-grandfather’s journals? V.C. Andrews answers this in this final instalment, a prequel of sorts, that takes that story far into the past, before things got out of hand. Olivia Winfield was a quiet girl, though her height and gangly nature made her more wholesome than attractive to many. The daughter of a successful businessman, Olivia was without a mother to guide her as she came of age. When Malcolm Foxworth came calling one day, Olivia was surprised that he would pay her any attention. Their whirlwind romance soon led to a wedding and Olivia’s move from Connecticut to Foxworth Hall in Virginia. When she arrived at this mansion, Olivia was in awe and it took her a while to absorb it all. She began to learn that all the servants and formal processes were only part of what she will have to learn, as Malcolm had a strong affinity for his departed mother, a woman who fled the family when he was all of five years of age. In time, Olivia and Malcolm welcomed two boys into the house, Mal and Joel, though both wished for a daughter. It is only when surprise houseguests arrive that the household got a great deal more interesting. With the arrival of Garland Foxworth, Malcolm is excited to see his father back, though he brought along a new bride of only eighteen. Alicia was young and quite clueless as to the ways of the world. She was also pregnant, meaning that Malcolm would soon have a half-sibling close to his children’s age. As Olivia tried to bond with Alicia, she discovered that there were some troubling aspects to the young woman’s life. It would seem Foxworth men have wiles that cannot be ignored, though their ability to win over the ladies was second to none. After Garland passed away, Malcolm reluctantly agreed to let Alicia stay in the house, now the mother to a little baby boy, Christopher. Given her own wing of the house, Alicia was left to wallow in the memory of her lost husband, all but incapable of caring for her son. When Olivia discovered that Alicia is being taken advantage of by Malcolm, she could not sit idly by, though there was little she could do to stop his antics. Locked away in the attic, Alicia became the first prisoner ever kept there, away from the eyes of others, at least until Olivia could put her plan into action. With a new child in the house, Corinne, the family expanded and Malcolm showed a troubling affinity towards her, favouring Corrine over the other children in the house. As Olivia grew older and watched her children mature, the family suffered other tragedies, hinted at in other books within the series. With this knowledge, Olivia became more jaded and heartless, transforming into the woman series fans came to know throughout the Dollanganger novels. A wonderfully written prequel that does lay the groundwork for much of the series, yet still full of wonderful twists that most readers would not have seen coming. V.C. Andrews brings this highly controversial series to a close by opening the door to how it all began, if that makes any sense. The series is situated within the ‘young adult horror’ genre, but the plots have been able to hold my attention without getting too corny. In this book, the reader discovers much of the needed foundational information about the Foxworth family and how they came to hold such animosity. There are wonderful vignettes that put much of the concerns from the first two Dollanganger books into perspective here. OIivia finally gets her time in the limelight, giving the reader some time to get to know more about her. While the series fan knows her as The Grandmother, there is much more to her than the ruthless matriarch who wants nothing to do with the Dollangangers. Olivia enters life as a Foxworth with much hope, though it is dashed as soon as she discovers that Malcolm is highly duplicitous. Olivia shows some of her own conniving nature, which she justifies as protecting the family name. The attentive reader will be in for some wonderful and impactful surprises throughout, giving Olivia Foxworth new dimensions. Others who play key roles in the story help to create a wonderful narrative that fills the reader with wonder and confusion, particularly Malcolm Foxworth. His move to being highly religious and moralistic comes over time, though there are certainly some justified occurrences that push him in that direction. With a handful of other characters who reemerge throughout the series, this opening book proves to be highly intriguing. Set as an addendum to Olivia’s will, one can suppose that this novel is both a prequel and later revelation in the series, putting much in order that may not have been known beforehand. The surprises are plentiful and the story flows quite well, without much of the drama embedded in the rest of the series. The reader will be able to piece this all together and enjoy learning about some of the happenings that laid the groundwork for the banishment of the twins to the attic in the opening chapters of Flowers in the Attic. A great read that shows V.C. Andrews plotted this entire series out well before her death soon after this novel’s original publication. Kudos, Madam Andrews, for allowing me a chance to see how the entire Dollanganger/Foxworth drama began and developed. While I have even surprised myself with how enthused I was to read it, I cannot deny it was an intriguing ride and one I would recommend to the patient reader who can sift through some corny plots. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If you've read the Dollanganger series, you probably remember that the grandmother character in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC had serious issues. But how did she get that way? Aren't you curious? GARDEN OF SHADOWS is about a girl named Olivia. Tall and plain, she's been raised her whole life as the son her father wanted but never got. Beneath that homely brow of hers is a sharpened mind, and an almost heartbreaking desire to be loved and adored. She Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If you've read the Dollanganger series, you probably remember that the grandmother character in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC had serious issues. But how did she get that way? Aren't you curious? GARDEN OF SHADOWS is about a girl named Olivia. Tall and plain, she's been raised her whole life as the son her father wanted but never got. Beneath that homely brow of hers is a sharpened mind, and an almost heartbreaking desire to be loved and adored. She's absolutely thrilled when she finds out she's to marry a protege of her father's: the dashing and debonair Malcolm. He seems to like the fact that she's not like other woman, and proposes to her early on. But things are not what they seem, and happiness is elusive. ***WARNING: SPOILERS*** This is one of those books that, like the first two in the series, actually had me setting the volume aside, taking a deep breath, and thinking to myself, "WOW, THAT WAS SO MESSED UP." Over the course of the novel, we see Olivia, maddened with jealousy, betrayal, and impotent rage, slowly lose her desire to please and be loved; instead, she becomes cruel and controlling, using fear to influence where she failed at charm. And oh, her husband, let's not forget about Malcolm. He never got over his mother leaving him when he was a child, and it's given him a severe complex about women. When his wife still loved him, he flirted with other, prettier women in front of her eyes and let them mock her without saying a word. When his father remarries Alicia, and Malcolm lays eyes on the stepmother who is the spitting image of his own beloved mother in her prime, he sneaks into her room at night and rapes her for months. When she becomes pregnant, Olivia locks her away in the attic and Alicia eventually goes mad. Then there's Corinne and Christopher, the two who started the Dollanganger legacy... I'm honestly shocked that this is marked as young adult on Goodreads. Maybe it's because so many people managed to get their hands on these volumes as children and teens, and the parents were none the wiser because of the innocent (but creepy) looking covers and titles. They're tawdry, and full of abuse, incest, sex, and corruption, and people being murdered or tormented. That said, as a Gothic novel for adults, it's quite compelling. Andrews has a unique and adaptable style, which she manages to tailor for each of her narrating characters while also keeping true to her own style. She's excellent at foreshadowing and providing just enough drama to keep readers turning the pages without every overwhelming them. They're atmospheric and trashy, but not dumb in the slightest. I've thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series I've read, even if they're a bit much. Now I kind of want to reread the first two books in the series to see if Olivia's narrative reveals any further clues with the power of hindsight... 4 to 4.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chantal

    Wow, what a twist this story gets and has, I didn't see that one coming. From the beginning you are waiting for the train wreck to happen infront of you. This book will explain a lot of things and behaviours in the Dollganger series. I had a little prejudice because how much was written by the original writer, but I really enjoyed the reading. Every page was worth the time of reading. So its gets 4 points.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Savina M.

    I read the first four books of the Dollanganger saga two years ago, and since then I've never felt quite emotionally prepared for the fifth book. I finally plucked up the courage to read Garden of Shadows, and it is safe to say V.C. Andrews has not let me down. Fortunately, I didn't cry reading this book. I remember bawling my eyes out at every one of the first four books. This book, if possible, is even darker than Flowers in the Attic and it left me in a trance whenever I paused to do something I read the first four books of the Dollanganger saga two years ago, and since then I've never felt quite emotionally prepared for the fifth book. I finally plucked up the courage to read Garden of Shadows, and it is safe to say V.C. Andrews has not let me down. Fortunately, I didn't cry reading this book. I remember bawling my eyes out at every one of the first four books. This book, if possible, is even darker than Flowers in the Attic and it left me in a trance whenever I paused to do something else. The book's plot is somewhat similar to Flowers in the Attic, and has many resemblances to it. I found myself sympathizing with Olivia, and hating Corinne as much as I did two years ago. Honestly, I don't have much to say because Garden of Shawdows left me speechless. Therefore, I end this review with a gif.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    The first and most important of the Andrews series. Felt oh so wrong while reading it and yet no girl of my generation could put them down! I enjoyed every page of every book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    sj

    (Full Review and more on Trashy Tuesday here: http://wp.me/p1Zgyz-8o ) At last, we've arrived at the final installment in the Dollanganger series!  I was talking to Becoming Cliche over chat the other day about how thrilled I was to be able to stop reading VC Andrews, and she said something to the effect of  "Oh, but Heaven was such a good book!  And what about My Sweet Audrina?"  I guess this means I will be revisiting this author at some point in the future, but hopefully not any time soon.  Th (Full Review and more on Trashy Tuesday here: http://wp.me/p1Zgyz-8o ) At last, we've arrived at the final installment in the Dollanganger series!  I was talking to Becoming Cliche over chat the other day about how thrilled I was to be able to stop reading VC Andrews, and she said something to the effect of  "Oh, but Heaven was such a good book!  And what about My Sweet Audrina?"  I guess this means I will be revisiting this author at some point in the future, but hopefully not any time soon.  There's only so many incestuous relationships a girl can handle at one time, you know? I think it's interesting to note here, that this was the first VC Andrews book to be published after her death in 1986.  It seems that it has been questioned as to whether this book was actually written partially by her before she died - and completed by the ghost-writer hired by her estate to continue her "legacy" - or whether the ghost-writer in fact wrote the entire thing himself.  Interesting.  I think I prefer the notion that he composed every future Andrews book with the assistance of a Ouija Board.  It makes things more fun for me. (view spoiler)[Garden of Shadows takes place before the events detailed in Flowers in the Attic.  It's the story of the menacing grandmother, Olivia.  Young Olivia is tall and rather plain.  Since she's not pretty or bubbly or good at much other than math (she does the books for her father's business), she's resigned herself to being a lonely old maid.  That all changes the day her father brings Malcolm Foxworth home for dinner.  He is immediately nice to her and compliments her and says all the right things.  They go for a walk after dinner, and he asks her to marry him.  He needs a strong wife that can run his incredibly rich household, he says.  This is obviously a marriage of convenience, but since he's so dreamy and he's chosen her, she lets herself think it will grow into something else.  They're married in a quickie ceremony by a justice of the peace and set off the following day for Virginia and Foxworth Hall. Her new husband pretty much ignores her on the train south, does not try to engage in any newlywed-type shenanigans, even though she's hoping (and dreading) that he will.  They arrive at Foxworth Hall and Olivia is given charge of the house.  She's told she must stay out of Malcolm's study, and that no one ever goes into the room that belonged to his mother.  We find out that his mother ran off with another man when he was only five.  She was incredibly beautiful, so of course Malcolm is distrustful of beautiful women.  Hence, the plain-jane wifey he brings home. Olivia makes the house her own, and in doing so causes all of the servants to hate her.  She thinks she has to be stern with everyone, so they talk smack about her behind her back.  She decides that Malcolm could not have possibly have meant that she wasn't allowed to check out his mother's room because she's the woman of the damn house afterall, so she goes snooping.  The room is a shrine to a woman that has been gone for more than 20 years.  All of her strumpety dressing gowns and furs and whatnot are still there, her brush is still on the vanity, etc.  It has this really intriguing "swan bed" that everyone always talks about how it must need custom sheets because the mattress is oval-shaped.  I really have a hard time picturing it as anything other than Mae West's bed in She Done Him Wrong. So, one of the servants rats on Olivia and Malcolm comes rushing in to yell at her for being in his shrine mother's suite, but while he's in the middle of yelling, he's overcome with a fit of passion and takes her (her first time) on his mother's bed...while calling her BY HIS MOTHER'S NAME.  Jeez.  Oedipal complex, anyone?  Ew.  I get squicked out just thinking about it.  He comes to her again a few nights later and forces her again, telling her that he wants a son. Sure enough, nine months later - a son is born.  They name him Malcolm Jr, but call him Mal to avoid confusing him with his father.  A year or so later, Malcolm visits her in the middle of the night again.  This time he tells her that he wants a daughter.  Olivia has problems giving birth to their second baby (another son, oh noes!) and is told by the doctor that she can not have any more children.  Malcolm is disappointed in her for failing to produce a daughter - especially since their second boy (Joel, remember him from the last book?) is sickly - and their relationship becomes even more strained. When the children are small, Malcolm receives word that his father will soon be arriving back at the Manor with his lovely young wife.  Olivia is shocked because she did not know his father had re-married, even more shocked when she discovers his wife is only 19.  Garland and Alicia have the kind of marriage Olivia had hoped to have for herself.  They're constantly sneaking off to get it on, and Olivia listens in on them (and even watches!) quite often.  Gross.  Like, seriously? What the hell is this crap?  It's made even worse by the fact that it's obvious Malcolm has his eye on his step-mother and Olivia watches him attempt to seduce her one day down by the river lake.  Olivia doesn't blame Malcolm for his attempted infidelity, no.  It's obviously Alicia's fault for being so pretty and witty and bright. [image error] Alicia becomes pregnant and gives birth to Malcolm's half-brother, Christopher.  Wait.  Did I just say Christopher?  Why does that name seem so familiar in the context of this series...?  Hmmmm, anyway - on Christopher's third birthday, Garland walks in on Malcolm while he's attempting to rape his step-mother.  They have a fight, triangle wins and Garland has a fatal heart attack. After the death of his father, Malcolm's ardor is lessened and Olivia believes he's done attempting to bed Alicia.  A few months later, she discovers that not only is that not the case, but that Malcolm has been raping Alicia repeatedly (in his mother's bed) and she is now pregnant.  Alicia says that Malcolm told her if she kept him out or told anyone, he'd throw her and Christopher on the street without a penny.  [sigh] To keep the entire family from being humiliated, Olivia devises a plan.  She will fire all of the servants and hide Alicia up in the bedroom under the attic while she's pregnant, then once she has the baby she will take Christopher and leave forever.  The entire time Alicia is hidden away, Olivia is feigning her own pregnancy, to convince the new servants that she's expecting.  Alicia gives birth to a little girl and Malcolm names her Corrine, after his mother.  Ew. Alicia takes Christopher and leaves with the money Garland left her.  Olivia raises Corinne as her own child, but Malcolm spoils her greatly.  He is disappointed in his sons because they have no interest in taking over the family business, and would rather be musicians. When he is 18, Malcolm Jr buys himself a motorcycle against his father's wishes.  He takes Corinne on a ride down the driveway and drops her off, then proceeds to lose control of the bike and drives off a cliff.  Well, they said he lost control, but I'm pretty sure that unicorn-riding dodo made it's first appearance for this family and pushed him over the edge. Olivia is filled with grief at the loss of her son, and takes solace from the letters she receives from her cousin - John Amos.  She offers him the position of butler at Foxworth Hall, and he accepts.  Shortly after this, Joel takes off to tour Europe with an orchestra and is killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.  Luckily (since this is a prequel), we know he didn't really die, he was just hiding out from his a-hole parents...for fifty years. With two sons dead and a daughter that grows more spoiled by the day, Olivia is having a pretty rough time of things.  She receives a letter from Alicia, who is dying of cancer.  Her final wish is that Malcolm and Olivia take Christopher in and send him to medical school, because she lost her entire inheritance in the stock market crash.  They do.  He is 17 at this point and an incredibly handsome young man.  He and Corinne immediately hit it off, and Olivia is thrilled that they are just like the brother and sister she knows them to be. UNTIL SHE CATCHES THEM HAVING SEX IN THE SWAN BED. Jeezy creezy.  I knew it was coming, and it still freaked me out.  Christopher and Corinne try to play it off, "Oh, she's just my half-niece!  We're not even that closely related!  We're totes getting married and you'll be fine with it, right?"  Yeah.  No.  You're actually brother and sister, get over yourselves. They're kicked out.  Excommunicated.  Malcolm gets incredibly sick after losing his dearest daughter, and turns to John Amos and the bible to get him through.  They don't hear anything from either Christopher or Corinne for a number of years... Until Christopher gets attacked by that same dodo-riding unicorn and Corinne is left penniless, and the whole story is brought full circle. (hide spoiler)] [heavy sigh] Thus concludes the Dollanganger saga.  It was fun to write about, but I'm pretty glad I'm done with the craziness for now. Up next on the Trashy Tuesday roster:  Cave Pr0n!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    I'm entertained by this installment of the Dollanganger series, we go back to uncover the 'origin story' of the hateful grandmother, Olivia Foxworth, from the first book. After reading this book, I still don't like Olivia, but at least I can see her reason and where she came from. Although the plots and turns of events are highly predicable...down to the handsome husband getting abusive part, still I can understand those characters quite well...and despite of all the victim-blaming, melodramas, w I'm entertained by this installment of the Dollanganger series, we go back to uncover the 'origin story' of the hateful grandmother, Olivia Foxworth, from the first book. After reading this book, I still don't like Olivia, but at least I can see her reason and where she came from. Although the plots and turns of events are highly predicable...down to the handsome husband getting abusive part, still I can understand those characters quite well...and despite of all the victim-blaming, melodramas, woman-on-woman-hating, rape and incest, Garden of Shadows is still Gothic horror/soap opera at its finest. Plus Ms. Andrews' writing and her skill of holding her readers' attention always amuses me. So, 4 stars. PS: I'd just finished re-reading this book in Chinese at 30/03/2018! List of my favorite V. C. Andrews' books: https://www.goodreads.com/list/user_v...

  10. 4 out of 5

    C Solis-Sublette

    It has been a long while since I finished a book of this length in less than 2 nights. I remember, now, the appeal of V.C. Andrews. Yes, her plots are a little unrealistic and yes, her characters can seem a little falt but both are just fun reading for the beach or whatever. This novel is like reading a good Lifetime movie. Back to the novel itself. _Garden of Shadows_ is fun in its own right but even more fun if you are familiar with _Flowers in the Attic_ as GOS is its prequel and everyone lov It has been a long while since I finished a book of this length in less than 2 nights. I remember, now, the appeal of V.C. Andrews. Yes, her plots are a little unrealistic and yes, her characters can seem a little falt but both are just fun reading for the beach or whatever. This novel is like reading a good Lifetime movie. Back to the novel itself. _Garden of Shadows_ is fun in its own right but even more fun if you are familiar with _Flowers in the Attic_ as GOS is its prequel and everyone loves prequels. Here, we get to see how that horrible, stern grandmother - played by Louise Fletcher in the movie - comes to be the austere woman she is. It gives pause for the reader to remember that not all cruel women have always been cruel. Rather, there has been incidents in their lives that have made them the way they are. Knowing what Olivia will become, we are introduced to her as a young girl - a girl with hopes and dreams and visions of love. She is robbed of all and becomes trapped in a loveless marriage to a faithless husband. As the novel progresses, we begin to see how a woman with great intelligence and potential begins to use her gifts towards bad instead of good - warping herself into the hateful grandmother and homicidal grandmother we meet in _Flowers in the Attic_. Corrine, however, remains a mystery. In _Flowers in the Attic_ we meet a woman who is incapable of standing up to her mother and, instead, uses her mother's actions as an excuse to rid herself of her children and move on with the life she left behind as a beautiful socialite. In my reading, Corrine was the real villain of _Flowers in the Attic_. In this novel, we don't really get a taste for how Corrine could have succombed to such a fate. Yes, she was spoiled as a girl; yes, she was haughty and a brat; yes, she felt in love with her half uncle that turned out to be her closer than half-brother. But, to abandon her children to the attic? That sociopathic leaning in Corrine just isn't seen in this novel at all. It would have been better, in my opinion, if we had seen a hint of it here. Perhaps if we had seen evidence that she loved her father for only what he would give her; perhaps if we had seen her show cruelty towards Christopher for failing to give into one of her whims. But, no. In Corrine, we see a rather beautiful and perfect woman - nothing of the monster she becomes in the follow up novel. So, while this novel was a delightful read, it did have its character flaws. But...what a ride. If you've got a day to spare and wouldn't mind some fluff that requires very little thought, why the heck not?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Takes you back to the beginning and makes the Dollanganger story even MORE twisted...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    "Garden of Shadows", the prequel to "Flowers in the Attic", goes back to unchartered territory and succeeds in giving a new twist to the Dollangager saga. "Garden" is the story of Olivia (the Grandmother) - - a few pages about her upbringing by her loving father, before we are taken right into her "arranged" marriage to Malcolm Foxworth, a good looking young man whom she feels love for, but that quickly turns on her wedding night when she is raped. Olivia comes to find out what a horrible, cruel "Garden of Shadows", the prequel to "Flowers in the Attic", goes back to unchartered territory and succeeds in giving a new twist to the Dollangager saga. "Garden" is the story of Olivia (the Grandmother) - - a few pages about her upbringing by her loving father, before we are taken right into her "arranged" marriage to Malcolm Foxworth, a good looking young man whom she feels love for, but that quickly turns on her wedding night when she is raped. Olivia comes to find out what a horrible, cruel and manipulative man her husband is - - he married her specifically because she wasn't pretty and attractive, a woman as opposite from his own mother as imaginable. Olivia quickly supplies Malcolm with the heirs he requires and her life becomes a sad day after day of a loveless marriage. She is only spared by the arrival of her cousin, John Amos Jackson, who begins preaching religion to her, giving her a new place to turn. And such would her life have been, had Malcolm's father Garland not arrived with his new teenaged bride, Alicia. Without giving away too much of the story, or the spectacular twist that is revealed, I found "Garden" to be an absolute engrossing read. I even found sympathy with Olivia, despite her future actions in "Flowers" -- her coldness and seeming indifference is somewhat explained in "Garden". The character of Malcolm is shown in an even clearer light as manipulative, depraved and suffering from severely dysfunctional mother love/adulation/hatred. Prequels often tend to fail, but "Garden" succeeds in being a fascinating story and giving a new twist on the old familiar Dollanganger saga.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen Thompson

    I'm not going to say that Olivia Foxworth didn't have it bad, but nothing NOTHING that happened to her, in my opinion, is as bad as what she did to those children! And to think she knew, knew what would happen them; being up in that attic for so long. After all, she did watch Alicia Foxworth go nearly mad from being locked away in that room/attic for almost a year. This book was probably the most shocking out of all of them, because after reading the first four you are always led to believe that I'm not going to say that Olivia Foxworth didn't have it bad, but nothing NOTHING that happened to her, in my opinion, is as bad as what she did to those children! And to think she knew, knew what would happen them; being up in that attic for so long. After all, she did watch Alicia Foxworth go nearly mad from being locked away in that room/attic for almost a year. This book was probably the most shocking out of all of them, because after reading the first four you are always led to believe that Corrine married her half-uncle. Then come to find out that, that was not the case. That they were in fact of closer relation. It turns out that Malcolm Foxworth was far sicker than I could have ever imagined! Always pining away for the mother that left him when he was a child. Wanting his own fathers wife because Alicia reminded him of her. Naming his own daughter after her; Corrine. CRAZY MAD SICK! Then of course the dreaded John Amos! Oh yes, it's true he was right to warn Olivia that Corrine and Christopher where "too close." For indeed they were, but I also think that it weren't for him Olivia would have gotten past Corrine and Christopher's "unique relationship" and excepted her grandchild with open arms. Before she spoke to John about it, she had said she wanted grandchild. She even grieved Christopher's death, said that she would never have wish that sort of thing to happen to them, no matter what they'd done. It was John Amos who told her to lock those children away and harden her heart against them, because they were devils issue. Which leaves me to wonder just how much of what happen to those children where the ideas of John Amos? Did he suggest that Olivia put tar in Cathy hair when she refused to cut it? Did he suggest that she beat them bloody with a switch when they disobeyed? Which of course doesn't make Olivia blameless, because even if they were his suggestions she didn't have to listen. Did John Amos suggest to Malcolm that he and Olivia should take the switch to Corrine's back as punishment for her sins? To my understanding even though Malcolm had whipped his sons he had never laid a hand on Corrine before, because he had dotted on her, spoiled her. And as far as I know Olivia had never laid a hand on any of her children. So it is just suspicious to me is all, because perhaps John Amos was the main reason for them acting the way they did.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I think it's hard to spend 4 books hating on a character and then going back in the 5th and trying to work up some boo-hoo for the character you have been hating on for so long. Plus I wasn't 13 when I read this one so it made it alot harder to read. I feel like someone should have stepped in at some point and nudged the ghost-writers for V.C. Andrews and told them that humping relatives is actually kinda looked down upon. Of course the formula works - The estate of V.C. Andrews is still pumping I think it's hard to spend 4 books hating on a character and then going back in the 5th and trying to work up some boo-hoo for the character you have been hating on for so long. Plus I wasn't 13 when I read this one so it made it alot harder to read. I feel like someone should have stepped in at some point and nudged the ghost-writers for V.C. Andrews and told them that humping relatives is actually kinda looked down upon. Of course the formula works - The estate of V.C. Andrews is still pumping out incest laden novel after novel. I haven't read one in years but I am betting they are still filled with abuse and twisted family humping situations.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    OMG. Makes complete sence!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brittni

    If There Be Thorns gives us a peek into the life of Malcolm, the haunting figure who's omnipresent throughout the Dollanganger books but only seen once, and then from afar. Bart Jr. reads Malcolm's old diary and through that, we learn about Malcolm's womanizing ways, and a bit more of the family history. Why the existence of this book, then, after all has been said and done already? The purpose is to experience through Olivia's eyes all that's happened from her marriage to the night she first loc If There Be Thorns gives us a peek into the life of Malcolm, the haunting figure who's omnipresent throughout the Dollanganger books but only seen once, and then from afar. Bart Jr. reads Malcolm's old diary and through that, we learn about Malcolm's womanizing ways, and a bit more of the family history. Why the existence of this book, then, after all has been said and done already? The purpose is to experience through Olivia's eyes all that's happened from her marriage to the night she first locks the door behind which conceals those four doomed children. This book opens with a forenote from Olivia's will, bidding us to "judge her if we dare" once we learn the full story, which implies that her re-telling is supposed to engender pity for whom we've come to know as "the evil grandmother". Yes, at the core, Olivia's circumstances were pitiable. It seems her hard looks--something she couldn't change no matter how much she tried--led her into her dark fate. She's not considered marriageable because of them, and it's assumed she'll be a spinster for the rest of her life (need I say that in those days, a woman was considered a failure unless she could secure a marriage?) until Malcolm comes along. She can't believe the miracle of a handsome, charming, and wealthy man being interested in someone like her...and she shouldn't have believed it. Malcolm basically hired her for the job of being a wife, rather than marry her because he loved her. The first time he meets her is more like a job interview, in his eyes, and Malcolm treats her like he does any servant in his house because like the servants, Olivia has duties he expects her to complete: keep the house in order and give him children. He never gives her tenderness. The only times they share a bed together are when he rapes her for hope of impregnating her, and when the doctor says it'd be dangerous for Olivia to have any more children, Malcolm takes it out on her as if it was her choice to be unable to give birth anymore. It's not hard to imagine a woman treated so terribly would turn coldhearted. But what she went through does NOT excuse her cruel actions...it just serves to make us understand how she became that way. The book starts with what came to be the usual V.C. Andrews cliche talk about rose-colored hopes and dollhouse dreams. I guess Olivia had to be depicted as a hopeful girl just like any other, because that makes Malcolm's deception all the more unforgiveable, but showing Olivia to be this way at the beginning made me skeptical. The grandmother's severity in the first book was such that I assumed Olivia would have to have had some cruel tendencies earlier on in her life, but that wasn't so. Making this character, so full of dreams and wishes for love at the beginning, turn malicious by the end...I had to wonder if the author would be able to carry out that transformation believably. There was one moment in the book where Olivia does something cruel, but it seemed inconsistent with her behavior before. Olivia was motivated by jealousy but there was nothing beforehand to insinuate that Olivia was capable of such cruelty, especially after just admitting that the person she was jealous of also happened to inspire happy feelings in Olivia at the same time. And besides that one random moment, there's no other instance of cruelty in Olivia. In fact, even right to the last page of the book, Olivia says she feels love in her heart for Corinne and even Corinne's grandchildren! This doesn't mesh well with the idea perpetuated that Olivia only loved her sons, and disliked Corinne. In the first book, Corinne even implies to the children that Olivia never was capable of loving Corinne, but in this book, Olivia is very doting on Corinne. None of it adds up, despite the author using religious fervor as the only motivator for Olivia's cruelty (John Amos having brainwashed Olivia into believing it's her religious duty to punish the grandchildren for having been born out of incest). Garden of Shadows also has the disadvantage of being a story we already know at its foundation...mostly. For example, when Malcolm's new stepmother arrives with his father at the house, we already know what's going to happen because he talks about it in the diary from the third book. Readers might get bored at times like that. But~ there's a whole new twist added to the family history that we never knew about, and it makes the whole Foxworth saga all the more disturbing. Let's just say Christopher and Cathy had more in common with their parents than we even imagined. (Although I see from the first review on this book's page that someone delighted in spoiling that surprise so by the time anyone's gotten to THIS review, she or he may already have that ruined for them. Sigh, regardless...) I'm not sure at this point whether V.C. Andrews herself wrote most of this, or none of this, and it doesn't really matter. Even the third book in the series already seemed exactly like those of the ghostwriter's in style, and I know V.C. Andrews would've written the whole of that book, so. Characterization isn't good and cliches abound so I was pretty bored with this one. There's one aspect to the book that I do find interesting. Beneath the trashy surface, there's a lot to be observed in the human character. Malcolm was abandoned by his mother when he was a child, which is what lead to him having such a distorted view on women in the future. It's an example of just how deeply our parents affect us, how someone who's not ready for that responsibility can really ruin a child. His own mother left him, so Malcolm had no reason to assume other women wouldn't hurt him in the future. He develops an Oedipus complex, and uses women for sex as a form of revenge and as a way to make sure they're under his control so he can't be hurt again. Ironically, the type of women he proclaims to hate are the ones he actually cares about, but they all end up hurting him, too, as if in divine punishment for his treatment of other women. Even though he is the one who seeks to control women, in actuality the women have power over him, because he's so consumed with his love/hate for the female gender that it's taken over his entire being. It also shows a conflict over what is "right" and how religion can be distorted into something the opposite of what it stands for. Olivia and John Amos wanted to play God themselves, handing out redemption for what they saw as wrong, but it's up to God to do that as He sees fit. So while they thought they were being pious, they were true sinners. That's what keeps me going back to the V.C. Andrews books. They don't shy away from those aspects to human character that we all try to cover up. There's thousands of books about terrible killings and monsters, but barely few that showcase the kind of secrets that V.C. Andrews books do, even though the latter are more prevalent than we can probably guess. Show all the murders you can come up with and we can handle that no problem, but we'll collectively balk at certain topics like those that come up in V.C.A. books. That shows what's more disturbing to the public at large...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Wrona

    Note: If you hated Olivia, Corrine's mother and Cathy's grandmother as much as I did in the first and previous novels of the series, then maybe this prequel will give you a little more insight on her aspect and will help you change your mind on this poor woman who went through so much hatred and unfairness in her life. I was ready to hate this book; I never liked Olivia and you think I want to read her POV when she was a "bratty young lady?" No thanks. But having this be the last of V.C. Andr Note: If you hated Olivia, Corrine's mother and Cathy's grandmother as much as I did in the first and previous novels of the series, then maybe this prequel will give you a little more insight on her aspect and will help you change your mind on this poor woman who went through so much hatred and unfairness in her life. I was ready to hate this book; I never liked Olivia and you think I want to read her POV when she was a "bratty young lady?" No thanks. But having this be the last of V.C. Andrews's highly acclaimed and raved Dollanganger series, I just had to end it off with this prequel. But I never expected to like this, especially after watching the 'Flowers in the Attic' new film. *shivers* But all in all, everyone has a reason for everything; that also includes their actions and behaviour. Olivia did have a reason for everything, even if Corrine surprisingly wasn't even her daughter by blood. This is about the main "beginning" of Olivia's life. She gets married to Malcolm, who she fears isn't even in love and her and just is using her for fortune and good "Foxworth pure blood." She has three children-- two boys and a young girl. There's a curse and there's a secret behind everything, even behind the home that everyone's known forever. This book taught me so much about the Foxworth family, even more than what I knew before from the previous books. Olivia has her reasons. And I kind of support her for everything she did and felt. Olivia didn't really do anything in the books, except some kind of cruel things to Corrine's kids. It was all of CORRINE'S FAULT FOR EVERYTHING. That stupid brat was spoiled and everything happened because of her "too perfect brain and pettiness." It's just so CRAZY. So by the end of the book, I felt a lot of sympathy for Olivia. She was a great MC and it changed the way I felt for her before. V.C. Andrews made a great decision to show the thoughts and past life of Olivia and the past truth of the Foxworths. This book was very moving. It was fast-paced and not really boring, despite the confusion of who was who in the beginning to late middle. I forgot a lot of the characters and as usual, V.C. Andrews didn't seem the type to create some light for us and make us understand what was going on. But other than that, this book was great and the perfect ending and beginning to everything, in a way. Let's give a round of applause to V.C. Andrews (RIP) for creating an amazing series. What an enjoyable ride.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kolleen

    Well, I have to admit I wasn't too excited about reading this book. It is a prequel, and usually those aren't too great, and by this point I was a little bit over the Dollangangers. But, upon finishing this book I came to three conclusions: 1.) This was one of the better books in the series. 2.) Although this is a prequel, and some suggest to read it first, please read it last. It has a shocker of an ending that makes the whole series worth it. 3.) And lastly, you have to read it to finally underst Well, I have to admit I wasn't too excited about reading this book. It is a prequel, and usually those aren't too great, and by this point I was a little bit over the Dollangangers. But, upon finishing this book I came to three conclusions: 1.) This was one of the better books in the series. 2.) Although this is a prequel, and some suggest to read it first, please read it last. It has a shocker of an ending that makes the whole series worth it. 3.) And lastly, you have to read it to finally understand all of what just happened in the previous books. What the hell! This book is told from the grandmother's viewpoint and follows her courtship and marriage with Malcalm. They have children, and Malcolm becomes a real douche bag and cheats on her with his stepmother (oh, yes there is incest all around, and it only gets worse!). During this affair, or let's be honest, rape of his stepmother, she conceives a child named Corrine. She already has an older child named Christopher, and things start falling into place. Grandmother raises Corrine as her own to cover up the affair, and never lets anyone know that Christopher and Corrine are actually brother and sister rather than uncle and niece. Confusing, yes, but once it sinks in these books take on a whole new meaning. Poor Corrine and Christopher who started the endless cycle of sin that wove its way throughout generations of children to come after, all because of a secret that was kept from them because of a mother's shame. And after all, we learn that although Malcolm is a sleazeball, he had room in his heart for Corrine and her children after all, but it was Grandma that refused to let them in, jealous of Malcalm's love for his daughter, forcing them to spend their days locked in the attic. Ahhhh, it all makes sense now. There were times I felt sorry for Olivia (aka Grandma) because she really was dealt a shitty hand of cards, but she didn't have the strength to overcome it, but rather became a spiteful bitch. Overall, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it to anyone who likes things a little bit on the strange side.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn Tayla

    Oh wow. Well I just flew through this. I can't not give it 5 stars because it kept me hooked and horrified at every turn. The ending had me gasping, for something that was SO obvious and critical to the Dollanganger novels, it didn't even occur to me until I read it at the last page. I love VC Andrews books, they just flow so easily. This one had everything, and I definitely even feel haunted now after I've closed the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews is the final installment of the Dollanganger Family Series. A prequel to Flowers in the Attic, it explains the story behind the grandmother’s harsh ways. Like Flowers in the Attic, Garden of Shadows presents a series of horrifying events that make you want to cringe, yet entices you to read more. We learn how the grandmother, Olivia, met Malcolm and discover their marriage was more of a business arrangement than act of love and commitment. Malcolm makes it known Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews is the final installment of the Dollanganger Family Series. A prequel to Flowers in the Attic, it explains the story behind the grandmother’s harsh ways. Like Flowers in the Attic, Garden of Shadows presents a series of horrifying events that make you want to cringe, yet entices you to read more. We learn how the grandmother, Olivia, met Malcolm and discover their marriage was more of a business arrangement than act of love and commitment. Malcolm makes it known that he “prefer[s:] intelligent women who know how to think for themselves, women who can be real assets to their husbands” (Andrews, 1989). Prior to marrying Malcolm, Olivia worked as her wealthy father’s personal accountant. She is described as rather plain and ordinary, spending little time on maintaining her physical appearance. Once Olivia moves in with her husband, the plot weaves a series of shocking family secrets. We discover that Corrine is not biologically Olivia’s daughter and is actually Christopher’s half-sister instead of half-niece. The story leads readers to fell sympathy for Olivia despite her cruel personality that was portrayed in Flowers in the Attic. On the other hand, Malcolm’s appalling behaviors causes extreme disgust. The suspenseful twists throughout the plot make it difficult to put the book down. By the end of the story, I felt compelled to re-read Flowers in the Attic all over again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}

    Currently reading (6/14/17): Buddy read with Sarah. The perfect way to start off the summer. :D Review (7/5/17): This book just cements my love for all the evil grandmother origins stories (the last book in each series). I'm not 100% sure why. This book goes into detail why Olivia turned into a hellbeast. Olivia started out as such a sympathetic character. I got extremely protective of her, because I know going into it, that life was not going to be kind to her. Malcolm was the literal worst(tm) for Currently reading (6/14/17): Buddy read with Sarah. The perfect way to start off the summer. :D Review (7/5/17): This book just cements my love for all the evil grandmother origins stories (the last book in each series). I'm not 100% sure why. This book goes into detail why Olivia turned into a hellbeast. Olivia started out as such a sympathetic character. I got extremely protective of her, because I know going into it, that life was not going to be kind to her. Malcolm was the literal worst(tm) for me. Just ick. I had mixed feelings about Garland, on one hand he is such a nice guy, on the other he started wooing Alicia when she was still very underage. ick. The real victims were Olivia's two sons and Alicia. Poor things. :( The book ends with the beginning summary of Flowers in the Attic. It makes me want to re-read it. :D

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim C

    Actual rating is 3.5 stars. This is a prequel to the author's most famous book Flowers in the Attic. This is a stand alone novel but if you haven't read the original book of this series you will miss the foreshadowing that is throughout this novel. Do you remember the evil grandmother who forced her grandchildren to live in the attic? This is her story. I enjoyed Flowers in the Attic but I did think each subsequent book was worse and worse with hating the last book of the series. With that being s Actual rating is 3.5 stars. This is a prequel to the author's most famous book Flowers in the Attic. This is a stand alone novel but if you haven't read the original book of this series you will miss the foreshadowing that is throughout this novel. Do you remember the evil grandmother who forced her grandchildren to live in the attic? This is her story. I enjoyed Flowers in the Attic but I did think each subsequent book was worse and worse with hating the last book of the series. With that being said, I was a little weary about the prelude of the series. Right away my worries were dismissed. I liked the look into Olivia and Malcolm and their loveless marriage. At times, I sided with each character as I went back and forth on whose side I was on. As the story progressed I had no problem envisioning how these characters become the ones I know from the first book of the series. What really sold me on this book was the foreshadowing. Sometimes, when I read a prelude it seems like aspects and scenes are forced in for the foreshadowing and the easter eggs. It never felt that way in this one. I am glad that this series ended on a positive note. The books from this author are known for the melodrama and the despicable acts of characters. This book follows that reputation and this book is a good example of why I enjoy her novels.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Iolanda

    This was the most twisted out of all of the books in the series! It follows the beginning of Flowers, coming from the Grandmother: Olivia's perspective. The book that explains why the grandmother was such an evil bitch, why did she resent the four Dollanganger children so much, why did Corrine seem like a huge chip on her shoulder! This is a spoiler free review but let me tell you, there's a twist. A twist I didn't see coming and when it happened, I was so bewildered. I couldn't stop reading aft This was the most twisted out of all of the books in the series! It follows the beginning of Flowers, coming from the Grandmother: Olivia's perspective. The book that explains why the grandmother was such an evil bitch, why did she resent the four Dollanganger children so much, why did Corrine seem like a huge chip on her shoulder! This is a spoiler free review but let me tell you, there's a twist. A twist I didn't see coming and when it happened, I was so bewildered. I couldn't stop reading after I found out the big WHY. Finally, it all made sense. There are flaws in this book but the plot was so engaging that I didn't mind at all. I was instantly feeling sympathy for Olivia, she was forced into a life she never dreamed possible and it all turned for the worst. You get to see where the roots of Foxworth Hall started and see how vile and menacing Malcolm really was. You get to see the young Corrine and maybe, you even understand her a little but you do understand Olivia and her motives and why she was so cruel. I'd like to give a shoutout to the character, Alicia who was my favourite in this book! I can see Carrie and Cathy in her, and also a little bit of Cory and Chris. The Dollanganger four surely did inherit most of their charm and talents from this wonderful young woman. Corrine and Christopher's relationship was a little underdeveloped (would have liked to read more about why they were in love than just ('love at first sight') and nowhere near as edgy as Cathy and Chris's. In fact, the thing I disliked about this book was the buildup and relationship between Christopher and Corrine, in the first book, Corrine gives a detailed explanation as to how and why they both fell in love and from Olivia's eyes, the whole thing seemed like a puppet show. One minute, they were locking eyes, hand in hand and walking around the gardens and the next they were caught fucking in the Swan Room! Despite all that, somehow, I feel like the last page was such a cliffhanger and left me wanting more. So effective! The twins were sound asleep. The two older ones stood side by side, the boy holding the girl's hand, just as Christopher had held Corrine's. I saw him look into her eyes, and saw him smile, a smile that sent a cold chill up my spine. For it was a smile I had seen before, it was the smile of Christopher for Corrine, the smile I had been too blind to see. But now my eyes were opened. I locked the door behind me. AND SO IT BEGINS. I honestly thought the whole story was really great and gave me a powerful insight on all of the unanswered questions in the other books. It beautifully tied them all together and it leaves you wanting to know more, then you remind yourself, "Wait, we already know." The writing of this book was slightly foreign as it was obviously Virginia Andrews ghostwriter that had written most of it but, they didn't leave us disappointed and that's good because prequels are usually the worst and everyone dreads them but this was done very well. I enjoyed it. And it's definitely my second favourite out the series after Flowers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    Garden of Shadows was the last novel written in the Dollanganger series, although it is actually the prequel to anything that came after. The book tells the story of Olivia Foxworth, the grandmother that would come to haunt the children in Flowers in the attic. It tells the story of a young woman who comes to live at Foxworth Hall, and in her hands she holds the dreams for a bright future. One filled with love, romance, children, parties, and overall bliss. What she doesn’t know is that she has m Garden of Shadows was the last novel written in the Dollanganger series, although it is actually the prequel to anything that came after. The book tells the story of Olivia Foxworth, the grandmother that would come to haunt the children in Flowers in the attic. It tells the story of a young woman who comes to live at Foxworth Hall, and in her hands she holds the dreams for a bright future. One filled with love, romance, children, parties, and overall bliss. What she doesn’t know is that she has married a man who is twisted and shriveled up, that the home she now resides in slowly ruins everyone who comes to live there. The atmosphere is pure gothic in style and traditional Andrews. Her wording is a bit stuffier here, as I mentioned before, but it works with Olivia’s personality. Olivia Foxworth led a hellions existence. She lost both her mother and father at a young age and married into a loveless marriage. She never had any friends or boyfriends, and very little family. She was never accepted, loved, or befriended. Eventually, through life's tragedies, her heart turns to stone in order to survive. Garden of Shadows tells the story of a young, innocent, hopeful girl -- wanting more than anything to just be happy, held, and cared for -- being destroyed by the cruel aspects of life and slowly turned into a bitter old woman, always in turmoil and cut off from compassion. Alicia is a sweet character you can’t help but love. She has an innocent air about her, a true beauty and kindness; her type of personality is a lot rarer than the Olivia's of the world. Garland wasn’t always the best husband and father but later in ! life sought to change that and make good for himself and his family. He was a happy man determined to stay that way; he wanted to keep going on bringing joy to those he loved and keep on living a life that was good, since much of his life was not always so carefree. It was hard for me not to sympathize with him. Malcolm Foxworth is a multi-dimensional character, although for most of the book he comes off as overall cruel. His abandonment as a child, and absence from his father, ate away most of his soul long before Olivia’s was taken. He was always searching for a way out, a semblance of peace, and whenever he found it sought to control it at all costs out of fear. His character does some pretty bad things, but at times that little lonely boy, vulnerable and lost, shows up from years past. The pace, unfortunately, is on the choppy side. Andrews had to fit in everything in Olivia’s life, but also provide some slow moments and enough foreshadowing to have it all make sense. So at times things are too rushed, and at other times they’re a bit slow. As is classic with Andrews style, the events are surprising, the ending bittersweet, the characters life rough (she once said in an interview she likes to put her characters through hell) and overall the story interesting. While it did have some flaws, these could be overlooked if you finish it to the end. Because, there, it all makes sense.

  25. 5 out of 5

    christine.

    And it's done. I'm finally free of V.C. Andrews, hooray! I felt wrong leaving the series off without having read the last book, the prequel to Flowers in the Attic. Boy is this a doozy, and it's not a very good one, either. We have more incest, really perverted old men, megalomaniac fathers, slutty bubbleheaded women, and the towering monstrosity that is Olivia Foxworth, the steely grandmamma that is the main antagonist of most of the series. Oh Olivia. I don't know how V.C. wanted me to feel sym And it's done. I'm finally free of V.C. Andrews, hooray! I felt wrong leaving the series off without having read the last book, the prequel to Flowers in the Attic. Boy is this a doozy, and it's not a very good one, either. We have more incest, really perverted old men, megalomaniac fathers, slutty bubbleheaded women, and the towering monstrosity that is Olivia Foxworth, the steely grandmamma that is the main antagonist of most of the series. Oh Olivia. I don't know how V.C. wanted me to feel sympathy for you after sitting through four books of your vengeful evilness. Olivia's the narrator of this one, and even though we're supposed to sympathize with her plight, she's sort of hateful from the very beginning. Shunning everything feminine, she's so severe, austere, and rigid that she makes a lamppost seem warm. We get some cameos from Joel, the evil creepy uncle from the previous books, and John Amos, aka Bible thumper and evil incarnate. Seriously, there are so few likable characters in this novel it's unbelievable. The characters that we're supposed to like (Christopher and the second Corinne) are constantly described as so "perfect" and "wonderful" and "beautiful." Chris and Corinne are Mary Sue/Gary Stues to the max, and I don't know anyone that can relate to that. They become as insufferable as the antagonists. The writing, as usual, is incredibly stilted and immature. It's extremely easy to read, and anyone can blow through this book in less than a week. But some of the sentences are just ridiculously, painfully awkward. And reading it kind of leaves you feeling trashy and used. So this one's definitely not the low point of the series, and it's really interesting to see how the events of Flowers get jumpstarted, but there's nothing particularly interesting or revelationary about it. A resounding meh.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a prequel to "Flowers in the Attic". It reveals the hidden secrets between Olivia and Malcolm Foxworth which explains a lot about their actions in the rest of the series. Now knowing everything that Olivia went through I understand her hatred of beautiful women and her intense belief in God. God was the only thing she had to hold on to, since Malcolm treated her so badly and showed her no love. It really was a tragic story that continued the Dollanganger misfortune. The book comes fu This book is a prequel to "Flowers in the Attic". It reveals the hidden secrets between Olivia and Malcolm Foxworth which explains a lot about their actions in the rest of the series. Now knowing everything that Olivia went through I understand her hatred of beautiful women and her intense belief in God. God was the only thing she had to hold on to, since Malcolm treated her so badly and showed her no love. It really was a tragic story that continued the Dollanganger misfortune. The book comes full circle and shows us why Olivia kept Corrine's children locked up, hidden from the world. She saw in Christopher and Cathy what she had missed seeing in Corrine and Christopher Sr. This isn't my favorite of the series but it is a satisfying beginning to the unbelievable "Flowers in the Attic" series. Along with the twisted plot and conflicting characters, Andrews engages the readers with their relationships and the impending doom of Foxworth Hall. The relationship between Corrine and Christopher is reminiscent of their kids, Christopher Jr. and Cathy. We find out that they are actually half siblings! (Malcolm raped Alicia, his father's second wife who had already had his step-brother, Christopher). The amount of betrayal and corruption in the family is crazy and the fact that it continues to haunt everyone is unreal.

  27. 5 out of 5

    A.L. Waddington

    I finally finished Garden of Shadows, the fifth installment in the Dollanganger Family series. I had to get it from our local library. It is a prequel to the entire series and is probably the most disturbing. This novel is told from the evil grandmother, Olivia’s point of view and explains how she became the way she was when she imprisoned her four grandchildren for over three years. I found it very difficult to feel any sorrow for this heartless woman when she had everything in the world except I finally finished Garden of Shadows, the fifth installment in the Dollanganger Family series. I had to get it from our local library. It is a prequel to the entire series and is probably the most disturbing. This novel is told from the evil grandmother, Olivia’s point of view and explains how she became the way she was when she imprisoned her four grandchildren for over three years. I found it very difficult to feel any sorrow for this heartless woman when she had everything in the world except a faithful husband. With the money she had inherited from her father alone she could have left him at any time with her children and made a better life for all of them. Instead she stays in a loveless marriage with a husband who is emotionally abusive to her and her children. Because of the choices she made she ended up lonely and alone. While this book does explain a lot of why the grandparent’s hatred was so strong, it is sad to think that they took a horrible situation and chose to make it worse. If you have read the first four books then this is a good tie-up for the why’s. It displays the greed of wealth, overindulgence of a selfish child and how some people can never let go of their past to the point that it ruins their future.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mayra

    I found the book somewhat more heart-wrenching than the others, but I seriously did not figure out who Olivia was until the middle, and then it all started to come together. Although some details are inconsistent with those from the other books, it was really interesting to see how it all began. Even though I think Alicia was supposed to annoy you a little, I kind of liked her, and I found her a really pitiful character too, especially when Garland died and she was at the mercy of Malcolm. I did I found the book somewhat more heart-wrenching than the others, but I seriously did not figure out who Olivia was until the middle, and then it all started to come together. Although some details are inconsistent with those from the other books, it was really interesting to see how it all began. Even though I think Alicia was supposed to annoy you a little, I kind of liked her, and I found her a really pitiful character too, especially when Garland died and she was at the mercy of Malcolm. I did notice how V.C. Andrews isn't one to make mild sex scenes. Even when they're not fierce ones, like in My Sweet Audrina when she and Arden have sex over the dead sister's grave, they seem just really vulgar and perverted and not romantic at all. They make it seem like the people are animals. My friends always say I'm a perv because I love reading sex scenes, but for some reason once I get down to it I'm not quite so good at writing them. Okay, something that seriously, seriously irritated me, though. Malcolm the Douche saying to Olivia at the very beginning before she realizes how evil he is: "I won't insult your intelligence and tell you you're beautiful."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    I have no bad things to say about this book whatsoever. It was nice to hear things from the grandmother's perspective, about how things were and how she became the type of person she is today. However, I find a lot of things she said conflicting with the first book from the Dollanganger series. In this book, Olivia seems to be, for the most part, very fond of Christopher and Corrine's relationship. In fact, she seems to embrace it most times. It's John Amos who mostly has a negative outlook on th I have no bad things to say about this book whatsoever. It was nice to hear things from the grandmother's perspective, about how things were and how she became the type of person she is today. However, I find a lot of things she said conflicting with the first book from the Dollanganger series. In this book, Olivia seems to be, for the most part, very fond of Christopher and Corrine's relationship. In fact, she seems to embrace it most times. It's John Amos who mostly has a negative outlook on their spending time together. In fact, I can recall one passage in the book where John Amos is astounded at the way they swim in the lake. In undergarments where body can be seen and Olivia just shrugs it off as "innocent play". According to Corrine in Flowers in the Attics, she and Christopher experienced no luxury of fun. She speaks tales of being whipped, locked into bedrooms, but reading this book would prove bluff. Maybe it's due to the fact that these narrations are perspectives from two different people. Maybe it's a sure example of how Corrine will always lie and exaggerate, I do not know. That is the only problem I have with this book, the disconnecting stories.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sezín Koehler

    What VC Andrews has done with this book is quite brilliant: She's gone to the beginning of the Flowers in the Attic saga and told how things started from the perspective of the grandmother we come to hate in the other books. I feel a bit torn up inside because once seeing things from her perspective -- a far more measured and understandable one that what we've seen in the other installments of this tragedy -- it puts an entirely new spin on this horrific tale. To get the maximum effect of eerie What VC Andrews has done with this book is quite brilliant: She's gone to the beginning of the Flowers in the Attic saga and told how things started from the perspective of the grandmother we come to hate in the other books. I feel a bit torn up inside because once seeing things from her perspective -- a far more measured and understandable one that what we've seen in the other installments of this tragedy -- it puts an entirely new spin on this horrific tale. To get the maximum effect of eerie I would read the books in the order in which they're written (this being the last). But if you're re-reading this series I would start with this volume. Suddenly all the romance and all the justification goes away and what you're left with is one fucking disturbing story. No pun intended.

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