Garden of Shadows - V.C. Andrews

Reading Challenge Category: A Re-read

Official Blurb:

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 had waited for, longed for. But in the gloomy mansion filled with hidden rooms and festering desires, a stain of jealous obsession begins to 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!

My Thoughts:

This is the final book in the Dollanganger series and this time we have gone back in time to ‘the grandmother’s’ origin story.
Olivia is an ordinary girl, tall and not much to look at, so when she catches the eye of Malcolm Foxworth, she thinks all of her dreams have come true, and she is loveable after all. She is in for a harsh shock when they start their lives together at Foxworth Hall, and it is the beginning of what will become a harrowing story for the Dresden Dolls, as they will pay the ultimate price in the deception and corruption that begins here.
I didn’t think a story about Olivia was needed, we know what she becomes, but this story does fill us in on the whys and hows. Her sweetness is chipped away at over the years until she is left as nothing more than the grey column of slate that she is in ‘Flowers in the Attic’. There are also a few surprising shocks, so I’m glad there was a book after all.
I did think it was a shame she allowed herself to become such a harsh creature, she loved her own children, and she loved Christopher and Corrine. She could have embraced her grandchildren and had more love and joy in her life. She could have ignored her worries and been happy.
There were quite a few small plot holes mainly concerning John Amos. In this book, he is portrayed as being older than he could have been. When Chris is hiding behind the sofa in ‘Flowers in the Attic’, John comes in and seduces a young girl. He is described as a young man himself; however, his actions and knowledge of the family don’t fit how he is portrayed in this book. Also, in ‘If There Be Thorns’ he waxes lyrical about the God-fearing Malcolm and how he looked up to him, however, it is the opposite, John was the religious one, and he influences both Malcolm and Olivia. I know this was written by the ghostwriter and not Virginia Andrews herself, but it wouldn’t have been difficult to have read the first books first before delving into this one and getting the continuity perfect.
The ending is somewhat rushed; I know we know how it ended as it is how the series begins. However, I wanted more. Olivia’s final transformation happens so quickly; it is hard to believe she manages to keep it up and not succumb to her grandchildren’s wiles. I almost wanted the book to continue to see her full reasoning and emotions throughout the three years the children were locked up. However, this was not meant to be, and the book ends quite abruptly.
I am quite sad to be leaving this world behind once again. I know there are three more books, two centring around Chris’ diaries and one following Corey who isn’t dead. However, none of these were written by Virginia, so I wonder if this is what she intended for Corey? In addition, the reviews for these books are quite abysmal, so I have decided to give them a miss this time around, maybe one day in the future when I reread this series I will give them a go too. However, for now, I bid farewell to this very messed up family.

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Garden of Shadows
by V.C. Andrews
Date Started
1st February 2021
Date Finished
3rd February 2021
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