Mother of Dolls (Garden of Shadows – A Book Review)

Garden of Shadows (The Dollangangers #5)
Author: V. C. Andrews
Published: 1986

On Goodreads

GOS

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall…

Before The Dollangangers came to the doorstep of Foxworth Hall, Olivia Winfield, a spinsterish woman, hoped to find love one day. She seeks a love filled with passion and dreams. When all seems lost, she meets Malcolm Foxworth and believes she has finally found joy. He is smart, intense, and handsome, but the moment they marry and she comes to Foxworth Hall, it all changes.

Malcolm is disturbed by the ghost of his mother. Jealousy and obsession spread through the house and Olivia’s hopes dwindle until there is nothing left but the love for her two boys and very beautiful girl, but even that is threatened by Malcolm’s dark wishes for them. In this prequel to Flowers in the Attic, the dark, haunting secrets began.

 

Reviews to The Dolls here:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

Seeds of Yesterday

 

This book really changed up my feelings about the Foxworths and the Dolls. This book changed everything about its predecessors. I. WAS. SHOOK. I know that while reading the last two books of this series, I felt like it had begun to decline, but this one definitely amped it all back up. I couldn’t put this down. I know people say that a lot, but seriously, this book had me hooked on every dark twist and disturbing reveal.

Olivia Winfield, the evil grandmother of Foxworth Hall that is partly responsible for imprisoning the four Dolls in the attic for years is our main character. This is her story and let me tell you, I was stunned. Discovering how she came to marry Malcolm Foxworth and became a mother was nothing like I imagined. I assumed she was naturally cold and cruel, but she wasn’t. Olivia wasn’t actually the devil at all in the beginning. Like most women, she wanted love and to raise a wonderful family. Inch by painful inch, Malcolm stripped that away from her. From cheating to assault, Olivia’s hopes withered. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Foxworths is here.

This view of Foxworth Hall was terrifying. This beautiful house is not just a house. It’s historical. Everything I ever had questions about was answered within its walls. How did Olivia become afraid of the attic? How did Corrine come into the world and why did Olivia feel such disdain for her? When did John Amos arrive at Foxworth Hall? One of the most important and vital bits that rocked me to the core was that The Dolls were not the first to be locked up in the attic.

shocked

There were a few characters that made an appearance that have only been mentioned before. Malcolm’s father, Garland and his beautiful wife Alicia came to Foxworth Hall. Both of them were nothing as I imagined. So in love, but quickly contaminated by Malcom. The kids: Malcolm, Joel, and Corrine. Their dreams were painfully taken away. Each of these characters’ stories were eye-opening and I mean that in the sense that it was eye-opening with fear. From everything that’s told in the previous books about them it’s all different. Olivia sheds so much light and shadow on everything about this family and how it became so dark, most importantly she gives the truth. And it was DARK. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough.

horrified

 

This was such a great novel and it really brought the Dolls’ story full circle. The questions that idled in my mind about The Dolls and Foxworths were answered. I still wish I knew a little bit more about certain parts because I did feel unfulfilled here and there. Overall, this really completes the series and is a must-read.

 

Quotables:

“Life is very much like a garden, Olivia. And people are like tiny seeds, nurtured by love and friendships and caring. And if enough time and care are spent, they bloom into gorgeous flowers. And sometimes, even an old neglected plant left in a yard gone to seed will unexpectedly burst into blossom. These are the most precious, the most cherished blossoms of all. You will be that sort of flower, Olivia. It may take time, but your flowering will come.” (Mr. Winfield to Olivia, p. 6)

“When you search the shadows to find that truth, often you find things more horrible, more painful than you would have imagined.” (Mr. Winfield to Olivia, p. 52)

“You can’t command nature, Malcolm. Nature is neither your servant, nor mine.” (Olivia to Malcolm, p. 85)

“Life makes you strong. If you don’t let it make you strong, it will kill you…” (Olivia to Alicia, p. 166)

“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” (John Amos, p. 347)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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New Dolls to Play With (Seeds of Yesterday – A Book Review)

Seeds of Yesterday
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1984

On Goodreads

SOY

 

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

They escaped their mother’s hellish trap years ago, but a cruel history of lies and deceit has come full circle…

The secrets of the attic are brought forth to the next generation of Dollangangers. Bart invites his parents, Cathy and Chris, to stay at his home to which he’s had renovated to look nearly identical to the original Foxworth Hall the kept them captive for years, to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Even though all of the children are fully grown and Cathy and Chris have taken on brand new last names, the beautiful and spacious place plays with Cathy’s nightmarish memories. With Bart turning viler towards his family, the dark secrets of Foxworth come full circle as the Dollangangers try to get past them and the tragedies that keep them imprisoned.

 

Real quick, I’m so sorry with how late this review is. I usually always try to get one up every one to two days, but work has been an energy sucker. Love you, booknerds. You’re truly awesome. I’m happy you’re here. Now on with the review!

 

This is the fourth book to The Dollangangers and V.C. Andrews is still keeping me twisted up. This series has really flung me around. I’ve never been more disturbed, though I must say, this one was much less twisted compared to the previous books. The focus during this book is for The Dolls to heal and the journey to finally achieve that after everything they’ve been through: getting locked up in an attic for their childhood and get abused by their grandmother, seeking revenge for that loss of innocence, The Dolls nearly losing their children to their mother and a psychotic butler. And that’s just the shortened bits. Trust me, if you haven’t read the books, I haven’t really given any spoilers away.

Reviews of the other Dollanganger books:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

 The next generation of the Dolls are grown up. Jory is a famous ballet dancer, just like his mother once was. Cindy is in private school and well on her way to being an actress. Bart is just waiting impatiently to inherit what is rightfully his, the fortune left to him by his grandmother.

One of my favorite things about this is that I’m a big fan of going into a new generation. It’s so fun to watch characters grow up and see where they go. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a story pushed forward. In this case, it was more nerve-wracking because this isn’t your typical book. Happiness is always short-lived and the secrets creep and slither like vines or snakes, leaving me really uneasy because I’m never sure when more nastiness is about to happen. The whole point, making this another great entry to the series.

Thumbs Up

The suffering of each Doll child is greatly expressed and really broke my heart. Granted, after reading If There Be Thorns, I expected the damage to be more apparent. The development of the psychological damage within Jory, Bart, and Cindy, and how it shaped them later on was spectacular. What a way to reach out to some real human issues like manipulation and self-esteem and bullying. Long term consequences, people.

The imagery is still wonderful, always capturing my brain. Seeing Foxworth Hall all over again was chilling! I was half expecting the ghost of the grandmother (Freaking evil Olivia.) to be floating around. Cathy once again takes the story by the wheel, steering me with her trembling fears. Seeing her more in touch with her emotions than ever before was gutting me. At this point, she’s barely hanging on. She’s not bent on revenge anymore, but desperate to help her family. And with all of that I’m just like,

SOY

But then there’s, her beyond disturbed son, Bart and he is just…well…the guy is a jerk! WORSE THAN THAT! And well, grrrr. A devil in human skin. Some of the things he said were just downright evil and disgusting, especially about women, leaving me like this after every single time he opened his mouth.

BS

I will say this. Bart is not the antagonist. Not really. Like the rest of the Dolls, he too is tied up in the dark secrets of Foxworth, and possibly is the worst effected. I still don’t like him.

I’m still drawn in and hypnotized by the language. It’s beautiful and makes the characters truly stand out as individuals. The story is vivid and strong. I can’t say often that language stands out to me the most in a book, but it really did for me this time. Very beautiful in a haunting story.

 

Do I recommend this book? Of course! The whole series is a great read. It’s filled with toil and darkness and some seriously effed up shit. It’s nothing you’d expect. Having known a lot about the series before reading it, I was still shocked. I can’t wait to read more of Andrews’s works, though not so much the stuff after her passing. I read The Mirror Sisters trilogy and while it wasn’t terrible, it didn’t really compare to this.

 

Quotables:

“I no longer believed in fairytales.” (Cathy, p.3)

“If I am so unlucky as to lose you first, I’ll sit day by day before a window staring out and remembering how it used to be with you.” (Cathy to Chris, p. 84)

“Foxworth Hall had trapped us again.” (Cathy, p. 135)

“Don’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? Do you sense this house is breathing, like it has a life of its own?” (Melodie to Cathy, p. 158)

“Hope…in this house of dark misery we were always clinging to hope we colored yellow—like the sun we seldom seen.” (Cathy, p. 203)

“To have blind faith in anyone but God is idiotic.” (Bart to Cathy, p. 334)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers.

 

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Come to the Dark Side…I Have Cake (If There Be Thorns – A Book Review)

If There Be Thorns
Author: V.C. Andrews
Published: 1981

On Goodreads

ITBT

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

They hide the shocking truth to protect their children. But someone who knows their dark secret is watching.

Jory is fourteen and on his way to being an amazing ballet dancer, just like his mom. Bart has a wild imagination for a nine year old, always going off and having amazing adventures. Then came Cindy, a gift that Cathy has been wishing for for years.

Years have passed, Cathy and Christopher have finally found love in one another and married. They have a lovely home with their children and it’s what they have always dreamed of, but then an elderly woman completely veiled in black and her strange butler move into the large house next door that’s been empty for a long time. Soon, Bart is lured over and starts to spend most of his time with her. He changes with each visit, growing angry and violent with his family. Jory watches on, trying to figure out how he can help his little brother, but then he overhears Mom and Dad talking about an attic and how they can’t relive those days, leaving Jory with even more questions.

 

This was a good turn in The Dollanganger series. I really enjoyed this! It was a new take in it and really changed things up. There’s a brand new story, but still, the dreadful past remains at The Dolls’ heels, haunting them and now their children.

First things first, I loved that this was from a new set of POVs. Jory and Bart are the next generation of The Dolls and they have their own story. They’re not the same as Cathy and Chris, but they also have their own tribulations because of what they did in the past. It was refreshing and just absolutely fantastic. I felt as if the story was beginning to feel stale, but this helped revive it for me.

The setting was new, there were new characters and I was just as invested as I was with Flowers in the Attic. You really believe that The Dolls are going to have the happy life they deserve after everything they’ve been through. Of course, it’s short lived. Though I won’t give away spoilers, I will say that there were a lot of twists and turns I didn’t expect. Redemption was found and what was once burned and buried came back to get The Dolls in the worst way, through their children. It was heartbreaking and actually scary because tiny humans are easily manipulated.

ITBT

The remnants of Foxworth Hall still follows The Dolls and you feel that heavily as Bart grows close the old woman in black. As it turns out, she knows The Dolls really well and can tell Bart the truth about them. While this made my eyes bulge out of my head in horror, the true enemy is John Amos, the butler who secretly sways him down a dark path. The old man was seriously creepy and kept the dark Foxworth name alive by whispering in Bart’s ear, turning him against his family. Doing that to a child who’s already feeling like an outsider is a really nasty thing! As if The Dolls didn’t have enough problems! Leave the babies alone!

ITBT

The book was pretty good. I started to lose interest after the last book, but this pulled me right back in. The story moved forward and I love a story that can move forward, but keep it in the family. This still kept with the uneasiness and dark twists that is very central to this series, but showed that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Quotables:

“Blind means black as pitch. No colors. No music. No nothin. Dead is silence.” (Bart to Jory, p. 33)

“Nobody could like me, for I didn’t belong here, and I didn’t belong there. I didn’t belong anywhere.” (Bart, p. 94)

“Crooked days make crooked ways.” (Bart to Jory, p. 155)

“Jory, take lesson number one in my philosophy course: Nobody ever does anything for anyone else unless it gives them even more.” (Marisha to Jory, p. 263)

“Life is always like that—twenty minutes of misery for every two seconds of joy.” (Marisha to Jory, p. 318)

 

more to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Unwell by Matchbox Twenty.

 

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