I am very happy I did not purchase a hard cover / paperback for the next book in the Dollanger series after reading Flowers in the Attic * Book 1 * V.C. Andrews Book review. I went with an e-Book and I wanted to scream and trash and burn away every shread of technology that kept this copy. It was such a shitty book… Solid 0.1/5
This book was probably released a year apart from the original story just to cash in on the fame. It was so terribly written that it somehow soiled my first impression of Flowers in the Attic.
Petals on the Wind picks up immediately where Flowers in the Attic left off: with Cathy, Chris, and Carrie traveling to Florida after escaping Foxworth Hall. Still weak from the effects of the poison that killed her twin Cory, Carrie gets sick on the bus. Henrietta “Henny” Beech, a mute African-American woman, rescues them and takes them to the home of her employer, 40-year-old widower Dr. Paul Sheffield of Clairmont, South Carolina. At first the children refuse to reveal their identities, but once Cathy is convinced that Paul genuinely cares and might be able to help them, she tells him their story. Paul, a single middle-aged man, decides to adopt the three siblings and offer them the best life possible. Yes. Who would not immediately adopt three siblings who show up at your doorsteps with signs of arsenic poisoning?
From here on the crap begins… As Cathy matures into a young and seductive teen, she finds herself followed by the yearning eyes of her brother who wants to pursue the incestuous relationship they were forced into during their attic imprisonment (yuck), by the eyes of their adoptive father, Paul Sheffield, who feels that his bed would benefit from the warmth of a 15 year old teen (yuck) and by her co-star from the dance school – who at least was un-related but still a prick.
So, Cathy does what she does to escape her brother’s incestuous love and goes off and seduces Mr. Sheffield who she later abandons after a brief appearance of his sister and one offside remark she made in order to run off with her co-star and immediately get married. Yep, she gets married to a man she does not love, all to escape two other men.
“Don’t cry stop,” he murmured, caressing and stroking me, “all my life I’ve had nothing but frustrations. I try to love others, but it’s always you . . . you, whom I can never have! Cathy . . . leave Julian! Come away with me! We’ll go to some distant place, where no one knows us, and together we can live as man and wife. We won’t have any children . . . I’ll see to that. We can adopt babies. You know we make good parents . . . you know we love each other and always will! Nothing can change that! You can run from me and marry twelve other men, but your heart is in your eyes when you look at me—it’s me you want—as I want you!”
He was carried away with his own persuasions and wouldn’t listen to my weak words.
“Cathy, just to hold you, to have you again! This time I’ll know how to give you the pleasure I couldn’t before—please, if you ever loved me—leave Julian before he destroys us both!”
This coming from the girl who told herself she will never depend on a man like her mother did!
Oh, she repeats constantly how every bad decision she made was due to her mother. She made bad choices, mother was to blame for imprisoning them in the attic. This goes on through the length of the book making me just skip over entire chapters which were nothing more than rants.
“I watched the jealousy between them grow, and felt it was none of my fault–only Momma’s! As everything wrong in my life was her fault.
Chris goes off to med school, but still goes creepy around his sister and makes inappropriate comments. Paul Sheffield eventually finds out about the marriage but there is nothing he can do except offer his congratulations and explain what his sister meant when he meets his runaway lover and adoptive daughter again.
“I want you to understand that what is black to one person is white to another. And nothing in this world is so perfect that it is pure white, or so bad it is pure black. Everything concerning human beings comes in shades of gray, Carrie.”
Of course that Cathy regrets her rash decision and of course her new husband, Julian, realizes he was just with a woman who did not love him. So he starts hitting her and rapes her on one occasion. And hides her passport. Despite these clear signs of an abusive relationship, Cathy lets herself be told by Julian’s mother that she should stay in the relationship as poor baby Julian was not loved by his parents when growing up so she should be the one to give him the love he deserves.
“You are an intriguing combination, half child, half seductress, half angel.”
I laughed sort and bitterly. “That’s what all men like to think about women. Little girls they have to take care of–when I know for a fact it is the male who is more boy than man.”
She returns to Julian only to find him with a mistress and in a spite move, he steps hard on her feet, ruining her career as a ballerina. Like WTF! WTF! I would have smashed his face for this. But hey, she still finds excuses for him but not for long as the author decides she has had enough of this drama and guess what happens?
Julian and his mistress get into a car crash and Julian commits suicide shortly after finding out he was never to dance again. So Cathy is free to roam around again and pregnant with Julian’s child. Again she blames her mother for this. Hmmm… issues.
She then proceeds to pursue her mother’s new husband, who was an attorney at law, and when he hits on her she plays hard to get until one evening, over dinner, things go too far and she gets raped again. When he finishes, he promises to come again next evening and asks her to cook something better… Instead of calling the police, she lets him into the house and starts off a new relationship with her mother’s husband. She thinks that the best revenge would be to get him to divorce her mother and marry her instead. I see issues again…
She gets pregnant on purpose and in order to create more drama, the author kills off the poor, underdeveloped younger sisters. She commits suicide by eating arsenic poisoned doughnuts when her new fiancee confesses he wants to become a minister…. Psychological trauma again? Or not. Just the author needing to give Cathy another reason to blame her mother.
So when the mother, Corrine, returns into the picture – younger after some face lifts and liposuction, Cathy finds out that her affair is in peril as the husband can no longer pick between his long-esteemed rich wife and the young pregnant mistress.
If you think this book could not be more melodrama, you are so wrong. Cathy goes off to find a dress like her mother’s from years ago, cuts her hair like her mother’s and in a scene like the movie Single White Female, she becomes her mother as she was 15 years ago. During her Christmas bash, she barges in and announces all the tragedy that happened years ago and confronts the mother face to face along with the grandma and the lover. The scenes are quite well done, revealing some weak characters all about, the greed of the mother, the lies and deceit and when all words seem to have been spoken, Chris comes on cue to his sister’s side. He comes with news but he is enough to trigger a psychological collapse in his mother, who burns down the Foxworth Hall house and kills her husband and mother in the process.
“All you need do is say good-bye to yesterday’s loves, and hello to the new. Look around and see who needs you most and you won’t go wrong. Forget who needed you yesterday.”
I see that Virginia Andrews wanted Cathy alone with two kids from two dead lovers…
The ending is quite bland. Mother gets committed into an insane asylum, Cathy marries Paul Sheffield, her adoptive dad, and while giving birth to her step-dad’s child, she becomes sterile. Paul Sheffield dies in three years due to cancer and Cathy finally gets together with her brother (yuck) and they both move to another city as husband and wife.
The Good Bits:
A story about revenge is great. The show-off at the end did bring some resolution – bitter as it might have been
The Bad Bits:
Too many! Plot was forced throughout. Incestuous relationships which are not constrained by no other alternative and inside a hamster cage are not OK. This is not the Lannisters.. this is Cathy making whory decisions and then blaming them on her mother.
“Little girls get hurt when they play grown-up games.”
For a woman who talked about being independent and making a name for herself and not needing a man, she went from bed to bed and barely did anything other than spew out two children and marry her brother.
“What women wanted to be eaten alive, choked by a thrusting tongue? Not me, I wanted to be played like a violin, strummed pianissimo, in largo timing, fingered into legato, and let it grow into crescendo.”