Genre: Mystery, Romance, Drama, Gothic Horror Publication.Date May 20th 2014 Pages: 448 Published By: Gallery Books Author V.C. Andrews Petals on the Wind on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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For Carrie, Chris and Cathy the attic was a dark horror that would not leave their minds.
Of course mother had to pretend they didn't exist and grandmother was convinced they had the devil in them.
But that wasn't their fault. Was it?
Cathy knew what to do. She knew it was time to show her mother and grandmother that the pain and terror of the attic could not be forgotten...Show them. Show them -- once and for all.
Angel, saint, Devil's spawn, good or evil, you've got me pinned to the wall and labeled as yours until the day I die. And if you die first, then it won't be long before I follow.
Life offers more than one chance, Cathy, you know that.
Beauty thinks it needs no talent and can feed on itself, so it soon dies.
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.
I sighed, he sighed, the wind and flowers sighed too. I think those marble statues sighed along as well, in their lack of understanding the human condition
The Times Magazine called Petals on the Wind "an artfully twisted modern fairytale" and it's hard to disagree with that statement. Dark, shocking and spellbinding, it's a fabulous tale of forbidden love, lust, abandonment, abuse and revenge - the last one being the leading theme of this volume of Dollanganger series. I won't even try to deny it, I'm completely addicted to this insane little saga!
"How young we were the day we escaped. How exuberantly alive we should have felt to be freed, at last, from such a grim, lonely and stifling place. How pitifully delighted we should have been to be riding on a bus that rumbled slowly southward. But if we felt joy, we didn't show it. We sat, all three, pale, silent, staring out the windows, very frightened by all we saw."
After long years of being locked in the creepy, dark attic of a gothic Virginia mansion, Cathy, Chris and Carrie are finally free. Their freedom tastes bitter, though, as their lives have been irrevocably altered by the unspeakable cruelty and hatred with which they've been treated by their own family members. And that's not something you can just forgive and forget. Not something you can easily move away from...
We meet them again as they're travelling on a Florida-bound bus, determined to start afresh some place better. Before they can get to Florida, though, Carrie falls very ill. Suffering from arsenic poisoning, she begins vomiting and eventually passes out, and the older siblings are forced to get off the bus and seek help for her. Luckily, a kind, mute maid comes to their aid, leading them to her employer, doctor Sheffield. Paul Sheffield, a lonely 40-year-old widower, takes them in and offers them shelter, education and parental guidance. His house becomes their new home and for the first time since being locked in the attic, they have a chance at a normal life. As it turns out, though, you can take the kids out of the attic, but you can't take the attic out of the kids.. All three Dollanganger kids are plagued by the attic-inspired nightmares and they are struggling to move on. Cathy is obsessed with revenge. Chris is obsessed with Cathy. And Carrie, poor little Carrie, is deformed, weak and broken inside. Can the "legacy of evil" and the long years of abuse ever be overcome? Or is there no going back after all that happened?
"I was fifteen. The year was 1960, and it was November. I wanted everything, needed everything, and I was so terribly afraid I'd never in all my life find enough to make up for what I had already lost. I sat tense, ready to scream if one more bad thing happened. Like a coiled fuse attached to a time bomb, I knew that sooner or later explode and bring down all those who lived in Foxworth Hall!"
Oh Cathy, you twisted little witch. How I adore thee, though you definitely give me the creeps. Cathy is such a fascinating, multi-layered character. There is so much going on in her head and heart, she is definitely an interesting and entertaining character to follow, and I'm so glad that the Dollanganger books are written from her perspective. She might not be an easy heroine to like, moreover, it's quite possible her thoughts and actions will make you very, very disturbed, but hey, let's not kid ourselves, that is precisely why we reach for Andrews' books, am I right? All the juicy and gasp worthy scenes loaded with sexual tension, all the forbidden fruits served on a deliciously Gothic platter, all the shocking abuse, incest and other taboo topics Andrews so boldly explores in her novels... We might gasp and shake our heads in pretend disgust, but we keep on reading anyway. Why? Because it's entertaining and we enjoy it! Who doesn't like a good guilty-pleasure read every now and then?
Cathy is only a teenager (she is 15 at the start of Petals) but she is already striking, and she knows it. And she uses her looks to her advantage. She plays the role of seductress. And she is so good at it, it's scary! No one can resist her beauty and her various sexual encounters are testament to that. Her twisted personality does not inspire sympathy, though. She's calculating, overly dramatic and often acts very selfish. Her mood swings can be pretty tiring and she is seemingly incapable of ever taking responsibility for her own actions ("It's all mother's fault!"). Forming healthy relationships is another thing Cathy is incapable of. From her sexual relationship with Paul who is more than twice her age, to the abusive relationship with the arrogant Julian, she often finds herself in situations no 15-year-old girl should ever experience, let alone actively seek. And yet, despite her wicked ways and twisted reasoning, she is utterly bewildering.
"How can I find anyone else, when you've been bred into my bones - and are part of my flesh? Your blood runs fast when mine does! Your eyes burn when mine do - don't deny it!"
While Cathy hates her mother with burning passion and would give just about anything to see her suffer, Chris is a whole different story. He still loves their mother, even after all the pain and suffering she has caused them, even despite the fact that she had tried to kill them all for money, and even though she is the main reason why Cory is dead. Both Cathy and Chris are obsessed with their mother, though for completely different reasons. For Cathy it's revenge, for Chris unhealthy adoration and a bit of an Oedipus complex. One might wonder if his love and passion for Cathy does not steam - at least partly - from the fact that she is an almost mirror like reflection of their mother.
The forbidden kisses and touches continue throughout the book, though Cathy seems determined to put an end to their "unnatural love" and force Chris to move on and find someone else. He's one incredibly handsome young man, though, and it's not always easy to resist the temptation. Bound together by years of suffering in isolation, these two continue to struggle with their feelings and sexual urges.
"I was an instrument of yearning, filled with a ravenous desire for romantic fulfillment."
Petals on The Wind is just as entertaining and disturbing as Flowers in the Attic, and I have loved every single page of it. It's a guilty-pleasure kind of read, but one that actually stays with you for quite some time after you put it down. Fast-paced and often times completely mind-blowing, it's a page-turner of a book, even if it's just a little bit (ok, a lot!) over the top at times. The writing is exceptionally compelling and quite beautiful, the descriptions evocative and seductive and the characters - even the supporting cast - fleshed out just enough to make the story believable, and, therefore, very unsettling. And guys, that ending! So satisfying and worth waiting for! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am seriously dying for more!
About the movie:
FICTION INTO FILM: Pick up Petals on the Wind May 20th and watch the movie May 26th!
WATCH: The movie trailer, and tune in to Lifetime on Monday, May 26th, 9:00 pm ET to watch the World Premier of Petals on the Wind!
ENTER TO WIN: Go to the Pocket Books Facebook page beginning May 20th to enter the sweepstakes for a prize pack of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind, and the Flowers in the Attic DVD. Visit right before tuning into Petals on the Wind late May for the sweepstakes giveaway (date to be announced)!
Petals on the Wind cast:
Heather Graham as Corrine
Ellen Burstyn as Olivia
Dylan Bruce as Bart
Rose McIver as Young Cathy (played by Kiernan Shipka in Flowers in the Attic)
Wyatt Nash as Christopher (played by Mason Dye in Flowers in the Attic)
Get excited, the sequel to Flowers in the Attic is coming to Lifetime very soon! You know what that means? More drama, more gut-wrenching shockers and more stunning performances from both old and new actors and actresses! Can't wait to watch it, May 26th can't come fast enough! I mean, come on, just look at that trailer!