If There Be Thorns is the third book in the Flowers in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews. I’ve already reviewed Flowers in the Attic and the second book, Petals on the Wind. All of these reviews have spoilers so I recommend reading the books before reading my reviews, unless you don’t care about spoilers and are just curious about the series.
Out of the ashes of evil Chris and Cathy made such a loving home for their splendid children…
Fourteen-year-old Jory was so handsome, so gentle. And Bart had such a dazzling imagination for a nine year old.
Then the lights came on in the abandoned house next door. Soon the Old Lady in Black was there, watching their home with prying eyes, guarded by her strange old butler. Soon the shrouded woman had Bart over for cookies and ice cream and asked him to call her “Grandmother.”
And soon Bart’s transformation began…
A transformation that sprang from “the book of secrets” the gaunt old butler had given him… a transformation fed by the hint of terrible things about his mother and father… a transformation that led him into shocking acts of violence, self-destruction and perversity.
And now while this little boy trembles on the edge of madness, his anguished parents, his helpless brother, an obsessed old woman and the vengeful, powerful butler await the climax to a horror that flowered in an attic long ago, a horror whose thorns are still wet with blood, still tipped with fire….
While a necessary part of the series, If There Be Thorns is my least favorite book of the original four. It’s told from the points of view of Cathy’s sons, Jory and Bart. Jory is 14/15 and Bart is 9/10. This book isn’t bad, it’s just not the most entertaining in the series to me. I much prefer Cathy’s point of view, which is how most of the other books are written. Jory and Bart do have their own distinct “voices”, however, and it’s interesting to learn about them and their thoughts. This book covers a crucial part in their lives and really determines how they will be as adults. They find out all of the secrets that Cathy and Chris have tried so hard to keep hidden. This is especially detrimental to Bart’s mental health and will affect him throughout his life. Chris and Cathy also adopt a little girl named Cindy and this negatively impacts Bart even more because he was already struggling to find his place in the family and dealing with mental health issues. The events in this book strongly influence what happens in the next book, Seeds of Yesterday.
I’ll be reviewing Seeds of Yesterday next week! After that I think I’m going to review a book that was sent to me before finishing the entire Flowers in the Attic series, including the spin off books. If you have read this book I’d love to know if you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and have a great day!