I don’t even know why I try with V.C. Andrews’ books anymore. I go into them so optimistically and I’m always disappointed; the ones written after 2005, that is. My latest hot garbage read is Secret Brother, the last “sequel” to Flowers in the Attic. There were three books written in a spin off type series after the five original books. I have reviewed all five of the originals but not the other books in this spin off series. I do own and have read the first two, Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth and Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger. I honestly don’t remember much about either of them but it’s not necessary to read them to understand what’s going on in this book. After the synopsis, I’ll get into why this book is a waste of paper. This review will contain spoilers for this book and Flowers in the Attic.
The most unexpected Dollanganger story of them all…
An elderly man loses his grandson in the same ER where a young boy is dropped off and left for dead. Moved by the plight of the traumatized child with no home and no memory, he takes the boy to his vast estate to recover and raise alongside his granddaughter, who becomes enraged at her grandfather’s actions and ashamed of her “secret brother.” But while the boy doesn’t remember where he came from or who his family is, their presence lingers in the shadows like ghosts of the past. A past he might be better off leaving in the darkness.
I went into this book knowing nothing more than what I read in the synopsis. I was hopeful that it was going to be a continuation of Jory, Bart and Cindy’s stories, ya know, what fans of this series would actually want. Nope. What we have here is a story about the whiniest 16 year old girl, Clara Sue.
If you’ve read any of the later Andrews’ books, Clara Sue is the same type of main character that has been in all of them. Andrew Neiderman, V.C. Andrews’ ghostwriter, has been writing the same female characters for 20 years and just changing their names. She’s rich (obvs), stuck up, has no patience for other kids her age and speaks like a wealthy 80 year old woman. She’s unbelievably boring and that’s all there is to really say about Clara Sue.
As for her younger brother, Willie, he’s killed at the beginning of the book. I feel like we, the reader, are supposed to be really upset about this. However, he’s in the story for like two pages. You don’t get to know him enough to even care.
Now, let’s discuss the “big twist” in this book. I wonder who the mysterious poisoned boy could be… Here’s a hint, he was poisoned by ingesting arsenic covered doughnuts.
You see, the timeline in this book is very ambiguous. I had no idea if the setting was the 1950’s or today. All of Neiderman’s characters speak with the same voice so it’s impossible to tell. I didn’t realize that this book takes place in the same timeline as Flowers in the Attic until about halfway through so it took me a little longer to realize who the poisoned boy was. The boy is Cory. The same Cory who died in Flowers in the Attic. Neiderman decided to completely change the original story line and that’s where I stopped reading. I rarely DNF a book but I already disliked the characters, was bored with the story line and with as stupid of a twist as that, I was done.
I do not recommend you read this book or any of Neiderman’s newer releases. He’s pushing out books at a rate of two or three a year. He either needs to retire or slow down and focus on writing something decent. If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to know what you think about them. Also, what is your favorite V.C. Andrews’ book? Thanks for reading and have a great day!