Synopsis from back cover: Long before terror flowered in the attic, thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. At last, with her tall handsome husband, she would find the joy she had waited for, longed for. But in the gloomy mansion filed with hidden rooms and festering desires, a stain of jealous obsession begins to spread...an evil that will threaten her children, two lovely boys and one very special, beautiful girl. For within one innocent child, a shocking secret lives...a secret that will taint the proud Foxworth name, and haunt all their lives forever!
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Pocket Books, 1987.
How acquired: Acquired through BookCrossing.
My thoughts: After having read all the books in the Dollanganger saga, some enjoyable, some forgettable, I looked forward to going back in time with this prequel to see how the Grandmother came to be the cold formidable woman who would hide her grandchildren away in an attic. And while it's certainly not great literature, it is a quick and engrossing story.
We meet Olivia just prior to her first meeting with Malcolm, living with her father and taking care of his accounts, longing for love but despairing of her plain looks and tall stature that turns off would be suitors. Malcolm coming into her life seems like a dream come true, as he looks past all the outside trappings and is interested in the real Olivia. After a very quick courtship, they marry and he takes her to Foxworth Hall. Little does she know – though she quickly finds out-- he has no actual interest in her as a person, but just wanted a wife to run his home and give him lots of children.
V.C. Andrews apparently only had one voice to write in, as Olivia's narration is just like Cathy's in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. Olivia and Cathy are very different characters of course, as Cathy was beautiful and beloved and well aware of it. But it still felt like reading Cathy again at times. And teenage Corrine is very reminiscent of Cathy's adopted daughter Cindy in later books.
But if you just go with everything that happens, it's quite an adequate story to while away an afternoon with.