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Flowers in the Attic – Virginia Andrews Book Review

Flowers in the Attic – Virginia Andrews
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meagre sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed…

‘Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent struggling to stay alive…

Shocking, heart-breaking. Why have I waited so long to read this?

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“Love doesn’t always come when you want it to. Sometimes it just happens, despite your will.”

I did it. I finally read Flowers in the Attic.
I remember being about 12 years old and pulling one after another of mums Virginia Andrews books from the shelf. I read quite a few of them, I loved them all. For some reason, although this book sat there on the shelf with the others, I never did pick it up.
As an adult, I have often heard in my book circles that this story is almost like a right of passage. A book that all teenage girls had read. Then I sort of felt like I had missed out.
I knew the basics of what this book was all about, people said it was bad but I thought to myself that if teenagers read this then it really can’t be so bad, can it?
How wrong I was…
In terms of the plot, the idea is simple and I think that is part of what makes it so awful. A family forever changed after the death of the father. Leaving a mother with four children and no means to take care of them or herself. Losing their home and all their possessions they have to move back in with the parents who disinherited her many years before. You quickly find out the why of it. Slowly discovering piece by piece what Corrine Foxworth did that was so bad as to be disowned by her parents and all the terrible, heartbreaking things she has to do to win back their favour.
As it goes on though it stops being about favour. It is all about money, it is not about the children she claims to love and want to protect. She lives a lavish life while her babies wilt away in a locked room, maturing and slowly dying. This book is dark, seriously dark. It portrays the complete indifference of both the mother and grandmother. It covers the terrible, emotional effects of incest. The extent of abuse and neglect is incredible. It is truly, terrible but it is also brilliant.
This book genuinely broke my heart. I feel like if I had read this as a teenager I may have actually been traumatised. Though I probably would have been red-faced and giggling at the naughty parts (there are quite a lot of those!)
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who has not read it. I think it is well written and thought out with deep characters that really gets you in the feels.
This is the first of a series of four. Look out for my reviews on the rest of the series in the near future.

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