Written in 1979 by Virginia C. Andrews, who wrote under the pen name V.C. Andrews, Flowers in the Attic is the first book of the Dollanganger series and is still very prominent today. It tells the story of four children, Cathy, Chris, and the twins Cory and Carrie, who are known as the Dresden Dolls due to their fair complexions, light blonde hair, and blue eyes. They get their good looks from their parents, Christopher and Corrine Dollanganger. They live in a very utopian world which causes many to see them as the perfect family… until tragedy strikes.
The children’s utopian world comes crashing down by the sudden death of their father at the beginning of this compelling novel. Due to this tragedy, their mother, Corrine, must go back to her parents’ house in order for the rest of the family to survive. Corrine speaks wonders of her immensely wealthy parents in order to assure the children that they will be better off at their grandparents’ house. The children have never met their grandparents but are promised by their mother that they will live like royalty. This gives them delight because losing their father has meant they have lost everything that went with their utopian world (since their mother cannot even write a check on her own), but what they do not know is that going back comes with a price. It means Corrine must reveal a dark secret she has kept from her children.
V.C. Andrews’ writing style utilizes gothic horror and revolves around family secrets and forbidden love. You’re able to dive into the children’s lives and indulge in every second of their misery as they question right from wrong. It is written from Cathy’s point of view as she goes through the motions of being confined to an attic with her siblings, and as she tries to understand what has possessed their mother to abandon them for the riches of a life she once had.
For a writer in her time, V.C. Andrews was very daring, using controversial issues that caused the novel to be banned in certain areas. Only Andrews could create such a dark novel and have readers asking for more. Luckily, this is the first of four books and a pre-sequel, which truly helps put it all together. The Dollanganger Series, which is her most famous and well known, consists of Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Flowers in the Attic was made into a film in 1987 and was recently made into a Lifetime movie. The movie itself was a huge success, which resulted in making another movie continuing the series and will be out at the end of May.
Virginia C. Andrews (born Cleo Virginia Andrews) was born on June 6, 1923. She was a successful American writer who wrote under the pen name V.C. Andrews in a time where women writers did not have much prestige in such a male dominated profession. Throughout her life, V.C. Andrews had over 24 million books in print which were translated into Dutch, German, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish. Andrews died on December 19, 1986, after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 63 years old.