Broken Wings (Broken Wings Series #1)

( 40 )

Overview

Three girls from different worlds with one thing in common: They were born to be wild.
Robin...With a mom who's more absorbed in her singing career than in her own daughter, Robin's left to her own devices when the two move to Nashville. That's where her mom hopes to strike gold — and where Robin finds nothing but trouble.
Teal...This rich girl will do anything to get her parents' attention...even break the law. But after she takes things too ...

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Overview

Three girls from different worlds with one thing in common: They were born to be wild.
Robin...With a mom who's more absorbed in her singing career than in her own daughter, Robin's left to her own devices when the two move to Nashville. That's where her mom hopes to strike gold — and where Robin finds nothing but trouble.
Teal...This rich girl will do anything to get her parents' attention...even break the law. But after she takes things too far for the guy she adores, Teal loses their trust completely — and is treated like a prisoner in her own home. Now there may be only one way out.
Phoebe...She's the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to make it in a fast new crowd. She moved in with her aunt to make a fresh start. But now her biggest mistake may be to trust a charming rich boy who could ruin her life and destroy her reputation forever.
Meet Robin, Teal, and Phoebe again in the exciting sequel to Broken Wings — look for Midnight Flight, coming soon from V.C. Andrews® and Pocket Star Books!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671039974
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 4/29/2003
  • Series: Broken Wings Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 694,894
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

V. C. Andrews

V.C. Andrews® has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of Flowers in the Attic, which was followed by four more Dollanganger family novels: Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than seventy novels in V.C. Andrews’s bestselling series, which have sold more than 106 million copies and have been translated into more than twenty-five foreign languages.

Biography

"The face of fear I display in my novels is not the pale specter from the sunken grave, nor is it the thing that goes bump in the night," V. C. Andrews once told Douglas E. Winter. "Mine are the deep-seated fears established when we are children, and they never quite go away: the fear of being helpless, the fear of being trapped, the fear of being out of control."

Andrews's novel Flowers in the Attic launched the popular genre sometimes dubbed "children in jeopardy" -- stories about young people abused, lied to, and preyed upon by their evil guardians. The author's own childhood was not nearly so lurid, though it did have an element of tragedy: As a teenager she had a bad fall, which resulted in the development of bone spurs. A botched surgery, combined with arthritis, forced her to use a wheelchair or crutches for the rest of her life.

Andrews lived with her mother and worked as a commercial artist until the 1970s, when she began to write in earnest. Most of her early stories and novels went unpublished (one exception was "I Slept with My Uncle on My Wedding Night," which appeared in a pulp confession magazine). Finally, in 1979, Flowers in the Attic made it into print. The book soared to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was followed by two equally successful sequels, Petals on the Wind and If There Be Thorns. Critics weren't always kind -- a Washington Post reviewer wrote that Flowers in the Attic "may well be the worst book I have ever read" -- but that didn't matter to millions of Andrews's readers, who devoured her gruesome fairy tales as fast as she could pen them.

As E. D. Huntley points out in V. C. Andrews: A Critical Companion, Andrews's novels fit neatly into the "female Gothic" tradition, in which an innocent young woman is trapped in an isolated mansion and persecuted by a villain. Andrews's own contribution was to take some of the themes implicit in early Gothic novels -- incest, sexual jealousy, and obsession -- and make them sensationally explicit in her works.

As most of her fans know by now, V. C. Andrews died in 1986, but new V. C. Andrews books keep popping up on the bestseller lists. That's because the Andrews estate hired a ghost writer, Andrew Neiderman, to continue writing books in the late author's style. Andrews's heirs have been cagey about just how much unfinished work she left behind when she died, but testimony during a 1993 tax case suggested that Andrews had only completed a portion of Garden of Shadows, the eighth book (out of more than 50) published under her name.

Still, even if the vast majority of "V. C. Andrews" books weren't actually written by V. C. Andrews, many of her fans are happy to have her tradition carried on. Neiderman has drawn on Andrews's novels, notebooks, and drawings for inspiration. "Don't make this sound weird," he once said in a Washington Post interview, "but sometimes I do feel possessed." To the original V. C. Andrews, who believed in precognition and reincarnation, it probably wouldn't sound weird at all.

Good To Know

Andrews wrote nine novels before Flowers in the Attic, including a science fantasy titled The Gods of the Green Mountain. Later, when she was a bestselling novelist, she wanted to try her hand at different kinds of fiction, but her publisher discouraged her. "I am supposed to stay in this niche, whatever it is, because there is so much money in it," she told Douglas Winter. "I mean, I have tapped a gold mine and they don't want to let go of it. I don't like that, because I want to branch out."

Though V. C. Andrews went by the name Virginia, her birth name was Cleo Virginia Andrews, not Virginia Cleo Andrews. She had planned to publish her books under the name Virginia Andrews, but her first publisher printed Flowers in the Atticas the work of "V. C. Andrews" in hopes that the gender-neutral name would make the book appealing to male readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Cleo Virginia Andrews
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 6, 1923
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, Virginia
    1. Date of Death:
      December 19, 1986
    2. Place of Death:
      Virginia Beach, Virginia

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Jerked into the Night

"Wake up, Robin!" I heard my mother say. I felt myself being rocked hard.

At first I thought the rocking was in my dream, a dream so deep I had to swim up to consciousness like a diver from the ocean floor. Each time my mother shook my shoulder, I drew closer and closer to the surface, moaning.

"Quiet!" she ordered. "You'll wake Grandpa and Grandma and I'll have my hands full of spilt milk. Darn it, Robin. I told you what time we were headin' outta here. You haven't even finished packin'," she said.

My suitcase was open on the floor, some of my clothes still beside it. Mother darling had insisted I not begin until after I supposedly went to bed last night. My mother said I couldn't bring but one suitcase of my things, and it was hard to decide what to take and not to take. She needed everything of hers because she was going to be a country singing star and had to have her outfits and all her boots and every hat as well as half a suitcase of homemade audiotapes she thought would win the admiration of an important record producer in Nashville.

I sat up and pressed my palms over my cheeks, patting them like Grandpa always did when he put on aftershave lotion. The skin on my face was still asleep and felt numb. My mother stood back and looked at me with her small nose scrunched, which was something she always did when she was very annoyed. She also twisted her full lips into her cheek. She had the smallest mouth for someone who could sing as loudly as she could, but most women envied her lips. I know that some of her friends went for collagen shots to get theirs like hers.

Everyone said we looked like sisters because I had the same petite features, the same rust-colored hair, and the same soft blue eyes. Nothing she heard pleased her more. The last thing she wanted to be known as was my mother, or anyone's mother for that matter. She was thirty-two years old this week, and she was convinced she had absolutely her last chance to become a singing star. She said she had to pass me off as her younger sister or she wouldn't be taken seriously. I was sixteen last month, and she wanted everyone, especially people in show business, to believe she was just in her mid-twenties.

Although I was closer to one of her idols, Dolly Parton, than she was when it came to breasts, we did have similar figures, both being a shade more than five feet five. She always looked taller because she hardly ever wore anything but boots. She wore hip-hugging tight jeans most of the time, and when she went out to sing at what she called another honky-tonk, she usually tied the bottom of her blouse so there was a little midriff showing. Grandpa would swell up with anger, his face nearly breaking out in hives, or just blow out his lips and explode with biblical references.

"We taught you the ways of the righteous, brought you up to be a churchgoing girl, and you still dress like a street tramp. Even after...after...your Fall," he told her, and swung his eyes my way.

That's what I was in his way of thinking: the Fall, the result of "the grand sin of fornication." Mother darling had been sexually active at the age of fifteen and had me when she was only sixteen. Grandpa, despite despising the situation as much as he did, would not permit even talk of an abortion.

"You abide by your actions and pay for your sins. It's the only path toward redemption," he preached then, according to Mother darling, and preached now.

I remember the first time I was arrested for shoplifting. The policewoman knew my grandparents and asked me how I could behave so badly coming from a solid, religious, and loving home. Wasn't I just a self-centered ingrate?

I fixed my eyes on her and said, "My mother didn't want me. My grandparents forced me down her throat, and she never stops throwing that back at them. How would you like living in such a solid, religious, and loving home?"

She blinked as if she had soot in her eyes and then grunted and went off mumbling about teenagers. I was just barely one. It was two days after my thirteenth birthday and the first time I was arrested. I had shoplifted a number of times before, but I was never caught. It amazed me how really easy it was. Half the time, if not more, those machines that are supposed to ring don't; and the employees, especially of the department stores, don't seem to care enough to watch for it. I practically waved whatever it was I was taking in front of their faces. Many times I threw away whatever I took almost immediately afterward. I couldn't chance bringing it home.

Grandpa placed all the blame on Mother darling, telling her she was setting a very bad example for me by dressing the way she dressed and singing in places "the devil himself won't enter." He would rant at her, waving his thick right forefinger in the air like an evangelist in one of those prayer meetings in large tents. He made me attend them with him when I was younger, claiming he had to work extra hard on me since I was spawned from sin. Anyway, he would bellow at Mother darling so loudly, the walls of the old farmhouse shook.

Grandma would try to calm him down, but he would sputter and stammer like one of his old tractors, usually concluding with "Thank goodness she took on your mother's maiden name, Kay Jackson. When she goes singing in those bars, I can pretend I don't know who she is."

"You don't have to pretend. You don't know who I am, Daddy," my mother would fire back at him. "Never did, never will. I'm writin' a song about it."

"Lord, save us," Grandpa would finally say and retreat. He was close to sixty-five but looked more like fifty, with a full head of light brown hair with just a touch of gray here and there, and thick, powerful-looking shoulders and arms. He could easily lift a fully grown Dorset Horn sheep and carry it a mile. Despite his strength and his rage, I never saw him lift his hand to strike my mother or me. I think he was afraid of his own strength.

My grandparents owned a sheep farm about ten miles east of Columbus, just outside the village of Granville. The farm was no longer active, although Grandpa kept a dozen Olde English Babydoll sheep that he raised and sold.

Before she went anywhere, Mother darling would practically bathe herself in cologne, claiming the stench of sheep and pigs permeated the house. "It sinks into your very soul," she claimed, which was another thing that set Grandpa on fire, the farm being his way of life and his living. Mother darling had the ability to ignite him like a stick of dynamite. Sometimes, I thought she was doing it on purpose, just to see how far he would go. The most I saw him do was slam his fist down on the kitchen table and make the dishes jump so high, one fell off and shattered.

"That," he said, pointing to it and then to her, "gets added to your rent."

Ever since Mother darling quit high school and worked in the supermarket and then began to sing nights with one pair of musicians or another, Grandpa insisted she pay rent for her and for me. It wasn't much, but it took most of her supermarket salary, which was another justification she used for her singing, not that she needed any. She was convinced she could be a big star.

I knew she was saving up for something big. Suddenly, she was willing to work overtime at the supermarket and she took any singing gig she and her partners at the time could get, from private parties to singing for an hour or so in the malls in Columbus.

Then one night, she slipped into my room, closing the door softly behind her. She stood with her back against the door and looked like she had won the lottery. Her face was that bright, her eyes seemed full of fireflies.

"We're leavin' this trap tomorrow night," she said in a voice just above a whisper.

"What? To where?"

"I've got a job in Nashville with a three-piece band my old boyfriend from high school, Cory Lewis, runs. He's the drummer and they lost their singer. She ran off with a car salesman to live in Beverly Hills, which I'm sure was just an old tire which will go flat before they get close. Not that I care. It's become an opportunity for me. We're going to play in places where real record producers go to listen for new talent."

"Nashville?"

"You don't make it in country music if you don't make it in Nashville, Robin. Now here's what I want you to do. Quietly pack one suitcase. It's all I got room for in the Beetle."

Mother darling had an old yellow Volkswagen Beetle that looked like someone with a tantrum had kicked and punched it for hours. The car was rusted out in places so badly, you could see through to the road beneath, and it had a cracked window on the passenger's side.

"But isn't Nashville very far away?"

"If you attended class more often, you'd know it's only a little over four hundred miles from here, Robin. Four hundred in actual distance, but a million in dreams," she added.

"That lawn mower you drive won't make it."

"Just shut your sewer mouth and pack," she ordered, losing her patience. "We're leavin' at two this mornin'. Very quietly. I don't want him on my tail," she said, nodding toward Grandpa and Grandma's room.

"How long are we gonna be there?" I asked, and she shook her head.

"Girl, don't you get it? We're leavin' here for good. I can't leave you with Grandpa and Grandma, Robin. Believe me, I wish I could, but they're too old to be watchin' after you, bailin' you out of trouble every week. And it's now or never for me. I'm gettin' nowhere singin' in the honky-tonks here. It's nothing for you to leave the school, so don't make like it is," she warned. "You've been suspended a half-dozen times for one thing or another. They won't miss you when the new year begins and you're not there," she reminded me.

"And don't try tellin' me you'll miss your friends, Robin. Those nobodies you hang out with just get you into more trouble. I might be savin' your life the same time I save my own. Be sure you're quiet," she said.

Despite her bravado, Mother darling was still frightened of Grandpa.

"If we're lucky, he won't realize we're gone until it comes time for him to collect his rent. In his mind that was a way of imposin' penance on me for havin' you. Pack," she ordered, then opened the door quietly and slipped out as fast as a shadow caught in the light.

I couldn't help but admit surprise at her courage. For as long as I could remember, she talked about picking up and leaving Granville. But it was certainly one thing to talk about it and another to actually do it. Despite Grandpa's monthly rent and his ranting and raving about saving our souls, we had a home. Grandma cooked our meals, and even though Mother darling and I were supposed to do our share of the household chores, Grandma usually did them for us. She had them to baby-sit for me when I was younger so she could pursue her music career, even though Grandpa thought it was "coddling the devil" to perform "half-naked" in "slime pits." He talked so much about the devil and hell that I used to believe he had been there and back. One of these days, I thought, he will bring out some pictures to show me tortured souls.

When the farm was active, he tried to get Mother darling to work, feeding and caring for the variety of sheep he raised, as well as miniature Hereford cattle. On purpose or not, she was more trouble than value to him, always wasteful when she was shearing. He finally gave up on her, which couldn't have pleased her more. By the time I was old enough to be of any use, he was retreating from the business and there wasn't much to do. He let all his help go.

Anyway, after she had awoken me, I splashed some cold water on my face and finished packing. Of course, she had promised to buy me a whole new wardrobe when we got to Nashville and she had earned big money in the music business. I couldn't deny she had a nice voice and looked pretty up on a stage, but it just seemed so unreal to think of her as actually making records and being on television or singing in front of thousands of people. I didn't tell her that. Nothing would set her off as much as being told she didn't have what it takes. Actually, I envied her for having some sort of dream at least. The only thing I looked forward to when we left was a cup of strong coffee.

She was at the door fifteen minutes later.

"Ready?" she asked.

I had the suitcase packed and closed and I was sitting on my bed with my eyes closed. I was falling asleep again, hoping it was just a dream.

"I've already got all my things in the car," she whispered. "C'mon, wake up, Robin."

Impatient, she picked up my suitcase. It was obviously heavier than she expected.

"What did you take?"

"Just what I needed," I said.

She grimaced and led the way. Grandpa always kept his hallway lights low to save on electricity. The weak illumination, the heavy thick shadows following along the wall, all made me feel it was still a dream. It was mid-July, but nights and mornings were cold to me. I shuddered, wrapped my arms around myself, and followed Mother darling down the fieldstone walkway to the car. A partially overcast night sky provided minimum starlight. The whole world looked asleep. I felt like I was sneaking into a painting.

The car doors complained when we opened them, metal shrieking. Mother darling started the engine without putting on the lights and drove slowly down the long driveway. I was still in a state of disbelief, groggy, my eyes half closed.

"Good riddance to this," she muttered. "I'm gettin' out. I'm gettin' away, finally."

I turned and cuddled up as best I could with my head against the window and the top of the seat. I couldn't crawl into the rear because she had her guitar there resting on a pillow she wouldn't let me use. Nevertheless, despite the bumps and turns, I fell asleep.

I woke up to the screaming shrill sound of a tractor trailer as it passed us by on the highway. We were already on I-71 South heading toward Louisville. The driver in the tractor trailer sounded his horn again.

"Donkey," Mother darling called him. I groaned and sat up straighter, stretching my arms.

Suddenly, it all came back to me.

"I thought I was dreaming," I told her.

She laughed.

"No more, Robin. Dreams turn into reality now," she vowed.

I saw the road signs.

"I don't see why we have to go to a place where people call people Bubba and Sissy," I complained. Mother darling knew how much I disliked country music. I told her it was soapy and full of tears.

"I told you — it's where you have to go to make it in country music," she said.

"Country music. You've got to chew on straw and be barefoot most of the time to like it."

She practically pulled off the highway, jerking herself around to yell at me.

"You'd better keep that stupid opinion to yourself when we get there, Robin. People in Nashville have been known to hang rock-and-rollers like you by their ears for less."

"Yeah, yeah, right," I said.

"I don't see how you can afford to make fun of anyone anyway, Robin. You're sixteen and you've already got a criminal record. You should be happy I'm takin' you to a place no one knows you. You'll have a chance to start new, make new friends."

"Friends. You never liked any of my friends and probably never will, no matter where we live. In fact, you never liked anything I've done."

"What are you talking about now?"

"When I was in that school play in seventh grade, everybody else's mother or father was there, but not my mother darling. My mother darling was strumming a guitar in some sawdust-floor saloon instead."

"Damn, you never let me forget that, do you? I do the best I can, Robin. It's not easy bein' a single mother, and my parents never helped us all that much. You know Grandpa took my money, even though he condemned me for the way I earned it. You know what he says, 'There's no such thing as dirty money, only dirty people.' He's been punishin' me ever since I got pregnant with you," she reminded me.

"You should have run off and had an abortion. I wish I wasn't born anyway."

"Yeah, right. That's easy for you to say now. Bein' a girl out there alone in the world is no picnic with or without a baby, and it's not been a picnic for me livin' with my parents and hearin' Grandpa complain about you all the time, blamin' me for every stupid thing you do."

"Don't worry, Mother darling. I'm not complaining about your not leaving me back there with them. I'd probably have run off anyway."

"I don't doubt it. I know I'm savin' your life takin' you with me, Robin. The least you could do is be a little grateful and very cooperative. And another thing, I don't want you callin' me Mother darlin' anymore. I know you're just bein' sarcastic 'cause of that book Mommie Dearest. Besides," she said, "I told you how I have to present myself as bein' younger. From the day we get to Nashville, until I say otherwise, you're my younger sister. Always call me Kay."

"That won't be hard," I said. "It takes more than just calling someone Mother for her to be a mother."

"Oh, you're so smart." She thought a moment. "Actually, I like that. It's a great first line for a new song: It takes more than calling someone Mother for her to be a mother," she sang. She looked at me. "Thanks."

I shook my head and stared at the floor. She turned on one of her country music stations and began to sing along. The happier she was, the angrier and more depressed I became. This wasn't my dream life; it was hers. I was like a piece of paper stuck to the bottom of her boots. She couldn't shake me off, and I couldn't pull away.

The road streamed ahead. She saw only promise and glory. I just saw a strip of highway going to nowhere, which was where I had been.

Why did she ever name me Robin? I thought. She should have called me Canary.

I'm just like one: trapped in a cage.

All I had to do was tell her and she would turn it into another song.

Copyright © 2003 by the Vanda General Partnership

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Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue

Part One: ROBIN

Part Two: TEAL

Part Three: PHOEBE

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First Chapter

Chapter 1: Jerked into the Night

"Wake up, Robin!" I heard my mother say. I felt myself being rocked hard.

At first I thought the rocking was in my dream, a dream so deep I had to swim up to consciousness like a diver from the ocean floor. Each time my mother shook my shoulder, I drew closer and closer to the surface, moaning.

"Quiet!" she ordered. "You'll wake Grandpa and Grandma and I'll have my hands full of spilt milk. Darn it, Robin. I told you what time we were headin' outta here. You haven't even finished packin'," she said.

My suitcase was open on the floor, some of my clothes still beside it. Mother darling had insisted I not begin until after I supposedly went to bed last night. My mother said I couldn't bring but one suitcase of my things, and it was hard to decide what to take and not to take. She needed everything of hers because she was going to be a country singing star and had to have her outfits and all her boots and every hat as well as half a suitcase of homemade audiotapes she thought would win the admiration of an important record producer in Nashville.

I sat up and pressed my palms over my cheeks, patting them like Grandpa always did when he put on aftershave lotion. The skin on my face was still asleep and felt numb. My mother stood back and looked at me with her small nose scrunched, which was something she always did when she was very annoyed. She also twisted her full lips into her cheek. She had the smallest mouth for someone who could sing as loudly as she could, but most women envied her lips. I know that some of her friends went for collagen shots to get theirs like hers.

Everyone said we looked like sisters because I had the same petite features, the same rust-colored hair, and the same soft blue eyes. Nothing she heard pleased her more. The last thing she wanted to be known as was my mother, or anyone's mother for that matter. She was thirty-two years old this week, and she was convinced she had absolutely her last chance to become a singing star. She said she had to pass me off as her younger sister or she wouldn't be taken seriously. I was sixteen last month, and she wanted everyone, especially people in show business, to believe she was just in her mid-twenties.

Although I was closer to one of her idols, Dolly Parton, than she was when it came to breasts, we did have similar figures, both being a shade more than five feet five. She always looked taller because she hardly ever wore anything but boots. She wore hip-hugging tight jeans most of the time, and when she went out to sing at what she called another honky-tonk, she usually tied the bottom of her blouse so there was a little midriff showing. Grandpa would swell up with anger, his face nearly breaking out in hives, or just blow out his lips and explode with biblical references.

"We taught you the ways of the righteous, brought you up to be a churchgoing girl, and you still dress like a street tramp. Even after...after...your Fall," he told her, and swung his eyes my way.

That's what I was in his way of thinking: the Fall, the result of "the grand sin of fornication." Mother darling had been sexually active at the age of fifteen and had me when she was only sixteen. Grandpa, despite despising the situation as much as he did, would not permit even talk of an abortion.

"You abide by your actions and pay for your sins. It's the only path toward redemption," he preached then, according to Mother darling, and preached now.

I remember the first time I was arrested for shoplifting. The policewoman knew my grandparents and asked me how I could behave so badly coming from a solid, religious, and loving home. Wasn't I just a self-centered ingrate?

I fixed my eyes on her and said, "My mother didn't want me. My grandparents forced me down her throat, and she never stops throwing that back at them. How would you like living in such a solid, religious, and loving home?"

She blinked as if she had soot in her eyes and then grunted and went off mumbling about teenagers. I was just barely one. It was two days after my thirteenth birthday and the first time I was arrested. I had shoplifted a number of times before, but I was never caught. It amazed me how really easy it was. Half the time, if not more, those machines that are supposed to ring don't; and the employees, especially of the department stores, don't seem to care enough to watch for it. I practically waved whatever it was I was taking in front of their faces. Many times I threw away whatever I took almost immediately afterward. I couldn't chance bringing it home.

Grandpa placed all the blame on Mother darling, telling her she was setting a very bad example for me by dressing the way she dressed and singing in places "the devil himself won't enter." He would rant at her, waving his thick right forefinger in the air like an evangelist in one of those prayer meetings in large tents. He made me attend them with him when I was younger, claiming he had to work extra hard on me since I was spawned from sin. Anyway, he would bellow at Mother darling so loudly, the walls of the old farmhouse shook.

Grandma would try to calm him down, but he would sputter and stammer like one of his old tractors, usually concluding with "Thank goodness she took on your mother's maiden name, Kay Jackson. When she goes singing in those bars, I can pretend I don't know who she is."

"You don't have to pretend. You don't know who I am, Daddy," my mother would fire back at him. "Never did, never will. I'm writin' a song about it."

"Lord, save us," Grandpa would finally say and retreat. He was close to sixty-five but looked more like fifty, with a full head of light brown hair with just a touch of gray here and there, and thick, powerful-looking shoulders and arms. He could easily lift a fully grown Dorset Horn sheep and carry it a mile. Despite his strength and his rage, I never saw him lift his hand to strike my mother or me. I think he was afraid of his own strength.

My grandparents owned a sheep farm about ten miles east of Columbus, just outside the village of Granville. The farm was no longer active, although Grandpa kept a dozen Olde English Babydoll sheep that he raised and sold.

Before she went anywhere, Mother darling would practically bathe herself in cologne, claiming the stench of sheep and pigs permeated the house. "It sinks into your very soul," she claimed, which was another thing that set Grandpa on fire, the farm being his way of life and his living. Mother darling had the ability to ignite him like a stick of dynamite. Sometimes, I thought she was doing it on purpose, just to see how far he would go. The most I saw him do was slam his fist down on the kitchen table and make the dishes jump so high, one fell off and shattered.

"That," he said, pointing to it and then to her, "gets added to your rent."

Ever since Mother darling quit high school and worked in the supermarket and then began to sing nights with one pair of musicians or another, Grandpa insisted she pay rent for her and for me. It wasn't much, but it took most of her supermarket salary, which was another justification she used for her singing, not that she needed any. She was convinced she could be a big star.

I knew she was saving up for something big. Suddenly, she was willing to work overtime at the supermarket and she took any singing gig she and her partners at the time could get, from private parties to singing for an hour or so in the malls in Columbus.

Then one night, she slipped into my room, closing the door softly behind her. She stood with her back against the door and looked like she had won the lottery. Her face was that bright, her eyes seemed full of fireflies.

"We're leavin' this trap tomorrow night," she said in a voice just above a whisper.

"What? To where?"

"I've got a job in Nashville with a three-piece band my old boyfriend from high school, Cory Lewis, runs. He's the drummer and they lost their singer. She ran off with a car salesman to live in Beverly Hills, which I'm sure was just an old tire which will go flat before they get close. Not that I care. It's become an opportunity for me. We're going to play in places where real record producers go to listen for new talent."

"Nashville?"

"You don't make it in country music if you don't make it in Nashville, Robin. Now here's what I want you to do. Quietly pack one suitcase. It's all I got room for in the Beetle."

Mother darling had an old yellow Volkswagen Beetle that looked like someone with a tantrum had kicked and punched it for hours. The car was rusted out in places so badly, you could see through to the road beneath, and it had a cracked window on the passenger's side.

"But isn't Nashville very far away?"

"If you attended class more often, you'd know it's only a little over four hundred miles from here, Robin. Four hundred in actual distance, but a million in dreams," she added.

"That lawn mower you drive won't make it."

"Just shut your sewer mouth and pack," she ordered, losing her patience. "We're leavin' at two this mornin'. Very quietly. I don't want him on my tail," she said, nodding toward Grandpa and Grandma's room.

"How long are we gonna be there?" I asked, and she shook her head.

"Girl, don't you get it? We're leavin' here for good. I can't leave you with Grandpa and Grandma, Robin. Believe me, I wish I could, but they're too old to be watchin' after you, bailin' you out of trouble every week. And it's now or never for me. I'm gettin' nowhere singin' in the honky-tonks here. It's nothing for you to leave the school, so don't make like it is," she warned. "You've been suspended a half-dozen times for one thing or another. They won't miss you when the new year begins and you're not there," she reminded me.

"And don't try tellin' me you'll miss your friends, Robin. Those nobodies you hang out with just get you into more trouble. I might be savin' your life the same time I save my own. Be sure you're quiet," she said.

Despite her bravado, Mother darling was still frightened of Grandpa.

"If we're lucky, he won't realize we're gone until it comes time for him to collect his rent. In his mind that was a way of imposin' penance on me for havin' you. Pack," she ordered, then opened the door quietly and slipped out as fast as a shadow caught in the light.

I couldn't help but admit surprise at her courage. For as long as I could remember, she talked about picking up and leaving Granville. But it was certainly one thing to talk about it and another to actually do it. Despite Grandpa's monthly rent and his ranting and raving about saving our souls, we had a home. Grandma cooked our meals, and even though Mother darling and I were supposed to do our share of the household chores, Grandma usually did them for us. She had them to baby-sit for me when I was younger so she could pursue her music career, even though Grandpa thought it was "coddling the devil" to perform "half-naked" in "slime pits." He talked so much about the devil and hell that I used to believe he had been there and back. One of these days, I thought, he will bring out some pictures to show me tortured souls.

When the farm was active, he tried to get Mother darling to work, feeding and caring for the variety of sheep he raised, as well as miniature Hereford cattle. On purpose or not, she was more trouble than value to him, always wasteful when she was shearing. He finally gave up on her, which couldn't have pleased her more. By the time I was old enough to be of any use, he was retreating from the business and there wasn't much to do. He let all his help go.

Anyway, after she had awoken me, I splashed some cold water on my face and finished packing. Of course, she had promised to buy me a whole new wardrobe when we got to Nashville and she had earned big money in the music business. I couldn't deny she had a nice voice and looked pretty up on a stage, but it just seemed so unreal to think of her as actually making records and being on television or singing in front of thousands of people. I didn't tell her that. Nothing would set her off as much as being told she didn't have what it takes. Actually, I envied her for having some sort of dream at least. The only thing I looked forward to when we left was a cup of strong coffee.

She was at the door fifteen minutes later.

"Ready?" she asked.

I had the suitcase packed and closed and I was sitting on my bed with my eyes closed. I was falling asleep again, hoping it was just a dream.

"I've already got all my things in the car," she whispered. "C'mon, wake up, Robin."

Impatient, she picked up my suitcase. It was obviously heavier than she expected.

"What did you take?"

"Just what I needed," I said.

She grimaced and led the way. Grandpa always kept his hallway lights low to save on electricity. The weak illumination, the heavy thick shadows following along the wall, all made me feel it was still a dream. It was mid-July, but nights and mornings were cold to me. I shuddered, wrapped my arms around myself, and followed Mother darling down the fieldstone walkway to the car. A partially overcast night sky provided minimum starlight. The whole world looked asleep. I felt like I was sneaking into a painting.

The car doors complained when we opened them, metal shrieking. Mother darling started the engine without putting on the lights and drove slowly down the long driveway. I was still in a state of disbelief, groggy, my eyes half closed.

"Good riddance to this," she muttered. "I'm gettin' out. I'm gettin' away, finally."

I turned and cuddled up as best I could with my head against the window and the top of the seat. I couldn't crawl into the rear because she had her guitar there resting on a pillow she wouldn't let me use. Nevertheless, despite the bumps and turns, I fell asleep.

I woke up to the screaming shrill sound of a tractor trailer as it passed us by on the highway. We were already on I-71 South heading toward Louisville. The driver in the tractor trailer sounded his horn again.

"Donkey," Mother darling called him. I groaned and sat up straighter, stretching my arms.

Suddenly, it all came back to me.

"I thought I was dreaming," I told her.

She laughed.

"No more, Robin. Dreams turn into reality now," she vowed.

I saw the road signs.

"I don't see why we have to go to a place where people call people Bubba and Sissy," I complained. Mother darling knew how much I disliked country music. I told her it was soapy and full of tears.

"I told you -- it's where you have to go to make it in country music," she said.

"Country music. You've got to chew on straw and be barefoot most of the time to like it."

She practically pulled off the highway, jerking herself around to yell at me.

"You'd better keep that stupid opinion to yourself when we get there, Robin. People in Nashville have been known to hang rock-and-rollers like you by their ears for less."

"Yeah, yeah, right," I said.

"I don't see how you can afford to make fun of anyone anyway, Robin. You're sixteen and you've already got a criminal record. You should be happy I'm takin' you to a place no one knows you. You'll have a chance to start new, make new friends."

"Friends. You never liked any of my friends and probably never will, no matter where we live. In fact, you never liked anything I've done."

"What are you talking about now?"

"When I was in that school play in seventh grade, everybody else's mother or father was there, but not my mother darling. My mother darling was strumming a guitar in some sawdust-floor saloon instead."

"Damn, you never let me forget that, do you? I do the best I can, Robin. It's not easy bein' a single mother, and my parents never helped us all that much. You know Grandpa took my money, even though he condemned me for the way I earned it. You know what he says, 'There's no such thing as dirty money, only dirty people.' He's been punishin' me ever since I got pregnant with you," she reminded me.

"You should have run off and had an abortion. I wish I wasn't born anyway."

"Yeah, right. That's easy for you to say now. Bein' a girl out there alone in the world is no picnic with or without a baby, and it's not been a picnic for me livin' with my parents and hearin' Grandpa complain about you all the time, blamin' me for every stupid thing you do."

"Don't worry, Mother darling. I'm not complaining about your not leaving me back there with them. I'd probably have run off anyway."

"I don't doubt it. I know I'm savin' your life takin' you with me, Robin. The least you could do is be a little grateful and very cooperative. And another thing, I don't want you callin' me Mother darlin' anymore. I know you're just bein' sarcastic 'cause of that book Mommie Dearest. Besides," she said, "I told you how I have to present myself as bein' younger. From the day we get to Nashville, until I say otherwise, you're my younger sister. Always call me Kay."

"That won't be hard," I said. "It takes more than just calling someone Mother for her to be a mother."

"Oh, you're so smart." She thought a moment. "Actually, I like that. It's a great first line for a new song: It takes more than calling someone Mother for her to be a mother," she sang. She looked at me. "Thanks."

I shook my head and stared at the floor. She turned on one of her country music stations and began to sing along. The happier she was, the angrier and more depressed I became. This wasn't my dream life; it was hers. I was like a piece of paper stuck to the bottom of her boots. She couldn't shake me off, and I couldn't pull away.

The road streamed ahead. She saw only promise and glory. I just saw a strip of highway going to nowhere, which was where I had been.

Why did she ever name me Robin? I thought. She should have called me Canary.

I'm just like one: trapped in a cage.

All I had to do was tell her and she would turn it into another song.

Copyright © 2003 by the Vanda General Partnership

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2004

    waiting in anticipation

    I have been reading V.C. Andrews books since I was about 16. I have every book sometimes more than once I look forward picking up the new books, this one is definately a must have!!! I also thoght my sweet Audrina and heaven were REALLY REALLY good.< please dont ever stop publishing her work I'm hoping she left alot more ideas for other books I cant imagine my life without V.C. Andrews, it's always good to relax with a pillow and a good book. And I would really like to see another movie from her work I LOVED Flowers in The Attic.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2004

    Worth Reading It !!!

    Love yr books.... I am hooked!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    still love vc

    okay so im a grown up now and its been many years since i opened a vc andrews. oh what fun, no it wasnt the enlightening reading experience i usually seek, but it was fun and written well enough that i could still enjoy a book like this at 30.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    It was great!!!!

    This book was so amazing. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. While I was reading this I felt like I was in the book and I knew the characters like they were me or my friends. You won't be able to put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    This is a great book. I loved it!!

    This book is a good book. I can't believe those three girls were so bad. I mean they were just out there. I can never imagine my self being sent to jail and my parents had to visit me. I would just die. But this book was fantastic, and it is so good. I just couldn'y put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2006

    another v.c. classic

    a story about three girls with one thing in common:getting into trouble. this is their stories and how they get sent to the heinous work camp in the next book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2004

    The book is perfectly done!!!

    I was so addicted to this book, that I refused to leave it at home. I brought it to work and it really kept me out of being bored. There was not a time that I was disappointed on any part of the book. It was a friend that got me hooked on the Series. I started a little out of order. But having the lists behind the books helped alot. I'm looking forward the other V.C. Andrews books that I just got.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2004

    Excellent Book!

    When I went to the store before going out of town, I picked up Broken Wings. I'd never heard of V.C. Andrews. Let me tell you! I could not put this book down! I was wanting to constantly know more! The ending leaves you hanging so make sure you read Midnight Flight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2004

    Broken Wings and Broken Hearts

    This book had me hooked. As with a lot of great stories - the characters became my friends and another life for me to live. I felt every emotion the three girls had. I picked up 'Midnight Flight' last night and the first page had me hooked again. Thank you and please don't stop writing! :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2003

    Beautiful...

    I am a big fan of V.C Andrews, and I am thirteen years old. Her books make me feel like I am there, and like I know the characters. It's beautifully written, and the author gave the girls personalities that are so realistic, they seem as though the girls are your friends and you know them that well. I love how she makes a story for each of them, and then brings them together. I highly recommend this, I can't put the book down. Beautiful book. :D

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2005

    A MUST READ!

    A GREAT BOOK!Three girls stories about their lives, full of problems, 'love' and many other things!. A great plot, a great book, a great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2005

    Suspense!!!

    I thought this was a great book. I loved the way 3 girls with totally different backgrounds end up in the same sort of trouble. I couldn't put it down. Well written. I felt a strong connection with all three heroines.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    Broken Wings book 1

    This book was weird and didn't get the story that much. Dollanganger one made sense in some cases and is the best series since it was V. C. Andrews first book series, saga thing. Okay book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2003

    Very Nice

    I really enjoyed this book. Can't wait to start the next book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    Okay

    i liked it, it was okay. i enjoy the books with only one character better...i usually read Sherry A. Mauro but enjoyed this writer, too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    wonderful book

    It's a great way to feel like you are not alone in trhe world with your feelings. i felt for the girls and understand where they come from

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    Well devopled Characters, it made you feel like you knew them.

    This book is just another V.C. Andrews masterpiece. It is about three girls- Robin, a country girl with a fame thirsty mother, Teal, a spolied rich girl with neglictive parents, and Pheobe, a sweet city girl with parents who abonded her- and they are thrown into a whirlwind of horrible events. This is just a great read, and all the characters are so well thought out and well devolped, you feel as if you know them. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2003

    confused and bewildered

    just wondering how someone who has been dead for 17 years is still releasing books under her own name? I know she had tons of unfinished manuscripts but find it quite disgusting that they are releasing them under her name when they are being 'written' by someone else...just my thought...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Amazing

    This book was so good.It took me no time at all to finish it. I loved the stories between the girls and I cant see what happens to all 3 of them ... I liked the way it all connected and each girl has a story V.C. Andrews writer does a great job. I loved it .....!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2003

    I Could not put it down!!!!!!!!

    This ws a GREAT story. I usually read Stephen King, but while on vacaton, I finished the book I brought and needed a new book. I went into a small store by my hotel and found this book. I was very suprised to have finished it in only 4 short days!! I truly can't wait to read 'Midnight Flight'!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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