Hidden Leaves (De Beers Series #5)

( 9 )

Overview

The truth could not be revealed — until now....
A fter the tragic death of her adoptive father, Willow De Beers receives an unexpected gift: a family diary that unlocks all the secrets of her world — and shatters the life she's known in glitzy Palm Beach, Florida. At last, Willow learns the identity of her real father, and unearths his secret love affair with her real mother. She discovers the reasons for her adoptive mother's cruelty...and the...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (80) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $2.87   
  • Used (78) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 1 of 2
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$2.87
Seller since 2012

Feedback rating:

(66)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
MASS MARKET PAPERBACK New 0743457870 Happily SHIPPED WITHIN 24 hours; e-mails answered QUICKLY!

Ships from: Worcester, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 1 of 2
Close
Sort by
Hidden Leaves (De Beers Series #5)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

The truth could not be revealed — until now....
A fter the tragic death of her adoptive father, Willow De Beers receives an unexpected gift: a family diary that unlocks all the secrets of her world — and shatters the life she's known in glitzy Palm Beach, Florida. At last, Willow learns the identity of her real father, and unearths his secret love affair with her real mother. She discovers the reasons for her adoptive mother's cruelty...and the truth about the mysterious woman who couldn't keep her, but would love her forever.
Look inside for the original e-book prequel Dark Seed — first time in print! Also inside...a preview of the thrilling Broken Wings series — coming soon from Pocket Star Books

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743457873
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 3/4/2003
  • Series: De Beers Series , #5
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

V. C. Andrews

One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of the spellbinding classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began the renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes 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 nearly twenty bestselling series. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies and have been translated into twenty-two 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.

Read More Show Less
    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 One: In Love with a Patient

If someone had told me that someday I would fall in love with one of my patients, I would have recommended that he or she become one of my patients.

Now I have to admit that this most improbable event has occurred at my own clinic. It got so I couldn't wait to get there every morning. It was as if I had found that the doorway to paradise was always right in front of me. I quickly discovered that when you're with someone you love, the most mundane things suddenly become wonderful.

I suppose I'll never forget the day your mother arrived, Willow. She and I often talked about it, first as part of her therapy, and then, as time passed and our relationship grew into something I'm sure neither of us had expected, we were actually able to laugh about it.

You know how people often discuss what they were doing when some major historical event occurred. My father used to talk about where he was when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, for example, and I often think about what I was doing the day President Kennedy was shot. Events like those are so imprinted on your mind it is as if life went on pause for a while and then began again.

Shall I tell you that when I first looked at your mother and she looked at me, my heart paused and then went on again? Shall I tell you that during those moments it felt as if there was no one else in the world but us? Does all this sound too romantic, perhaps more like the words in a love song than the words of a psychiatrist?

As a psychiatrist, I am too analytical, I know. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with my work. I don't really like to dissect people's emotions like some pathologist in a lab, but it is what I have been trained to do. Forgive me for how often I do that while writing this to you, Willow.

The truth is I remember everything about that day your mother arrived. It was unseasonably warm. Ordinarily I don't pay very much attention to the weather. I spend so much of my time indoors at the clinic, I don't care whether it's raining or not, whether it's cloudy or sunny, but for some reason (I hesitate to call it Fate or anything similar — it wouldn't be very professional of me) I remember sitting at my desk and looking out the window and admiring the soft, lithe look of a cloud moving lazily over the tops of the trees in front of my clinic. I don't daydream very often. I simply didn't have time for it with my patient load at the clinic, but that day it struck me that this was the only cloud in the eastern sky and I thought it looked lonely. I could even see a sad face in its fluffy surface and told myself something my mother used to tell me when I was a little boy: Rain, she said, was merely the teardrops of sad clouds, and when it stopped raining, we knew the clouds were happy again, sunshine lighting up their smiles.

"All smiles have to have sunshine behind them, Claude," she told me, "otherwise, they are not smiles; they are masks."

Perhaps that was my first lesson in psychiatry.

I laughed at myself for remembering such things and having such a thought — a cloud, lonely — but it brought back that wonderfully pure feeling of innocence. And then, suddenly there was your mother and grandmother's limousine coming in the front entrance and approaching the clinic.

I had a number of patients from well-to-do families, so I didn't think all that much of the fact that someone was bringing me a new patient in a fancy, luxurious limousine. Even though I don't have any hard and fast studies on the matter, I suppose I should tell you that I do believe wealthy people are more embarrassed by their mentally ill relatives, especially, unfortunately, parents who are embarrassed by their own children. They can't wait to drop them off here and pretend they are somewhere else.

Later, I discovered that was exactly what your grandmother had done. She told people in Palm Beach, for that's where your mother and grandmother lived, that her daughter Grace was off again to college, only now out of state. Palm Beach, according to what your mother told me later, was one of those places where people can tell each other lies and feel confident they will be accepted as truth, at least on the surface. In her words, "It's just courteous to believe in someone else's fantasies. The richer they are, the more they believe in Santa Claus."

How clever she could be, don't you agree?

I watched her and your grandmother emerge from the long black limousine. Your grandmother wore a very stylish pink and white hat and indeed looked as if she was going to some ritzy charity event. Her teardrop earrings caught the sunlight and twinkled like tiny stars she might have plucked out of the Florida night sky. Even from my office window I could see she was an attractive woman, tall and stately with a runway model's posture when she walked. If she felt any shame, she wasn't about to let the world know it.

Your mother was difficult to evaluate from any distance, but especially difficult that day because she kept her head down, her shoulders turned inward, and her arms very close to her body, her hands crossed. This was not an unusual demeanor for me to see in one of my patients. People don't exactly come here because they are full of self-confidence.

Your mother and grandmother disappeared from my view when they walked to the front entrance. The driver followed with your mother's suitcases, and I sat back and continued to read her medical history, sent to me by her doctor in Palm Beach, a friend of mine, Dr. Anderson. I won't bore you with the medical terminology, the analysis and whatever. Suffice it to say, your mother was coming to me after having attempted suicide, but there were factors that told me she might very well not have realized the significance of what she was doing. I'll explain that later, and I promise, I won't be too technical.

While your mother was admitted, a process that involved some physical examination, recording of medications, etc., your grandmother was brought to my office. I usually meet with someone from the immediate family as soon as possible and preferably before I meet with the patient. Getting to know the parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, whoever, of a patient helps me understand what possible social and environmental factors are impacting on that patient.

Forgive me for writing about my work so seriously. I am trying not to be the doctor now, but your father instead, and, I suppose you have realized by now, I am not writing as your stepfather. I am writing as your biological father. I am your father, Willow, in every sense of the word. Your mother wasn't raped by some attendant as you were told too often by your stepmother, and I didn't bring you home because I felt guilty that such a thing happened at my clinic.

I have already told you how I was in love with one of my patients, your mother. I must now tell you how such a thing happened to a man who prided himself all his professional life in being objective, properly aloof, the doctor first and foremost. Your mother taught me that was not necessarily the best way for me to be, the best way for me to help my patients. In fact, dear Willow, everything gradually became reversed here between your mother and me. Many times toward the end, I felt more like the patient and your mother spoke to me with more wisdom than I had imagined she possessed.

But let me stop talking about what happened and talk about how it came to happen.

Into my office walked Jackie Lee Montgomery, your grandmother. I should say burst in, for she had that sort of confident, domineering presence. She was looking at everything like someone who was thinking about buying the clinic. It brought a smile to my face, but a smile I've learned to hide well under what you used to call my "doctor mask." There was just a slight quivering at the corners of my mouth as I told myself, Claude De Beers, you'd better dot your i's and cross all your t's when you speak to this woman.

My receptionist, Edith Hamilton, brought her to my office and announced her at the door.

"This is Mrs. Montgomery, Dr. De Beers," she said and stepped back, closing the door softly behind her.

I rose quickly to greet your grandmother, and she held out her hand like a queen who expected it to be kissed.

"Jackie Lee Montgomery," she said, holding her head high, her eyes fixed on mine.

"Please have a seat," I said, pulling a chair a little farther from the desk the way a gentleman would pull out a chair for his lady at a dining table. It made no sense for me to do that, but your grandmother had that sort of an effect on me. Later, I laughed about it with Grace. She told me her mother had become Palm Beachified. That was her term for it, for all the changes in her personality the wealth and the social life had caused.

"It breaks my heart to be bringing my daughter here, despite the wonderful references and recommendations I have received concerning you and this mental clinic, and despite how beautiful your building and location are," your grandmother Jackie Lee began.

"I understand, Mrs. Montgomery," I said, taking my seat.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't return to my first married name or even my maiden name. My daughter was very fond of my second husband, Winston Montgomery. He adopted her and gave her his name, and I thought for the sake of simplicity, to avoid confusion..."

"Of course."

"I thought I should tell you that right away," she said.

"I understand completely," I said. "You made a wise decision."

"I would never keep my third husband's name," she said, pursing her lips so hard, it brought little spots of white at the corners of her mouth. "Dr. Anderson told me he has given you everything, so you are familiar with all that horror, I expect."

"I am, somewhat, yes."

She opened her purse and took out a frilled silk handkerchief and brought it to her eyes even though I didn't see any tears.

"I've done the best I can dealing with this. What can anyone expect when a woman learns her husband has seduced, really raped her daughter in their own home, right under her very eyes practically?"

"It is quite overwhelming," I agreed.

"And Grace," she said, shaking her head and sighing, "hiding her pregnancy from me all that time until it was far too late to do anything about it." She paused and focused sharply on me as she leaned a bit forward. "Can you explain that to me? I never had a sensible explanation from Dr. Anderson for her behavior."

"Well, of course without speaking with Grace and exploring her troubles, it's difficult, Mrs. Montgomery. I can give you some classic reasons, which might very well be her reasons."

"What? What reason could anyone have for such behavior?" she practically pounced.

"First, of course, there's guilt. Too often women assume full or most of the responsibility for such things. To alleviate their own guilt and responsibility, some men often make them feel that way."

"He would," she said, spitting the words disdainfully at the floor.

"And if you have an impressionable young woman who has been through some additional mental crisis, she is more vulnerable to such chicanery."

"Chicanery. Exactly," she said, nodding, her eyes brightening with the way I sympathized with her situation.

"So keeping all that in mind, it wouldn't be all that unexpected for her not to hide her pregnancy so much as to go into complete self-denial."

"What do you mean by complete self-denial?"

"Try to convince herself it wasn't true, ignore the symptoms, and succeed enough at that to justify not telling you for a long time, as hard as it is for you to understand, Mrs. Montgomery."

"Jackie Lee, please."

"Jackie Lee. It's possible your daughter in all sense of the word actually believed she wasn't pregnant."

"Madness, utter madness. She does belong here."

"I saw from a note in her records that afterward you encouraged this in a way by pretending the child was yours. Am I correct that you actually simulated a pregnancy to persuade people it was so?"

She looked surprised that I knew that, but it was something that stood out in Dr. Anderson's report.

"I did what I did for her," she snapped back at me. "I was protecting her. You don't know how cruel and biting people are there. It was difficult enough trying to find her a decent man with whom she could develop a relationship. Imagine what this sort of sordid news would have done. I might as well have shipped her off to Somalia or some such godforsaken place."

I just nodded. Some people take that for agreement, and for the moment I could see it was better she assumed I approved of all she had done. In my experience, if you don't let parents, especially parents, come to their own conclusions as to their responsibility for the child's illnesses and problems, they will resent you and refuse to accept. Acceptance is the beginning of recovery.

There I go again, being the doctor. Sorry.

After I read the references to Jackie Lee's behavior, I had spoken with Dr. Anderson, of course, and he went into some detail about this cover-up Jackie Lee had created. He told me she became so absorbed in her own efforts to fool the public that, he thought, she had fooled herself as well. At least for a little while. He believed it contributed significantly to Grace's current depression and introversion. The truth is that the way he described your grandmother's behavior made it sound as if she should have been brought here as the patient and not your mother.

Now he was worried about the child, the little boy named Linden, growing up believing his grandmother was his mother. Dr. Anderson hoped I would help return Grace to a balanced enough state of mind so she could return and recapture her own child for both their sakes. It added pressure to my efforts, of course, and a solid reason for my letting her go. Neither of us could be selfish enough to see Linden without his mother. (It brings tears to my eyes just to write this, to write the words, let her go, for as you will see, that was just what I had to do.)

"Yes," I replied after a moment. "I'm sure what you did, you did for good reason, Jackie Lee."

She liked that and obviously liked I had stopped calling her Mrs. Montgomery.

"Exactly." She paused, dabbed her eyes again, and looked at me, her face turning dark and serious. "You don't think that it had a lot to do with what she...what she attempted to do to herself, do you?"

"It's best to wait for me to begin my examinations before we come to any conclusions about anything. I would be doing you a disservice to shoot from the hip, Jackie Lee. Give me some time."

"I know Dr. Anderson believes that it did. I could see it in his face whenever he spoke to me about it," she said, smirking. Then she sighed so deeply, I thought she had cracked her heart. "She was such a happy child once. When her father was alive, before his terrible helicopter accident, he doted on her and she practically worshiped the ground he walked upon. I was always warning him that he was spoiling her, not so much with gifts as with love. You can give someone too much love, you know.

"'Grace will never be able to love any man because she will always compare him to you and find fault with him,' I warned him, but he didn't listen and that's exactly what happened."

She leaned toward me.

"You know she's not had one satisfactory romance and she's in her twenties!"

"It's not so unusual, Jackie."

"Jackie Lee."

"I'm sorry. Jackie Lee. Not unusual at all, especially these days," I said softly.

"It is for Grace. Wait until you see her. She's a very attractive young woman when she wants to be. Right now she looks like something the cat dragged home, but when she's had her hair fixed, especially by my stylists, and she puts on one of her designer dresses and has her makeup done properly, she's a little movie star. I saw the way men looked at her at charity events and parties.

"But she was always pushing them off for one reason or another," she said sadly. She nodded and then she stared at me a moment. "You know what she believes, don't you? I imagine it's down there in that report Dr. Anderson sent you," she said, nodding at the folder on my lap as though it were a criminal record instead of a doctor's file.

I didn't reply. I didn't want to reveal anything in Dr. Anderson's report.

"You don't have to read it. I'll tell you. She believes she carries a Jonah curse, that everyone or anyone who loves her or whom she loves will have something terrible happen to him or her. She'll tell you all about it, I'm sure, about all of them, her victims," she said, throwing her head back and rolling her eyes dramatically.

"We'll try to get her to think differently about herself," I said.

She sucked in her breath and sat straighter.

"Yes. Well, what do you think? Can you cure her? Will she ever be a normal woman and marry and have a family and a home?" she demanded.

"I hope so, Jackie Lee. It's my intention to make that a reality, yes. She does have a son to care for and raise, of course."

"Care for and raise," she muttered. "Well, I can't just toss him out there to be at the mercy of those sharks, now can I? For now, I'll continue being his mother."

"That might do him some harm in time, Jackie Lee. Perhaps you should think of how you can gradually get him to understand the truth," I suggested softly.

"Yes, well, we'll see. I don't want to make promises to him that will never be fulfilled. I know how mentally ill people can be, how their recoveries can be false or only temporary, especially someone in her condition. I've read a number of magazine articles about it."

"There is a lot of misinformation about that, Jackie Lee. Perhaps the old adage, 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing' applies to this more than anything. Just be patient and give it all some time," I told her.

"Time. Exactly. How often should I come here?" she asked, rather demanded, I thought.

"Not for a while," I said. "Let's see how it goes and I'll call you."

She looked satisfied with that answer.

"I thought Grace was going to put up a fight or an argument about coming here, but she didn't so much as utter a little reluctance."

"That's good," I said.

"Good? Who would want to come here? How can that be something good?"

"Perhaps she realizes she needs help. That's what good, Jackie Lee. You have to recognize you have a problem before you can solve it."

"Um," she said. "Maybe. You know what she did, don't you? You know about her jumping off the dock in the middle of the night and then telling us she was getting on a ship with her dead father. She would have just let herself drown if we hadn't realized what she had done!"

"When people are so troubled, they lose their hold on what's real and what isn't. We all live in a little bit of illusion," I said, "but the difference is we know when to come back to reality."

"She doesn't," she said sharply.

"She will," I replied, now holding my eyes on her.

"I hope so," she relented. "Should I go back to say goodbye to her?"

"Maybe not. Maybe it's best you just leave quietly. She's in good hands. As you know, I have a wonderful staff here, and we don't like to see the families make the patients feel abandoned in any way."

"I'm not doing that," she retorted sharply.

"No, of course not, but someone who is already suffering with misconceptions, self-deprecation, loss of identity..."

"Yes, well, I suppose you are right. You do know more than I do," she said, standing.

"I'll walk you out," I said.

"It's a very pretty place. I mean, where it's located, those willow trees, the river nearby, the grounds."

"Nature is a true healer," I said.

"If that were true, you'd think the ocean would have been that for her. We lived right on the beach."

"It held other connotations, other meanings for her, perhaps."

"Her father crashed in the ocean, but we never talked about that," she said, nodding. "Oh, this is all so complicated. It makes me spin."

"Don't worry. We'll sort it out," I said. "Did you want to see the rest of the clinic, our facilities?"

"No," she said quickly. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound disinterested, but seeing all these disturbed people, especially the younger ones, depresses me. I don't know how you do this sort of work, Doctor. How do you do it?"

"You think about helping them, seeing them walk out of here to be productive people again, and that's how you do it," I said.

I walked out with her to the waiting limousine. The moment the driver saw her, he jumped and rushed around to open the door for her. She had that sort of aura about her continuously, commanding.

"This isn't easy for me," she said at the car, looking back at the clinic and taking a deep breath. "She's my only child. Aside from poor Linden, of course."

"I understand," I said.

"I keep thinking about how happy we all were when our lives were chaotic, when we were moving from naval base to naval base, following my husband in his career, never really having any roots. They used to salute each other, you know," she said. "With two fingers. She did it when she was only two, and he thought it was so funny and cute that he never forgot and always did it the same way."

I smiled.

She was really crying now, and I thought that under the shell she had created for herself in order, perhaps, to survive in the world she had found herself living in now, she still had a very warm, loving other self, desperately trying to be heard. When we're honest about our own emotions, we have the best chance for happiness, Willow. Always remember that.

I squeezed her hand gently.

She looked at me one more time and in a whisper said, "Take care of my baby."

Then she got into that luxurious, shiny black limousine with its tinted windows. I actually felt sorry for her. She looked shut up, locked away in there. The windows reflected me and the clinic. I no longer saw her, and moments later she was driven away.

I watched her go, and then I turned back to my clinic and walked with determined steps to attack whatever monster resided in your mother's troubled mind.

Copyright © 2003 by the Vanda General Partnership

Dark Seed © 2001 by the Vanda General Partnership

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One: In Love with a Patient

If someone had told me that someday I would fall in love with one of my patients, I would have recommended that he or she become one of my patients.

Now I have to admit that this most improbable event has occurred at my own clinic. It got so I couldn't wait to get there every morning. It was as if I had found that the doorway to paradise was always right in front of me. I quickly discovered that when you're with someone you love, the most mundane things suddenly become wonderful.

I suppose I'll never forget the day your mother arrived, Willow. She and I often talked about it, first as part of her therapy, and then, as time passed and our relationship grew into something I'm sure neither of us had expected, we were actually able to laugh about it.

You know how people often discuss what they were doing when some major historical event occurred. My father used to talk about where he was when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, for example, and I often think about what I was doing the day President Kennedy was shot. Events like those are so imprinted on your mind it is as if life went on pause for a while and then began again.

Shall I tell you that when I first looked at your mother and she looked at me, my heart paused and then went on again? Shall I tell you that during those moments it felt as if there was no one else in the world but us? Does all this sound too romantic, perhaps more like the words in a love song than the words of a psychiatrist?

As a psychiatrist, I am too analytical, I know. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with my work. I don't really like to dissect people's emotions like some pathologist in a lab, but it is what I have been trained to do. Forgive me for how often I do that while writing this to you, Willow.

The truth is I remember everything about that day your mother arrived. It was unseasonably warm. Ordinarily I don't pay very much attention to the weather. I spend so much of my time indoors at the clinic, I don't care whether it's raining or not, whether it's cloudy or sunny, but for some reason (I hesitate to call it Fate or anything similar -- it wouldn't be very professional of me) I remember sitting at my desk and looking out the window and admiring the soft, lithe look of a cloud moving lazily over the tops of the trees in front of my clinic. I don't daydream very often. I simply didn't have time for it with my patient load at the clinic, but that day it struck me that this was the only cloud in the eastern sky and I thought it looked lonely. I could even see a sad face in its fluffy surface and told myself something my mother used to tell me when I was a little boy: Rain, she said, was merely the teardrops of sad clouds, and when it stopped raining, we knew the clouds were happy again, sunshine lighting up their smiles.

"All smiles have to have sunshine behind them, Claude," she told me, "otherwise, they are not smiles; they are masks."

Perhaps that was my first lesson in psychiatry.

I laughed at myself for remembering such things and having such a thought -- a cloud, lonely -- but it brought back that wonderfully pure feeling of innocence. And then, suddenly there was your mother and grandmother's limousine coming in the front entrance and approaching the clinic.

I had a number of patients from well-to-do families, so I didn't think all that much of the fact that someone was bringing me a new patient in a fancy, luxurious limousine. Even though I don't have any hard and fast studies on the matter, I suppose I should tell you that I do believe wealthy people are more embarrassed by their mentally ill relatives, especially, unfortunately, parents who are embarrassed by their own children. They can't wait to drop them off here and pretend they are somewhere else.

Later, I discovered that was exactly what your grandmother had done. She told people in Palm Beach, for that's where your mother and grandmother lived, that her daughter Grace was off again to college, only now out of state. Palm Beach, according to what your mother told me later, was one of those places where people can tell each other lies and feel confident they will be accepted as truth, at least on the surface. In her words, "It's just courteous to believe in someone else's fantasies. The richer they are, the more they believe in Santa Claus."

How clever she could be, don't you agree?

I watched her and your grandmother emerge from the long black limousine. Your grandmother wore a very stylish pink and white hat and indeed looked as if she was going to some ritzy charity event. Her teardrop earrings caught the sunlight and twinkled like tiny stars she might have plucked out of the Florida night sky. Even from my office window I could see she was an attractive woman, tall and stately with a runway model's posture when she walked. If she felt any shame, she wasn't about to let the world know it.

Your mother was difficult to evaluate from any distance, but especially difficult that day because she kept her head down, her shoulders turned inward, and her arms very close to her body, her hands crossed. This was not an unusual demeanor for me to see in one of my patients. People don't exactly come here because they are full of self-confidence.

Your mother and grandmother disappeared from my view when they walked to the front entrance. The driver followed with your mother's suitcases, and I sat back and continued to read her medical history, sent to me by her doctor in Palm Beach, a friend of mine, Dr. Anderson. I won't bore you with the medical terminology, the analysis and whatever. Suffice it to say, your mother was coming to me after having attempted suicide, but there were factors that told me she might very well not have realized the significance of what she was doing. I'll explain that later, and I promise, I won't be too technical.

While your mother was admitted, a process that involved some physical examination, recording of medications, etc., your grandmother was brought to my office. I usually meet with someone from the immediate family as soon as possible and preferably before I meet with the patient. Getting to know the parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, whoever, of a patient helps me understand what possible social and environmental factors are impacting on that patient.

Forgive me for writing about my work so seriously. I am trying not to be the doctor now, but your father instead, and, I suppose you have realized by now, I am not writing as your stepfather. I am writing as your biological father. I am your father, Willow, in every sense of the word. Your mother wasn't raped by some attendant as you were told too often by your stepmother, and I didn't bring you home because I felt guilty that such a thing happened at my clinic.

I have already told you how I was in love with one of my patients, your mother. I must now tell you how such a thing happened to a man who prided himself all his professional life in being objective, properly aloof, the doctor first and foremost. Your mother taught me that was not necessarily the best way for me to be, the best way for me to help my patients. In fact, dear Willow, everything gradually became reversed here between your mother and me. Many times toward the end, I felt more like the patient and your mother spoke to me with more wisdom than I had imagined she possessed.

But let me stop talking about what happened and talk about how it came to happen.

Into my office walked Jackie Lee Montgomery, your grandmother. I should say burst in, for she had that sort of confident, domineering presence. She was looking at everything like someone who was thinking about buying the clinic. It brought a smile to my face, but a smile I've learned to hide well under what you used to call my "doctor mask." There was just a slight quivering at the corners of my mouth as I told myself, Claude De Beers, you'd better dot your i's and cross all your t's when you speak to this woman.

My receptionist, Edith Hamilton, brought her to my office and announced her at the door.

"This is Mrs. Montgomery, Dr. De Beers," she said and stepped back, closing the door softly behind her.

I rose quickly to greet your grandmother, and she held out her hand like a queen who expected it to be kissed.

"Jackie Lee Montgomery," she said, holding her head high, her eyes fixed on mine.

"Please have a seat," I said, pulling a chair a little farther from the desk the way a gentleman would pull out a chair for his lady at a dining table. It made no sense for me to do that, but your grandmother had that sort of an effect on me. Later, I laughed about it with Grace. She told me her mother had become Palm Beachified. That was her term for it, for all the changes in her personality the wealth and the social life had caused.

"It breaks my heart to be bringing my daughter here, despite the wonderful references and recommendations I have received concerning you and this mental clinic, and despite how beautiful your building and location are," your grandmother Jackie Lee began.

"I understand, Mrs. Montgomery," I said, taking my seat.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't return to my first married name or even my maiden name. My daughter was very fond of my second husband, Winston Montgomery. He adopted her and gave her his name, and I thought for the sake of simplicity, to avoid confusion..."

"Of course."

"I thought I should tell you that right away," she said.

"I understand completely," I said. "You made a wise decision."

"I would never keep my third husband's name," she said, pursing her lips so hard, it brought little spots of white at the corners of her mouth. "Dr. Anderson told me he has given you everything, so you are familiar with all that horror, I expect."

"I am, somewhat, yes."

She opened her purse and took out a frilled silk handkerchief and brought it to her eyes even though I didn't see any tears.

"I've done the best I can dealing with this. What can anyone expect when a woman learns her husband has seduced, really raped her daughter in their own home, right under her very eyes practically?"

"It is quite overwhelming," I agreed.

"And Grace," she said, shaking her head and sighing, "hiding her pregnancy from me all that time until it was far too late to do anything about it." She paused and focused sharply on me as she leaned a bit forward. "Can you explain that to me? I never had a sensible explanation from Dr. Anderson for her behavior."

"Well, of course without speaking with Grace and exploring her troubles, it's difficult, Mrs. Montgomery. I can give you some classic reasons, which might very well be her reasons."

"What? What reason could anyone have for such behavior?" she practically pounced.

"First, of course, there's guilt. Too often women assume full or most of the responsibility for such things. To alleviate their own guilt and responsibility, some men often make them feel that way."

"He would," she said, spitting the words disdainfully at the floor.

"And if you have an impressionable young woman who has been through some additional mental crisis, she is more vulnerable to such chicanery."

"Chicanery. Exactly," she said, nodding, her eyes brightening with the way I sympathized with her situation.

"So keeping all that in mind, it wouldn't be all that unexpected for her not to hide her pregnancy so much as to go into complete self-denial."

"What do you mean by complete self-denial?"

"Try to convince herself it wasn't true, ignore the symptoms, and succeed enough at that to justify not telling you for a long time, as hard as it is for you to understand, Mrs. Montgomery."

"Jackie Lee, please."

"Jackie Lee. It's possible your daughter in all sense of the word actually believed she wasn't pregnant."

"Madness, utter madness. She does belong here."

"I saw from a note in her records that afterward you encouraged this in a way by pretending the child was yours. Am I correct that you actually simulated a pregnancy to persuade people it was so?"

She looked surprised that I knew that, but it was something that stood out in Dr. Anderson's report.

"I did what I did for her," she snapped back at me. "I was protecting her. You don't know how cruel and biting people are there. It was difficult enough trying to find her a decent man with whom she could develop a relationship. Imagine what this sort of sordid news would have done. I might as well have shipped her off to Somalia or some such godforsaken place."

I just nodded. Some people take that for agreement, and for the moment I could see it was better she assumed I approved of all she had done. In my experience, if you don't let parents, especially parents, come to their own conclusions as to their responsibility for the child's illnesses and problems, they will resent you and refuse to accept. Acceptance is the beginning of recovery.

There I go again, being the doctor. Sorry.

After I read the references to Jackie Lee's behavior, I had spoken with Dr. Anderson, of course, and he went into some detail about this cover-up Jackie Lee had created. He told me she became so absorbed in her own efforts to fool the public that, he thought, she had fooled herself as well. At least for a little while. He believed it contributed significantly to Grace's current depression and introversion. The truth is that the way he described your grandmother's behavior made it sound as if she should have been brought here as the patient and not your mother.

Now he was worried about the child, the little boy named Linden, growing up believing his grandmother was his mother. Dr. Anderson hoped I would help return Grace to a balanced enough state of mind so she could return and recapture her own child for both their sakes. It added pressure to my efforts, of course, and a solid reason for my letting her go. Neither of us could be selfish enough to see Linden without his mother. (It brings tears to my eyes just to write this, to write the words, let her go, for as you will see, that was just what I had to do.)

"Yes," I replied after a moment. "I'm sure what you did, you did for good reason, Jackie Lee."

She liked that and obviously liked I had stopped calling her Mrs. Montgomery.

"Exactly." She paused, dabbed her eyes again, and looked at me, her face turning dark and serious. "You don't think that it had a lot to do with what she...what she attempted to do to herself, do you?"

"It's best to wait for me to begin my examinations before we come to any conclusions about anything. I would be doing you a disservice to shoot from the hip, Jackie Lee. Give me some time."

"I know Dr. Anderson believes that it did. I could see it in his face whenever he spoke to me about it," she said, smirking. Then she sighed so deeply, I thought she had cracked her heart. "She was such a happy child once. When her father was alive, before his terrible helicopter accident, he doted on her and she practically worshiped the ground he walked upon. I was always warning him that he was spoiling her, not so much with gifts as with love. You can give someone too much love, you know.

"'Grace will never be able to love any man because she will always compare him to you and find fault with him,' I warned him, but he didn't listen and that's exactly what happened."

She leaned toward me.

"You know she's not had one satisfactory romance and she's in her twenties!"

"It's not so unusual, Jackie."

"Jackie Lee."

"I'm sorry. Jackie Lee. Not unusual at all, especially these days," I said softly.

"It is for Grace. Wait until you see her. She's a very attractive young woman when she wants to be. Right now she looks like something the cat dragged home, but when she's had her hair fixed, especially by my stylists, and she puts on one of her designer dresses and has her makeup done properly, she's a little movie star. I saw the way men looked at her at charity events and parties.

"But she was always pushing them off for one reason or another," she said sadly. She nodded and then she stared at me a moment. "You know what she believes, don't you? I imagine it's down there in that report Dr. Anderson sent you," she said, nodding at the folder on my lap as though it were a criminal record instead of a doctor's file.

I didn't reply. I didn't want to reveal anything in Dr. Anderson's report.

"You don't have to read it. I'll tell you. She believes she carries a Jonah curse, that everyone or anyone who loves her or whom she loves will have something terrible happen to him or her. She'll tell you all about it, I'm sure, about all of them, her victims," she said, throwing her head back and rolling her eyes dramatically.

"We'll try to get her to think differently about herself," I said.

She sucked in her breath and sat straighter.

"Yes. Well, what do you think? Can you cure her? Will she ever be a normal woman and marry and have a family and a home?" she demanded.

"I hope so, Jackie Lee. It's my intention to make that a reality, yes. She does have a son to care for and raise, of course."

"Care for and raise," she muttered. "Well, I can't just toss him out there to be at the mercy of those sharks, now can I? For now, I'll continue being his mother."

"That might do him some harm in time, Jackie Lee. Perhaps you should think of how you can gradually get him to understand the truth," I suggested softly.

"Yes, well, we'll see. I don't want to make promises to him that will never be fulfilled. I know how mentally ill people can be, how their recoveries can be false or only temporary, especially someone in her condition. I've read a number of magazine articles about it."

"There is a lot of misinformation about that, Jackie Lee. Perhaps the old adage, 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing' applies to this more than anything. Just be patient and give it all some time," I told her.

"Time. Exactly. How often should I come here?" she asked, rather demanded, I thought.

"Not for a while," I said. "Let's see how it goes and I'll call you."

She looked satisfied with that answer.

"I thought Grace was going to put up a fight or an argument about coming here, but she didn't so much as utter a little reluctance."

"That's good," I said.

"Good? Who would want to come here? How can that be something good?"

"Perhaps she realizes she needs help. That's what good, Jackie Lee. You have to recognize you have a problem before you can solve it."

"Um," she said. "Maybe. You know what she did, don't you? You know about her jumping off the dock in the middle of the night and then telling us she was getting on a ship with her dead father. She would have just let herself drown if we hadn't realized what she had done!"

"When people are so troubled, they lose their hold on what's real and what isn't. We all live in a little bit of illusion," I said, "but the difference is we know when to come back to reality."

"She doesn't," she said sharply.

"She will," I replied, now holding my eyes on her.

"I hope so," she relented. "Should I go back to say goodbye to her?"

"Maybe not. Maybe it's best you just leave quietly. She's in good hands. As you know, I have a wonderful staff here, and we don't like to see the families make the patients feel abandoned in any way."

"I'm not doing that," she retorted sharply.

"No, of course not, but someone who is already suffering with misconceptions, self-deprecation, loss of identity..."

"Yes, well, I suppose you are right. You do know more than I do," she said, standing.

"I'll walk you out," I said.

"It's a very pretty place. I mean, where it's located, those willow trees, the river nearby, the grounds."

"Nature is a true healer," I said.

"If that were true, you'd think the ocean would have been that for her. We lived right on the beach."

"It held other connotations, other meanings for her, perhaps."

"Her father crashed in the ocean, but we never talked about that," she said, nodding. "Oh, this is all so complicated. It makes me spin."

"Don't worry. We'll sort it out," I said. "Did you want to see the rest of the clinic, our facilities?"

"No," she said quickly. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound disinterested, but seeing all these disturbed people, especially the younger ones, depresses me. I don't know how you do this sort of work, Doctor. How do you do it?"

"You think about helping them, seeing them walk out of here to be productive people again, and that's how you do it," I said.

I walked out with her to the waiting limousine. The moment the driver saw her, he jumped and rushed around to open the door for her. She had that sort of aura about her continuously, commanding.

"This isn't easy for me," she said at the car, looking back at the clinic and taking a deep breath. "She's my only child. Aside from poor Linden, of course."

"I understand," I said.

"I keep thinking about how happy we all were when our lives were chaotic, when we were moving from naval base to naval base, following my husband in his career, never really having any roots. They used to salute each other, you know," she said. "With two fingers. She did it when she was only two, and he thought it was so funny and cute that he never forgot and always did it the same way."

I smiled.

She was really crying now, and I thought that under the shell she had created for herself in order, perhaps, to survive in the world she had found herself living in now, she still had a very warm, loving other self, desperately trying to be heard. When we're honest about our own emotions, we have the best chance for happiness, Willow. Always remember that.

I squeezed her hand gently.

She looked at me one more time and in a whisper said, "Take care of my baby."

Then she got into that luxurious, shiny black limousine with its tinted windows. I actually felt sorry for her. She looked shut up, locked away in there. The windows reflected me and the clinic. I no longer saw her, and moments later she was driven away.

I watched her go, and then I turned back to my clinic and walked with determined steps to attack whatever monster resided in your mother's troubled mind.

Copyright © 2003 by the Vanda General Partnership
Dark Seed © 2001 by the Vanda General Partnership

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Huh faintly remember this one. But it was interesting. This one

    Huh faintly remember this one. But it was interesting. This one is another prequel. Sad yet again but you can't help but keep reading all the same. That is if you want to complete the series instead of stopping halfway in to the series or something. Maybe I'll read the other series. Maybe.

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

    Posted August 23, 2006

    Hidden Leaves book 5

    The last in the DeBeers series, now in a different approach. The story is told through diary entries from the words of Willow's father Claude telling his side of the story and of the meeting of Willow's mother Grace Montgomery.

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

    Posted September 24, 2005

    A good change

    This was a new idea from Vc Andrews. Finally we get the story from a father's point of view. It was sweet and filled my heart with love and compassion for a man who could never be with the one woman he truly loved.

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

    Posted August 12, 2004

    GREAT

    Kicked a*s!! MY FAVORITE BOOK!!!! MUST READ!!!! RICHTOUS, RICHTOUS! =)

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

    Posted May 6, 2003

    Anothe page turner

    This book but a nice finish to the DeBeers family, keeping me interested the whole time.

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

    Posted March 6, 2003

    Better than Expected

    This was a decent end to the DeBeer series. I enjoyed reading this story through the eyes of Claude Debeers. It was sweet and touching at points. There were a lot of little errors that should have been caught by the editors that weren't and it was kind of funny, like the names of both of Grace's mothers husbands were changed. Overall though I would recommend this book to VC Andrews reader, it was definantly better than the one about Willow's daughter

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

    Posted April 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)