If There Be Thorns (Dollanganger Series #3)

If There Be Thorns (Dollanganger Series #3)

4.1 167
by V. C. Andrews
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Prologue

In the late evening when the shadows were long, I sat quiet and unmoving near one of Paul's marble statues. I heard the statues whispering to me of the past I could never forget; hinting slyly of the future I was trying to ignore. Flickering ghostly in the pale light of the rising moon were the will-o'-the-wisp regrets that

Overview

Prologue

In the late evening when the shadows were long, I sat quiet and unmoving near one of Paul's marble statues. I heard the statues whispering to me of the past I could never forget; hinting slyly of the future I was trying to ignore. Flickering ghostly in the pale light of the rising moon were the will-o'-the-wisp regrets that told me daily I could and should have done differently. But I am what I have always been, a person ruled by instincts. It seems I can never change.

I found a strand of silver in my hair today, reminding me that soon I might be a grandmother, and I shuddered. What kind of grandmother would I make? What kind of mother was I? In the sweetness of twilight I waited for Chris to come and join me and tell me with the true blue of his eyes that I'm not fading; I'm not just a paper flower but one that's real.

He put his arm about my shoulder and I rested my bead where it seemed to fit best, both of us knowing our story is almost over and Bart and Jory will give to both of us, either the best or the worst of what is yet to be.

It is their story now, Jory's and Bart's, and they will tell it as they knew it.

Copyright © 1981 by Virginia Andrews

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671606855
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
03/06/1981
Series:
Dollanganger Series , #3

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: Bart

"And on the seventh day God rested," read Jory as I finished patting the earth nice and firm over the pansy seeds that were meant to honor my aunt Carrie's and uncle Cory's birthday on May fifth. Little aunt and uncle I'd never seen. Both been dead a long, long time. Dead before I was born. People died easy in our family. (Wonder why they liked pansies so much? Silly little nothing flowers with pudding faces.) Wish Momma didn't think honoring dead people's birthdays was so damn important.

"You know what else?" asked Jory, like nine was a dumb age, and he was a big adult. "In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, they lived in the Garden of Eden without wearing any clothes at all. Then one day an evil talking snake told them it was sinful to walk around naked, so Adam put on a fig leaf."

Gosh...naked people who didn't know naked was wicked. "What did Eve put on?" I asked as I looked around, hoping to see a fig leaf. He went on reading in a singsong way that took me to olden times when God was looking out for everyone -- even naked people who could talk to snakes. Jory said he could put Biblical stories into "mind" music, and that made me mad and scared -- him dancing to "mind" music I couldn't hear! Made me feel stupid, invisible, dumber than crazy. "Jory, where d'ya find fig leaves?"

"Why?"

"If I had one, I'd take off all my clothes and wear it."

Jory laughed. "Good golly, Bart, there's only one way for a boy to wear a fig leaf -- and you'd be embarrassed."

"I would not!"

"You would too!"

"I'm never embarrassed!"

"Then how do you know what it's like? Besides, have you ever seen Dad wear a fig leaf?"

"No..." But I f everybody else -- was His! Then I'd shivered, fearful He might do somethin. But when He was forgivin I went an hour later to the little pen where Jory's live chick had been walkin around lonesome. I picked him up and told him he had a friend. Boy, we had a good time with me chasin him and him chasin me, when all of a sudden, after only two hours of havin fun -- that chick keeled over dead too!

Hated stiff cold things. Why'd it give up so easily? "What's the matter with you?" I shouted. "I didn't squeeze! My hands didn't hold you! I was careful -- so stop playin dead and get up or my daddy will think I killed you on purpose!" Once I'd seen my daddy haul a man out of the water and save his life by pumpin out the water and blowing in air, so I did the same things to the chick. It stayed dead. Next I massaged its heart, then I prayed, and still it stayed dead.

I was no good. No good for nothin. Couldn't stay clean. Emma said clean clothes on me were a waste of her good time. Couldn't hold onto a dish when I dried it. New toys fell apart soon after they came my way. New shoes looked old in ten minutes after knowin my feet. Weren't my fault if they scuffed up easily. People just didn't know how to make good, unscuffable shoes. Never saw a day when my knees weren't scabby or covered with bandaids. When I played ball I tripped and fell between bases. My hands didn't know how to catch right, so my fingers bent backwards and twice I'd had fingers broken. Three times I'd fallen from trees. Once I broke my right arm, once my left arm. Third time I only got bruises. Jory never broke anything.

Was no wonder my mom kept tellin me and him not to go next door to that big ole house with so many s taircases, 'cause sooner or later she knew I'd fall down steps and break all my bones!

"What a pity you don't have much coordination," mumbled Jory. Then he stood up and yelled, "Bart, stop running like a girl! Lean forward, use your legs like pumps. Put your heart in it and let go! Forget about falling. You won't if you don't expect to. And if you catch me I'll give you my superspeed ball!"

Boy, wasn't nothin I wanted in this whole wide world more than I wanted that ball of his. Jory could throw it with a curve. When he pitched at tin cans setting on the wall, he'd hit 'em, one after another. I never hit anything I aimed for -- but I did hit a lot I didn't even see, like windows and people.

"Don't want yer ole speedball?" I gasped, though I did want it. It was a better ball than mine; they were always givin him better than me.

He looked at me with sympathy, making me want to cry. Hated pity! "You can have it even if you don't win the race, and you can give me yours. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I just want you to stop being afraid of doing everything wrong, and then maybe you won't -- sometimes getting mad enough helps you win." He smiled, and I guess if my momma had been around she would have thought his flash of white teeth was charmin. My face was born for scowlin. "Don't want yer ole ball," I repeated, refusing to be won over to someone handsome, graceful and fourteenth in a long fine of Russian ballet dancers who'd married ballerinas. What was so great about dancers? Nothin', nothin'! God had smiled on Jory's legs and made them pretty, while mine looked like knobby sticks that wanted to bleed.

"You hate me, don't you? You want me to die, don't YOU?"

He gave me a fun ny, long look. "Naw, I don't hate you and I don't want you to die. I kinda like you for my brother even if you are clumsy and a squealer."

"Thanks heaps."

"Yeah...think nothing of it. Let's go look at the house."

Every day after school we went to the high white wall and sat up there, and some days we went inside the house. Soon school would be over and we'd have nothin to do all day but play. It was nice to know the house was there, waitin for us. Spooky ole house with lots of rooms, jagged halls, trunks fun of hidden treasures, high ceilings, odd-shaped rooms with small rooms joinin, sometimes a row of little rooms hidin one behind the other.

Spiders lived there and spun webs on the fancy chandeliers. Mice ran everywhere, havin hundreds of babies to put droppins all over. Garden insects moved inside and climbed the walls and crept on the wood floors. Birds came down the chimneys and fluttered about madly as they tried to find a way out. Sometimes they banged against walls, windows, and we'd come in and find 'em dead and pitiful. Sometimes Jory and I would arrive in the nick of time and throw open windows and doors so they could escape.

Jory figured someone must have abandoned the ole house quickly. Half the furniture was there, settin dusty and moldin, givin off smelly odors that made Jory wrinkle his nose. I sniffed it and tried to know what it was sayin. I could stand real still and almost hear the ghosts talkin, and if we sat still on a dusty ole velvet couch and didn't talk, up from the cellar would come faint rustlins like the ghosts wanted to whisper secrets in our ears.

"Don't you ever tell anybody ghosts talk to you, or they'll think you're crazy," Jory had warned. We already ha d one crazy person in our family -- our daddy's mother, who was in a nuthouse way back in Virginia. Once a summer we went East to visit her and ole graves. Momma wouldn't go in the long brick building where people in pretty clothes strolled over green lawns, and nobody would have guessed they were crazy if attendants in white suits hadn't been there too.

Every summer Momma would ask, when Daddy came back from seein his mother, "Well, is she better?" And Daddy would look sad before he'd say, "No, not really much progress...but there would be if you would forgive her."

That always shook Momma up. She acted like she wanted that grandmother to stay locked up forever.

"You listen to me, Christopher Doll" my momma had snapped, "it's the other way around, remember! She's the one who should go down on her knees and plead -- she should ask for our forgiveness!"

Last summer we hadn't gone East to visit anybody. I hated ole graves, ole Madame Marisha with her black rusty clothes, her big bun of white and black hair -- and I didn't care even now if two ole ladies back East never had a visit from us again. And as for them down in those graves -- let 'em stay there without flowers! Too many dead people in our lives, messin it up.

"C'mon, Bart!" called Jory. He had already scaled the tree on our side of the wall, and he was sittin up there waitin for me. I managed the climb, then settled down next to Jory, who insisted I sit against the tree trunk -- just in case. "You know what?" said Jory wistfully. "Someday I'm gonna buy Mom a house just as big. Every once in a while I overhear her and Dad talking about big houses, so I guess she wants one larger than the one we've already got."

"Yeah, they s ure do talk a lot about big houses."

"I like our house better," said Jory, while I set about drummin my heels against the wall, which had bricks under the crumblin white stucco. Momma had mentioned once she thought the bricks showin through added "interesting texture contrast." I did what I could to make the wall more interestin.

But it was sure true that in a big house like that one over there you could get lost in the dark and ramble on and on for days on end. None of the bathrooms worked. No water. Crazy sinks with no water and stupid fruit cellar with no fruit, and wine cellar with no wine.

"Gee, wouldn't it be nice if a big family moved in over there?" Jory said, wishin like me we could have lots and lots of nearby friends to play with. We didn't have anybody but each other once we came home from school.

"And if they had two boys and two girls it would be just perfect," went on Jory dreamily. "Sure would be neat to have all girls living next door."

Neat, sure. I'll bet he was wishin Melodie Richarme would move in over there. Then he could see her every day and hug and kiss her like I'd seen him do a few times. Girls. Made me sick. "Hate girls! -- want all boys!" I grouched. Jory laughed, saying I was only nine and soon enough I'd like girls more than boys.

"What makes Melodie's arms rich?"

"Do you realize how dumb that makes you sound? That's her last name and doesn't mean anything."

Just when I wanted to say he was the dumb one because all names had to mean somethin, or else why have them? -- two trucks pulled up in the long driveway of the mansion. Wow! Nobody ever went over there but US.

We sat on and watched the workmen runnin around, doin this and that. Some went u p on the orange roof Momma said was called "pantile" and began to check it over. Others went inside the house with ladders and cans that looked like they held paint. Some had huge rolls of wallpaper under their arms. Others checked over the windows, and some looked at the shrubs and trees.

"Hey!" said Jory, very upset lookin. "Somebody must have bought that place. I'll bet they'll move in after it's fixed up."

Didn't want no neighbors who would disturb Momma and Daddy's privacy. All the time they were talkin about how nice it was not to have close neighbors to "disturb their privacy."

We sat on until it grew dark, then went into our house and didn't say a word to our parents -- for when you said somethin out loud, that meant it was really true. Thoughts didn't count.

Next day it was Sunday and we went on a picnic at Stinson Beach. Then came Monday afternoon and Jory and I were back up on the wall, starin over at all that activity. Was foggy and cold, but we could see just well enough to be bothered. We couldn't go over there and have a place of our own anymore. Where would we play now?

"Hey, you kids!" called a burly man on another day when we were only watchin. "Whadaya doin' up there?"

"Nothing!" yelled Jory. (I never talked to strangers. Jory was always teasin me for not talkin to anybody much but myself.)

"Don't you kids tell me you're not doin' nothin' when I see you over here! This house is private property -- so stay off these grounds or you'll hear from me!"

He was real mean, and fierce lookin; his workclothes were old and dirty. When he came closer I saw the biggest feet in my life, and the dirtiest boots. I was glad the wall was ten feet high and we had the advantage over him.

"Sure we play over there a little," said Jory, who wasn't scared of anybody, "but we don't hurt anything. We leave it like we found it."

"Well, from now on stay off altogether!" he snapped, glarin first at Jory, then at me. "Some rich dame has bought this place and she won't want kids hangin around. And don't you think you can get by with anything because she's an old lady livin alone. She's bringin servants with her."

Servants. Wow!

"Rich people can have everything their own way," muttered the giant on the ground as he moved off. "Do this, do that, and have it done yesterday. Money -- God, what I wouldn't do to have my share."

We had only Emma, so we weren't really rich. Jory said Emma was like a maiden aunt, not really a relative or a servant. To me she was just somebody I'd known all my life, somebody who didn't like me nearly as much as she liked Jory. I didn't like her either, so I didn't care.

Weeks passed. School ended. Still those workmen were over there. By this time Momma and Daddy had noticed, and they weren't too happy about neighbors they didn't intend to visit and make welcome. Both me and Jory wondered why they didn't want friends comin to our house.

"It's love," whispered Jory. "They're still like honeymooners. Remember, Chris is our mom's third husband, and the bloom hasn't worn off."

What bloom? Didn't see any flowers.

Jory had passed on to the junior year of high school with flyin colors. I sneaked into the fifth grade by the skin of my teeth. Hated school. Hated that ole mansion that looked like new now. Gone were all the spooky, eerie times when we'd had lots of fun over there.

"We'll just bide our time until we can sneak over there and see that old lady," Jory said, whispering so all those gardeners trimmin the shrubs and snippin at the trees wouldn't hear.

She owned acres of land, twenty or more. That made for lots of cleanup jobs, since the workmen on the roof were lettin everythin fall. Her yard was littered with papers, spills of nails, bits of lumber left over from repair jobs, plus trash that blew through the iron fence in front of the driveway that was near what Jory called "lover's lane."

That hateful construction boss was pickin up beer cans as he headed our way, scowlin just to see us when we weren't doin a thing bad. "How many times do I have to tell you boys?" he bellowed. "Now don't force me to say it again!" He put his huge fists on his hips and glared up at us. "I've warned you before to stay off that wall -- now Scat!"

Jory was unwilling to move from the wall when it wasn't any harm to just sit and look.

"Are the two of you deaf?" he yelled again.

In a flash Jory's face turned from handsome to mean. "No, we are not deaf! We live here. This wall is on the property line, and just as much ours as it is hers. Our dad says so. So we will sit up here and watch just as long as we like. And don't you dare yell and tell us to 'scat' again!"

"Sassy kid, aren't yah?" and off he wandered without even lookin at me, who was just as sassy -- inside.

Copyright © 1981 by Virginia Andrews

Meet the Author

One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of Flowers in the Attic, first in the renowned Dollanganger family series which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. The family saga continues with Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth, Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger, and Secret Brother. V.C. Andrews has written more than seventy novels, which have sold more than 106 million copies worldwide and been translated into twenty-five foreign languages.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 6, 1923
Date of Death:
December 19, 1986
Place of Birth:
Portsmouth, Virginia
Place of Death:
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

If There Be Thorns (Dollanganger Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Caroline Yount More than 1 year ago
This is a great, but slightly creepy book. In If There Be Thorns, Christopher and Cathy have two yoing boys. Bart, the younger of the two has Riley's Day Sydrome, the inability to feel pain. This story revolves around Bart, the veiled lady, and Bart's brother (I forgot his name) and his sweetheart Melody. While the house is being built, the boys are fascinated as to who would build a big house next to theirs, in the middle of nowhere. While the boys are watching the house being built Kathy is teaching her dance class and Christopher is at his hospital, as he became a doctor. Kathy's favorite student dies in a car crash, but before she did she gave her two year old daughter to Kathy, thus creating a new addition to the family. When the lady and her butler move in next door, things start to go awry. The lady spoils Bart, while the butler gives him a journal and the 'secrets to great sucsess.' Bart starts to pretend he is someone named Malcolm and is being cruel, with a hint of madness. Who are the people next door? Why is Bart pretending to be Malcolm? As the secrets of the past are revealed, will the Dollanganger's rise to the challenge? Be prepare for this novel in the series, as it brings death, hidden answers, people of the past, heart break, life saving, realization, and who everyone says they are and who they will become. This installment is written in the two boy's points of view. Bart carries the drama and anger, while his brother has the romance and protectivess. Will the family be torn apart by the Foxworth Hall curse? Or will love override it. The flowers have blossomed and now their seeds have too, but what do you do if the blossomed flower has thorns? V.C Andrews brings her best, so get ready and watch the flowers petals fall or blossom. Read on, to find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlike the book prior to this one, the editing was much better! Gone were the typo's and the utter mess of the editing that I barely made it though reading it. This book however, was filled with such anguish that like another commenter, I had to set the book aside to take it all end. I couldn't handle the animal cruelty as well. Fortunately, it was brief, but still left me unsettled. Bart clearly has been affected by the truth of his parentage and you can clearly see the life changing damage it does to him. Jory, who is the exact opposite of Bart, had enough of Paul's and Christopher's optimistic view on life, to allow him to grow up with those influences. Older than Bart, I think that Jory's first 4 years of life without a sibling, helped him to gain the self confidence that Bart so sadly lacks. I would recommend this book, if you have already read the first two. It is crucial to the entire series. Clearly this book, as well as the other's in this series is not for young minds/readers. If you do allow your teenager to read it, be prepared to answer any questions openly and honesyly, as this whole series leaves very little to the imagination. Incest, animal cruelty, sexual content, murder and revenge may not be some subjects you would want your pre-teen to read. Nothing in these books are sugar coated. A hard read, but definitely a good read. I am subtracting a star for the animal abuse and cruelty. Kadi'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book I highly recommend reading it. There are so many turning of events. I had to put it down for a while because I had to take it all in. When you get the chance read it!!!! Im on the fourth one Seeds of Yesterday LUV IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of the 3 books I've read so far in this series, this one was my least favorite. I almost stopped reading at one point because I was so bothered by the animal cruelty that took place. Luckily that was only a small part in the book and I was able to push past it. Overall it was a decent story and a crucial element in the Dollanganger series.
risuena More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first two in the series. I really liked Jory's point of view but didn't care for Bart's. It was a little too religiously fanatic for me, probably the whole point though. The juxaposition of the two sons with their opposite perspectives was original and the best part of the book. It was like looking at a glass half full then alternating to looking at it half empty. I liked what the boys represented/symbolized but my heart and mind weren't as attached to the characters nor story very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that I loved the entire Dollanger series, however this was my least favorite of the 5 books. It dragged and I found Bart and John Amos a bit annoying...I forced myself to read it so that I could get to the next book.
Becky-Books More than 1 year ago
This book was not quite as good as the first two. Somethings like this could happen. However,one would hope that parents would have a more watchful eye over their children. While reading the book, I could not understand why the parents would not discipline or question Bart. Granted, this is a work of fiction, though hopefully all adults reading this will keep in mind the need to keep an eye on their children. Also, Cathy and Chris' secrets are out - to their immediately family. You are glad when that finally happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just as amazing as flowers in the attic!
hillary_parmer More than 1 year ago
It was awesome
maddieramsey More than 1 year ago
A seemingly perfect family of four, an extremely well-guarded secret, and a long-lost, and unwanted, relative are only a few of the things that contribute to the overwhelming intensity of V.C. Andrews' If There Be Thorns. The third saga in a series of four, published by Vanda General Partnership, Andrews continues the dark and forbidden tale of the 'Dollanganger' family with incredible detail and imagery. As with the two previous novels, Andrews draws her readers in to a sense of reality with her excellent storytelling and inspiring creative skills. If There Be Thorns was made into an exceptional novel because of Andrews' intense and twisting plots, her imaginative and exaggerated use of language, and her outstanding sense of realism she brings to all of her works. In the previous novels in the series, Flowers In The Attic and Petals In The Wind, the four Dollanganger children move from their home in Greenglenna to their estranged grandparent's mansion, Foxworth Hall, with their newly widowed mother. Once there, the children are confined to the attic because of their mother's secrecy with her dying father. They are promised that, once the grandfather dies, they will be allowed to come down from the attic and relish in an extravagant Foxworth life full of glory and riches. Andrews shows through her words distinctly how painful and full of suffering their three years of confinement were. After coming to many terrible realizations about their mother and grandparents, and the loss of their younger brother Cory, the children manage to escape the mansion, and the two eldest children, Chris and Catherine, strive to find happiness, while Carrie still suffers the hardships of the attic. Over the next years, Catherine marries twice, resulting in two children: Jory and Bart (the son of her mother's husband), and an adopted daughter named Cindy. They all suffer many losses, including that of their sister Carrie, and Catherine's first and second husbands. In If There Be Thorns, Andrews continues the tale of the two remaining Dollanganger children and the family that they have built with each other. Posing as Jory and Bart's step-father, Christopher continues to protect Catherine and her children, especially when an old woman, who is very interested in Bart, moves into the mansion next to their home. As time goes on, the children begin to realize that their parents have a secret, and the woman next door slowly begins to reveal her true identity... Although the basis of this story seems like a highly unlikely (bordering on impossible) story, Andrews creates a very realistic atmosphere in the small town of Fairfax, California. Though the series was first published in the late 70's ( this book in particular in 1981), she finds a way to relate the characters to her readers, enables readers from present-day connect, and let them find some common ground with the things and situations that she writes about. Throughout the series, it was easy to imagine the scenarios her characters found themselves in and put yourself in their shoes, such as the way Bart acts towards his adopted sister Cindy, or how scared the family is when they cannot find Catherine . Andrews manages to keep her characters right alongside all the twists and turns her intricate plots take, and use the imagery necessary for her readers to make themselves a part of the world of the Dollanganger family. Imagery is one of the most important factors V.C. Andrews brings to the Dollangang
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with all previous readers. This book made me drift away so many times. Just the way Bart talked and his twisted personality was very annoying and weird. I just kept on reading just so I wouldnt miss anything for the 4th book. A little disappointed...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the first two books, but 'If there be thorns' was a lot different. It's almost like it was written by a different author! It was boring and repetitive, to say the least. It was still important to read, however, to gain information on Bart and his condition, but I doubt I will ever read this chapter in the Dollanganger series ever again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to be honest and say that I really wasn't too keen on this part of the saga. I found the child's view narrative annoying-Jory's wasn't bad, at least he could speak properly-but I found Bart pathetic but absolutely hateful at the same time. I didn't like the character development, either-Cathy, who has remained so strong throughout so much, seemed a shadow of herself in this book, and John Amos was completely different from the womanising Yank I remember from 'Flowers in the Attic'. While the story as a whole is far-fetched, I think this entry really tested its readers' disbelief. While it's crucial to read this to see why Bart's the way he is and prepare us for 'Seeds of Yesterday', I must say I didn't like it.
Anonymous 8 months ago
?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the quality as the original V C Andrews' books, but a good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book... a must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am re-reading the entire series. This book for some reason annoys me. There is nothing likable about Bart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Thorns' resses is the info center.<p> Res one is the initial story<br> Res two is rules and info<br> Res three is map<br> And res four is bios. <p> 'Axis' resses is the Inquisition Axis head quarters<br> a map will be posted there<p> 'Daggers' resses is the Rose Society head quarters. A map will also be posted there.<p> Caterina
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay. Now go to 'pain is my friend' result one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago