Seeds of Yesterday (Dollanganger Series #4)

( 116 )

Overview

The final, haunting novel, in the extraordinary story that has enthralled millions!
The horror began with Flowers in the Attic, the terrifying tale of four innocent children locked away from the world by a cruel mother.
The shocking fury continued with Petals on the Wind and If There be Thorns. Now V.C. Andrews has created the last dark chapter in the strange, chilling tale of passion and peril.

...
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Seeds of Yesterday (Dollanganger Series #4)

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Overview

The final, haunting novel, in the extraordinary story that has enthralled millions!
The horror began with Flowers in the Attic, the terrifying tale of four innocent children locked away from the world by a cruel mother.
The shocking fury continued with Petals on the Wind and If There be Thorns. Now V.C. Andrews has created the last dark chapter in the strange, chilling tale of passion and peril.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671729486
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 11/15/1990
  • Series: Dollanganger Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 32,540
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.94 (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.

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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

Foxworth Hall

And so it came to pass the summer when I was fifty-two and Chris was fifty-four that our mother's promise of riches, made long ago when I was twelve and Chris was fourteen, was at last realized.

We both stood and stared at that huge, intimidating house I'd never expected to see again. Even though it was not an exact duplicate of the original Foxworth Hall, still I quivered inside. What a price both Chris and I had paid to stand where we were now, temporary rulers over this mammoth house that should have been left in charred ruins. Once, long ago, I'd believed he and I would live in this house like a princess and prince, and between us we'd have the golden touch of King Midas, only with more control.

I no longer believed in fairy tales.

As vividly as if it had happened only yesterday, I remembered that chill summer night full of mystical moonlight and magical stars in a black velvet sky when we'd first approached this place, expecting only the best to happen. We had found only the worst.

At that time Chris and I had been so young, innocent and trusting, believing in our mother, loving her, believing as she led us and our five-year-old twin brother and sister through the dark and somehow scary night, to that huge house called Foxworth Hall, that all our future days would be colored green for wealth and yellow for happiness.

What blind faith we'd had when we tagged along behind.

Locked away in that dim and dreary upstairs room, playing in that dusty, musty attic, we'd sustained our selves by our belief in our mother's promises that someday Foxworth Hall and all its fabulous riches would be ours. However, despite all her promises, a cruel and heartless old grandfather with a bad but tenacious heart refused to stop beating in order to let four young and hopeful hearts live, and so we'd waited, and waited, until more than three long, long years passed, and Momma failed to keep her promise.

And not until the day she died — and her will was read — did Foxworth Hall fall under our control. She had left the mansion to Bart, her favorite grandson, my child by her own second husband, but until he was twenty-five, the estate was held in trust by Chris.

Foxworth Hall had been ordered reconstructed before she moved to California to find us, but it wasn't until after her death that the final touches were completed on the new Foxworth Hall.

For fifteen years the house stood empty, overseen by caretakers legally supervised by a staff of attorneys who had either written or called Chris long distance to discuss with him the problems that arose. A waiting mansion, grieving, perhaps, waiting for the day when Bart decided he'd go there to live, as we'd always presumed one day he'd do. Now he was offering this house to us for a short while, to be our own until he arrived and took over.

There was always a catch in every lure offered, whispered my ever-suspicious mind. I felt the lure now, reaching out to ensnare us again. Had Chris and I traveled such a long road only to come full circle, back to the beginning?

What would be the catch this time?

No, no, I kept telling myself, my suspicious, everdoubting nature was getting the better of me. We had the gold without the tarnish...we did! We did have to realize our just rewards some day. The night was over — our day had finally come, and we were now standing in the full sunlight of dreams come true.

0 To actually be here, planning to live in that restored home, put sudden familiar gall in my mouth. All my pleasure vanished. I was actually realizing a nightmare that wouldn't vanish when I opened my eyes.

I threw off the feeling, smiled at Chris, squeezed his fingers and stared at the restored Foxworth Hall, risen from the ashes of the old, to confront and confound us again with its majesty, its formidable size, its sense of abiding evil, its myriad windows with their black shutters like heavy lids over stony dark eyes. It loomed high and wide, spreading over several acres in magnificent but intimidating grandeur. It was larger than most hotels, formed in the shape of a giant T, only crossed on each end to give it an enormous center section, with wings jutting off north and south, east and west.

It was constructed of rosy pink bricks. The many black shutters matched the roof of slate. Four impressive white Corinthian columns supported a gracious front portico. A sunburst of stained glass was over the black double front doors. Huge brass escutcheon plates decorated the doors and made what could have been plain rather elegant and less somber.

This might have cheered me if the sun hadn't suddenly taken a fugitive position behind a passing dark cloud. I glanced upward at a sky turned stormy and foreboding, heralding rain and wind. The trees in the surrounding forest began to sway so that birds took alarmed flight and screeched as they flew for cover. The green lawns so immaculately kept were quickly littered with broken twigs and falling leaves, and the blooming flowers in geometrically laid-out beds were lashed to the ground unmercifully.

I trembled and thought: Tell me again, Christopher Doll, that it's going to work out fine. Tell me again, for I don't really believe now that the sun has gone and the storm is drawing nearer.

He glanced upward, too, sensing my growing anxiety, my unwillingness to go through with this, despite my promise to Bart, my second son. Seven years ago his psychiatrists had told us their treatment was successful and that Bart was quite normal and could live out his life without needing therapy on a regular basis.

To give me comfort Chris's arm lifted to encircle my shoulders. His lips lowered to brush my cheek. "It's going to work out for all of us. I know it will. We're no longer the Dresden dolls trapped in an upstairs room, dependent on our elders to do the right thing. Now we're the adults, in control of our lives. Until Bart reaches the stated age of inheritance, you and I are the owners. Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Sheffield from Marin County, California, and no one will know us as brother and sister. They won't suspect that we are truly descendants of the Foxworths. We have left all troubles behind us. Cathy, this is our chance. Here, in this house, we can undo all the harm done to us and to our children, especially Bart. We'll rule not with steel wills and iron fists, as was Malcolm's way, but with love, compassion and understanding."

Because Chris had his arm about me, holding me tight against his side, I gained strength enough to look at the house in a new light. It was beautiful. For Bart's sake we'd stay until his twenty-fifth birthday, and then Chris and I would take Cindy with us and fly to Hawaii, where we'd always wanted to live out our lives, near the sea and white beaches. Yes, that's the way it was supposed to be. The way it had to be. Smiling, I turned to Chris. "You're right. I am not afraid of this house, or any house." He chuckled and lowered his arm to my waist, pressuring me forward.

Soon after finishing high school, my first son Jory had flown to New York City to join his grandmother, Madame Marisha. There, in her ballet company, he'd soon been noticed by the critics and was given leading roles. His childhood sweetheart, Melodie, had flown east to join Jory.

At the age of twenty, my Jory had married Melodie, who was only a year younger. The pair of them had struggled and worked to reach the top. They were now the most notable ballet team in the country, a team of perfect, beautiful coordination, as if they could reach each other's mind and signal with a flash of their eyes. For five years they'd been riding the crest of success. Every performance brought rave reviews from the critics and from the public. Television exposure had given them a larger audience than they could ever have gained by personal appearances alone.

Madame Marisha had died in her sleep two years ago, though we could console ourselves by knowing she'd lived to be eighty-seven and had worked up until the very day she passed away.

Around the age of seventeen, my second son Bart had transformed almost magically from a backward student into the most brilliant one in his school. By that time Jory had flown on to New York. I had thought at the time that Jory's absence had brought Bart out of his shell and made him interested in learning. Just two days ago, he had graduated from Harvard Law School, the valedictorian of his class.

Chris and I had joined Melodie and Jory in Boston, and in the huge auditorium of Harvard Law School we'd watched Bart receive his law degree. Only Cindy, our adopted daughter, was not there. She was at her best friend's house in South Carolina. It had given me new pain to know that Bart could not let go of his envy of a girl who'd done her best to win his approval — especially when he'd done nothing to win hers. It gave me additional pain to know that Cindy couldn't let go of her dislike of Bart long enough to help him celebrate.

"No!" she'd shouted over the telephone, "I don't care if he did send me an invitation! It's just his way of showing off. He can put ten degrees behind his name and I still won't admire or like him — not after all he did to me. Explain to Jory and Melodie why, so their feelings won't be hurt. But you won't have to explain to Bart. He'll know."

I'd sat between Chris and Jory and stared, amazed that a son who was so reticent at home, so moody and unwilling to communicate, could rise to the top of his class and be named valedictorian. His impassioned words created a mesmerizing spell. I glanced at Chris, who looked proud enough to burst before he grinned at me.

"Wow, who would have guessed? He's terrific, Cathy. Aren't you proud? I know I am."

Yes, yes, of course, I was very proud to see Bart up there. Still, I knew the Bart behind the podium was not the Bart we all knew at home. Maybe he was safe now. Completely normal — his doctors had said so.

To my way of thinking, there were many small indications that Bart had not changed as dramatically as his doctors thought. He'd said just before we parted, "You must be there, Mother, when I come into my own." Not a word about Chris being there with me. "It's important to me that you be there."

Always he had to force himself to speak Chris's name. "We'll invite Jory and his wife down, too, and, of course, Cindy." He'd grimaced just to say her name. It was beyond me how anyone could dislike a girl as pretty and sweet as our beloved adopted daughter. I couldn't have loved Cindy more if she'd been flesh of my flesh, and blood of my Christopher Doll. In a way, since she'd come to us at the age of two, she was our child, the only one we could claim as truly belonging to both of us.

Cindy was sixteen now, and much more voluptuous than I'd been at her age. But Cindy hadn't been as deprived as I. Her vitamins had come from fresh air and sunshine, both of which had been denied four imprisoned children. Good food and exercise...she'd had the best. We'd had the worst.

Chris asked if we were going to stay out here all day and wait for pelting rain to drench us both before we went inside. He tugged me forward, urging me on with his cheerful confidence.

Gradually, step by slow step, as the thunder began to crash and swiftly come closer, with the swollen, heavy sky zigzagging with frightening electrical bolts, we approached the grand portico of Foxworth Hall.

I began to notice details I'd missed before. The portico floor was made of mosaic tiles in three shades of red intricately laid to form a sunburst pattern that matched the glass sunburst over the double front doors. I looked at those sunburst windows and rejoiced. They hadn't been here before. Perhaps it was just as Chris had predicted. It wouldn't be the same, just as no two snowflakes were the same.

Then I was frowning, for to all intents and purposes, who ever saw the differences in falling snowflakes?

"Stop looking for something to steal the pleasure from this day, Catherine. I see it on your face, in your eyes. I vow on my word of honor that we will leave this house as soon as Bart has his party and fly on to Hawaii. If a hurricane comes and blows a tidal wave over our home once we're there, it will be because you expect that to happen."

He made me laugh. "Don't forget the volcano," I said with a small giggle. "It could hurl hot lava at us." He grinned and playfully spanked my bottom.

"Quit! Please, please. August tenth will see us on our plane — but a hundred to one you'll worry about Jory, about Bart, and wonder what he's doing all alone in this house."

That's when I remembered something forgotten until now. Waiting inside Foxworth Hall was the surprise Bart had promised would be there. How strangely he'd looked when he'd said that.

"Mother, it will blow your mind when you see — " He'd paused, smiled and looked uneasy. "I've flown down there each summer just to check things over and see that the house wasn't being neglected and left to mold and decay. I gave orders to interior decorators to make it look exactly as it used to, except for my office. I want that modern, with all the electronic conveniences I'll need. But...if you want, you can do a few things to make it cozy."

Cozy? How could a house such as this ever be cozy? I knew what it felt like to be enclosed inside, swallowed, trapped forever. I shivered as I heard the click of my high heels beside the dull thuds of Chris's shoes as we neared the black doors with their escutcheons made decorative with heraldic shields. I wondered if Bart had looked up the Foxworth ancestry and found the titles of aristocracy and the coats of arms he desperately wanted and seemed to need. On each black door were heavy brass knockers, and in between the doors a small, almost unnoticeable button to ring a bell somewhere inside.

"I'm sure this house is full of modern gadgets that would shock genuine historical Virginia homes," whispered Chris.

No doubt Chris was right.

Bart was in love with the past, but even more infatuated with the future. Not an electronic gadget came out that he didn't buy.

Chris reached into his pocket for the door key Bart had given to me just before we flew from Boston. Chris smiled my way before he inserted the large brass key. Before he could complete the turning action, the door swung silently open.

Startled, I took a step backward.

Chris pulled me forward again, speaking politely to the old man who invitingly gestured us inside.

"Come in," he said in a weak but raspy voice as he quickly looked us over. "Your son called and told me to expect you. I'm the hired help — so to speak."

I stared at the lean old man who was bent forward so that his head projected unbecomingly, making him seem to be climbing hills even while standing on a flat surface. His hair was faded, not gray and not blond. His eyes were a watery pale blue, his cheeks gaunt, his eyes hollowed out, as if he'd suffered greatly for many, many years. There was something about him something familiar.

My leaden legs didn't want to move. The fierce wind whipped my white, full-skirted summer dress high enough to show my thighs as I put one foot inside the grand entrance foyer of the Phoenix called Foxworth Hall.

Chris stayed close at my side. He released my hand to put his arm around my shoulders. "Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Sheffield," he introduced us in his kindly way, "and you?"

The wizened old man seemed reluctant to put out his right hand and shake Chris's strong, tanned one. His thin old lips wore a cynical, crooked smile that duplicated the cock of one bushy eyebrow. "My pleasure to meet you, Dr. Sheffield."

I couldn't take my eyes off that bent old man with his watery blue eyes. Something about his smile, his thinning hair with broad streaks of silver, those eyes with startling dark lashes. Daddy!

He looked as our father might have looked if he'd lived to be as old as this man before us — and had suffered through every torment known to mankind.

My daddy, my beloved handsome father who'd been the joy of my youth. How I'd prayed to see him again some day.

The stringy old hand was grasped firmly by Chris, and only then did the old man tell us who he was. "Your longlost uncle who was, ostensibly, lost in the Swiss Alps fifty-seven years ago."

Copyright © 1984 by Vanda Productions Ltd.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

And so it came to pass the summer when I was fifty-two and Chris was fifty-four that our mother's promise of riches, made long ago when I was twelve and Chris was fourteen, was at last realized.

We both stood and stared at that huge, intimidating house I'd never expected to see again. Even though it was not an exact duplicate of the original Foxworth Hall, still I quivered inside. What a price both Chris and I had paid to stand where we were now, temporary rulers over this mammoth house that should have been left in charred ruins. Once, long ago, I'd believed he and I would live in this house like a princess and prince, and between us we'd have the golden touch of King Midas, only with more control.

I no longer believed in fairy tales.

As vividly as if it had happened only yesterday, I remembered that chill summer night full of mystical moonlight and magical stars in a black velvet sky when we'd first approached this place, expecting only the best to happen. We had found only the worst.

At that time Chris and I had been so young, innocent and trusting, believing in our mother, loving her, believing as she led us and our five-year-old twin brother and sister through the dark and somehow scary night, to that huge house called Foxworth Hall, that all our future days would be colored green for wealth and yellow for happiness.

What blind faith we'd had when we tagged along behind.

Locked away in that dim and dreary upstairs room, playing in that dusty, musty attic, we'd sustained our selves by our belief in our mother's promises that someday Foxworth Hall and all its fabulous riches would be ours. However, despite all her promises, a cruel and heartless old grandfather with a bad but tenacious heart refused to stop beating in order to let four young and hopeful hearts live, and so we'd waited, and waited, until more than three long, long years passed, and Momma failed to keep her promise.

And not until the day she died -- and her will was read -- did Foxworth Hall fall under our control. She had left the mansion to Bart, her favorite grandson, my child by her own second husband, but until he was twenty-five, the estate was held in trust by Chris.

Foxworth Hall had been ordered reconstructed before she moved to California to find us, but it wasn't until after her death that the final touches were completed on the new Foxworth Hall.

For fifteen years the house stood empty, overseen by caretakers legally supervised by a staff of attorneys who had either written or called Chris long distance to discuss with him the problems that arose. A waiting mansion, grieving, perhaps, waiting for the day when Bart decided he'd go there to live, as we'd always presumed one day he'd do. Now he was offering this house to us for a short while, to be our own until he arrived and took over.

There was always a catch in every lure offered, whispered my ever-suspicious mind. I felt the lure now, reaching out to ensnare us again. Had Chris and I traveled such a long road only to come full circle, back to the beginning?

What would be the catch this time?

No, no, I kept telling myself, my suspicious, everdoubting nature was getting the better of me. We had the gold without the tarnish...we did! We did have to realize our just rewards some day. The night was over -- our day had finally come, and we were now standing in the full sunlight of dreams come true.

To actually be here, planning to live in that restored home, put sudden familiar gall in my mouth. All my pleasure vanished. I was actually realizing a nightmare that wouldn't vanish when I opened my eyes.

I threw off the feeling, smiled at Chris, squeezed his fingers and stared at the restored Foxworth Hall, risen from the ashes of the old, to confront and confound us again with its majesty, its formidable size, its sense of abiding evil, its myriad windows with their black shutters like heavy lids over stony dark eyes. It loomed high and wide, spreading over several acres in magnificent but intimidating grandeur. It was larger than most hotels, formed in the shape of a giant T, only crossed on each end to give it an enormous center section, with wings jutting off north and south, east and west.

It was constructed of rosy pink bricks. The many black shutters matched the roof of slate. Four impressive white Corinthian columns supported a gracious front portico. A sunburst of stained glass was over the black double front doors. Huge brass escutcheon plates decorated the doors and made what could have been plain rather elegant and less somber.

This might have cheered me if the sun hadn't suddenly taken a fugitive position behind a passing dark cloud. I glanced upward at a sky turned stormy and foreboding, heralding rain and wind. The trees in the surrounding forest began to sway so that birds took alarmed flight and screeched as they flew for cover. The green lawns so immaculately kept were quickly littered with broken twigs and falling leaves, and the blooming flowers in geometrically laid-out beds were lashed to the ground unmercifully.

I trembled and thought: Tell me again, Christopher Doll, that it's going to work out fine. Tell me again, for I don't really believe now that the sun has gone and the storm is drawing nearer.

He glanced upward, too, sensing my growing anxiety, my unwillingness to go through with this, despite my promise to Bart, my second son. Seven years ago his psychiatrists had told us their treatment was successful and that Bart was quite normal and could live out his life without needing therapy on a regular basis.

To give me comfort Chris's arm lifted to encircle my shoulders. His lips lowered to brush my cheek. "It's going to work out for all of us. I know it will. We're no longer the Dresden dolls trapped in an upstairs room, dependent on our elders to do the right thing. Now we're the adults, in control of our lives. Until Bart reaches the stated age of inheritance, you and I are the owners. Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Sheffield from Marin County, California, and no one will know us as brother and sister. They won't suspect that we are truly descendants of the Foxworths. We have left all troubles behind us. Cathy, this is our chance. Here, in this house, we can undo all the harm done to us and to our children, especially Bart. We'll rule not with steel wills and iron fists, as was Malcolm's way, but with love, compassion and understanding."

Because Chris had his arm about me, holding me tight against his side, I gained strength enough to look at the house in a new light. It was beautiful. For Bart's sake we'd stay until his twenty-fifth birthday, and then Chris and I would take Cindy with us and fly to Hawaii, where we'd always wanted to live out our lives, near the sea and white beaches. Yes, that's the way it was supposed to be. The way it had to be. Smiling, I turned to Chris. "You're right. I am not afraid of this house, or any house." He chuckled and lowered his arm to my waist, pressuring me forward.

Soon after finishing high school, my first son Jory had flown to New York City to join his grandmother, Madame Marisha. There, in her ballet company, he'd soon been noticed by the critics and was given leading roles. His childhood sweetheart, Melodie, had flown east to join Jory.

At the age of twenty, my Jory had married Melodie, who was only a year younger. The pair of them had struggled and worked to reach the top. They were now the most notable ballet team in the country, a team of perfect, beautiful coordination, as if they could reach each other's mind and signal with a flash of their eyes. For five years they'd been riding the crest of success. Every performance brought rave reviews from the critics and from the public. Television exposure had given them a larger audience than they could ever have gained by personal appearances alone.

Madame Marisha had died in her sleep two years ago, though we could console ourselves by knowing she'd lived to be eighty-seven and had worked up until the very day she passed away.

Around the age of seventeen, my second son Bart had transformed almost magically from a backward student into the most brilliant one in his school. By that time Jory had flown on to New York. I had thought at the time that Jory's absence had brought Bart out of his shell and made him interested in learning. Just two days ago, he had graduated from Harvard Law School, the valedictorian of his class.

Chris and I had joined Melodie and Jory in Boston, and in the huge auditorium of Harvard Law School we'd watched Bart receive his law degree. Only Cindy, our adopted daughter, was not there. She was at her best friend's house in South Carolina. It had given me new pain to know that Bart could not let go of his envy of a girl who'd done her best to win his approval -- especially when he'd done nothing to win hers. It gave me additional pain to know that Cindy couldn't let go of her dislike of Bart long enough to help him celebrate.

"No!" she'd shouted over the telephone, "I don't care if he did send me an invitation! It's just his way of showing off. He can put ten degrees behind his name and I still won't admire or like him -- not after all he did to me. Explain to Jory and Melodie why, so their feelings won't be hurt. But you won't have to explain to Bart. He'll know."

I'd sat between Chris and Jory and stared, amazed that a son who was so reticent at home, so moody and unwilling to communicate, could rise to the top of his class and be named valedictorian. His impassioned words created a mesmerizing spell. I glanced at Chris, who looked proud enough to burst before he grinned at me.

"Wow, who would have guessed? He's terrific, Cathy. Aren't you proud? I know I am."

Yes, yes, of course, I was very proud to see Bart up there. Still, I knew the Bart behind the podium was not the Bart we all knew at home. Maybe he was safe now. Completely normal -- his doctors had said so.

To my way of thinking, there were many small indications that Bart had not changed as dramatically as his doctors thought. He'd said just before we parted, "You must be there, Mother, when I come into my own." Not a word about Chris being there with me. "It's important to me that you be there."

Always he had to force himself to speak Chris's name. "We'll invite Jory and his wife down, too, and, of course, Cindy." He'd grimaced just to say her name. It was beyond me how anyone could dislike a girl as pretty and sweet as our beloved adopted daughter. I couldn't have loved Cindy more if she'd been flesh of my flesh, and blood of my Christopher Doll. In a way, since she'd come to us at the age of two, she was our child, the only one we could claim as truly belonging to both of us.

Cindy was sixteen now, and much more voluptuous than I'd been at her age. But Cindy hadn't been as deprived as I. Her vitamins had come from fresh air and sunshine, both of which had been denied four imprisoned children. Good food and exercise...she'd had the best. We'd had the worst.

Chris asked if we were going to stay out here all day and wait for pelting rain to drench us both before we went inside. He tugged me forward, urging me on with his cheerful confidence.

Gradually, step by slow step, as the thunder began to crash and swiftly come closer, with the swollen, heavy sky zigzagging with frightening electrical bolts, we approached the grand portico of Foxworth Hall.

I began to notice details I'd missed before. The portico floor was made of mosaic tiles in three shades of red intricately laid to form a sunburst pattern that matched the glass sunburst over the double front doors. I looked at those sunburst windows and rejoiced. They hadn't been here before. Perhaps it was just as Chris had predicted. It wouldn't be the same, just as no two snowflakes were the same.

Then I was frowning, for to all intents and purposes, who ever saw the differences in falling snowflakes?

"Stop looking for something to steal the pleasure from this day, Catherine. I see it on your face, in your eyes. I vow on my word of honor that we will leave this house as soon as Bart has his party and fly on to Hawaii. If a hurricane comes and blows a tidal wave over our home once we're there, it will be because you expect that to happen."

He made me laugh. "Don't forget the volcano," I said with a small giggle. "It could hurl hot lava at us." He grinned and playfully spanked my bottom.

"Quit! Please, please. August tenth will see us on our plane -- but a hundred to one you'll worry about Jory, about Bart, and wonder what he's doing all alone in this house."

That's when I remembered something forgotten until now. Waiting inside Foxworth Hall was the surprise Bart had promised would be there. How strangely he'd looked when he'd said that.

"Mother, it will blow your mind when you see -- " He'd paused, smiled and looked uneasy. "I've flown down there each summer just to check things over and see that the house wasn't being neglected and left to mold and decay. I gave orders to interior decorators to make it look exactly as it used to, except for my office. I want that modern, with all the electronic conveniences I'll need. But...if you want, you can do a few things to make it cozy."

Cozy? How could a house such as this ever be cozy? I knew what it felt like to be enclosed inside, swallowed, trapped forever. I shivered as I heard the click of my high heels beside the dull thuds of Chris's shoes as we neared the black doors with their escutcheons made decorative with heraldic shields. I wondered if Bart had looked up the Foxworth ancestry and found the titles of aristocracy and the coats of arms he desperately wanted and seemed to need. On each black door were heavy brass knockers, and in between the doors a small, almost unnoticeable button to ring a bell somewhere inside.

"I'm sure this house is full of modern gadgets that would shock genuine historical Virginia homes," whispered Chris.

No doubt Chris was right.

Bart was in love with the past, but even more infatuated with the future. Not an electronic gadget came out that he didn't buy.

Chris reached into his pocket for the door key Bart had given to me just before we flew from Boston. Chris smiled my way before he inserted the large brass key. Before he could complete the turning action, the door swung silently open.

Startled, I took a step backward.

Chris pulled me forward again, speaking politely to the old man who invitingly gestured us inside.

"Come in," he said in a weak but raspy voice as he quickly looked us over. "Your son called and told me to expect you. I'm the hired help -- so to speak."

I stared at the lean old man who was bent forward so that his head projected unbecomingly, making him seem to be climbing hills even while standing on a flat surface. His hair was faded, not gray and not blond. His eyes were a watery pale blue, his cheeks gaunt, his eyes hollowed out, as if he'd suffered greatly for many, many years. There was something about him something familiar.

My leaden legs didn't want to move. The fierce wind whipped my white, full-skirted summer dress high enough to show my thighs as I put one foot inside the grand entrance foyer of the Phoenix called Foxworth Hall.

Chris stayed close at my side. He released my hand to put his arm around my shoulders. "Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Sheffield," he introduced us in his kindly way, "and you?"

The wizened old man seemed reluctant to put out his right hand and shake Chris's strong, tanned one. His thin old lips wore a cynical, crooked smile that duplicated the cock of one bushy eyebrow. "My pleasure to meet you, Dr. Sheffield."

I couldn't take my eyes off that bent old man with his watery blue eyes. Something about his smile, his thinning hair with broad streaks of silver, those eyes with startling dark lashes. Daddy!

He looked as our father might have looked if he'd lived to be as old as this man before us -- and had suffered through every torment known to mankind.

My daddy, my beloved handsome father who'd been the joy of my youth. How I'd prayed to see him again some day.

The stringy old hand was grasped firmly by Chris, and only then did the old man tell us who he was. "Your longlost uncle who was, ostensibly, lost in the Swiss Alps fifty-seven years ago."

Copyright © 1984 by Vanda Productions Ltd.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 116 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(72)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Final Chapter

    This is the last book in the series (technically book #5 is a prequel). This book was really good. It jumps ahead to when Cathy is 52-55. I don't want to reveal the end, but being with Cathy from 12 all the way through middle age makes you feel that you were really a part of her life. The part of the Uncle was not totally convincing, but the other characters were. The end was touching, and brought tears to my eyes. If you read Flowers in the Attic, you MUST read this book!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2011

    How Sad-An anticlimatic ending to what was a great series

    I have spent the last 2 weeks reading this series non-stop. I love the series as a whole and yould highly recommend it. It is well-written and very orginal. The characters come to life and you learn to adore them. HOWEVER, this last book, the final chapter of Chris and Cathy's crazy life left me disappointed. Here's why: The book is back in Cathy's perspective, which is refreshing. She is in her 50s and moving back to the new Foxworth hall. A lot of events happen that are just as dramatic/sad as the last. The secrets surrounding the events keep you reading. Though, at times it seems Andrews is repeating herself, it wasn't so bad. BUT, in the last chapter you are expecting the tension to build up and the secrets to be revealed. But nothing is revealed!! It seems to just end without a real resolution to the certain issues. Who filled the columns with wet sand? Who destroyed Jory's ship? Who left Jory's window open so he got sick? It doesn't make sense!! I recommend reading it still, just don't expect much of the ending.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Great book

    : )

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    The journey was alright; the ending made the book.

    I would give it 3 1/2 stars. The pace of the plot flowed well enough, but I couldn't engage myself in the characters as well. Jory's experience, although sad and heartfelt at first, turned rather annoying after awhile. Bart's growth also did not do anything for me. I did not feel compassion or happiness at his change in character, maybe because it was predictable as well as abrupt. Cindy was an extra for me, her character not very important. I didn't like how Chris kind of disappeared from the book; his sporadic appearances were too short. I wanted more of Chris and Cathy. The best part of the book was the ending. I liked how everything went full circle, and it was the only time in the book when I truly felt touched and the part that will be remembered.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    vc andrews best!!

    she braught the foxworth hall to life, as if i was living there.. i cried and had shivers running through my body after reading the final book, which began with flowers in the attic.. excellent!! i stood up many nights reading, could never close my book... i wish it went on because it was so good.. i have to say i was not at all disapointed with the ending...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    spell binding

    this book is incredibly written and will keep you reading on until the very last page. it will make you laugh, it will make you cry...this book is a must read but dont read this book until youve read the flowers in the attic, petals in the wind, and if there be thorns.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2003

    Eh, I am still disappointed, but this was better

    After 'If there be thorns' I was hoping 'Seeds of Yesterday' would be alot better, but it wasn't. It was a little better, but it was just depressing and repetitive like the last book. And there needed to be more after the ending, it just didnt explain how things turned out, which made me feel like she just couldn't think of any more, or she was just sick of it herself. This story was probably the most unbelievable of the whole series, too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Very touching!

    I have been reading the series for the past few weeks. And i am sad that it is over. Many times I have caught myself emotionally reacting to the novel. The ending is unexpected, but touching nonetheless. I don't think any other book has made me cry, aside from Harry Potter, that is. A must-read for those who have read any of the Dollanganger series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    amazing

    Truth be told, if i were to pick this book up in the store, i probably wouldn't have read it. But my closest friend recommended it and i couldn't put them down! The story is thrilling and gut retching. The characters are so formed and the all have different unique personalities. The entire series is phenomenal and i would recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Filler

    SOY is told from Cathy's point of view. This is a book you might want to read if you're interested in knowing more about Cathy, Chris, Bart and family. Nothing really important happens in the book. Sure, there's lots of drama and a heartbreaking ending, but really, it felt like V.C. Andrews was forced to write a fourth book so she went and stuffed this new story full of more of the same. It's like FITA all over again, only Cathy and Chris are now adults and no one is really forcing them to stay trapped in Foxworth <BR/>Hall---they just feel emotionally imprisoned. There's even a John Amos/Malcolm clone, as if we hadn't gotten enough of that the first few times around. And there's no real plot, it's just one bad thing happening after another. Bart is interesting to read about (he's a complex villain) but the rest of the characters are dull. Cathy and Chris's relationship has been seriously watered-down. The ending is contrived.<BR/><BR/><BR/>So I would not recommend this unless you absolutely must finish the series. I admit I liked it at age 15, but over time, I came to realize it was really not that great.<BR/><BR/>I give the characters 2/5, the plot 2/5, the writing style a 1 or 2 out of five, originality a 1/5, the drama a 3/5 (though I found it to be cheap drama), and the romance a 1 or 2 out of 5. It is good for a rainy day.<BR/><BR/>I recommend FITA, in case you haven't read it already. I also recommend the V.C.A. masterpiece My Sweet Audrina. It's a bit confusing at times and a very strange tale, but I thought it was very good. And I recommend the short story The Fall of the House of Usher because it has that sort of gothic feel to it, though it's more of a ghost story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2004

    Thank You VH1

    I heard about this book on Vh1 show the 80s strike back and I cant thank them enough. I¿ve just finished up the series and I feel I have grown along with the characters. First off I feel kind of deprived I¿m 26 and about 2 months I knew nothing of this author or series. This book covered about 4-5 years, which is pretty short compared to the other books in the series. Within that time the reader dives into each characters mind. This book is brilliantly written with suspenseful themes, which took me on an emotional roller coaster. I have to say I¿m surprised because I didn¿t think a typical male such as myself would enjoy this but I was proven wrong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Stormfeather's Spirit

    /•\ His gaze fell soft over Lilywolf. "You will be fine, as it is not your time. You still have lives to live out, but you still have a life to live out here.." He murmured softly, his grey figure blending with the stones. /•\

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Smokerise OoC

    You always have such good writing *sniffle* i would have missed it if you had left

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Silnteye

    Silenteye watches Lillywolf leave, an empty place in his mindwas filled as he sets off for home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Cloudripple

    Cloudripple carefully slid Lilywolf onto her back, moving slowly so as to not knock her off, and padded to Dog Diaries.

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

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Orionstreak

    "Nightfang!" He yowled, dropping the stick. He moved to jump in but Stormdash grabbed his scuff, pulling him back. "Dont! Youll only get yourself killed. Let's get Lilywolf to the border." Orionstreak stared blankly at the rushing water, having actually witnessed his first death. Stormdash nudged him and then they both picked up Lilywolf, carrying her to the border.~Oriona dn Storm (D; so sad.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Lilywolf

    Lilywolf lies limply on Cooudripple's back but in her mind she sees Stormfeather. "Stormfeather!" She meows happily. "Thank you. I miss you!" The shecat lets out a slight sigh while she touches noses with Stormfeather in her mind. Then the tabby's mind goes blank, utterly exhausted, as she is carried away. ~ Lilywolf &hearts P.S. Aww thanks Smokey! I try!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Amber

    Probabaly...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Sad

    So much sadness but such a great story. I do get tired of the brother sister love but guess it makes a story all the same.

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

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Menardi

    ((At screen now. Return when we are done with all this fake camp stuff... ))

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 117 Customer Reviews

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