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5 Jaw-Dropping Moments from V.C. Andrews Books That Inspired the Lifetime Movies

by and  | November 8

Maybe you grew up seeing the shocking, scandalous, incest-laden V.C. Andrews novels tucked into a bookshelf—novels that your mom and her friends cut their teeth on as teenagers when they read contraband copies under the covers with a flashlight. (What, just us??) Maybe you’ve even snuck in your own reading, or caught one of the movie adaptations on TV. But trust us—you haven’t LIVED until you’ve experienced a V.C. Andrews binge session, accompanied by snacks and adult beverages and a healthy supply of snark, of course.

Lifetime seems to agree—and is here to enable us—because they’ve scheduled a 10-hour marathon of all five of their book-to-screen adaptations of V.C. Andrews’s titillating tales this Sunday, November 10, from 2:00 p.m. until midnight. It’s all in honor of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Flowers in the Attic two days later, on November 12, which will henceforth be known as V.C. Andrews Day.

Want to join the fun of the movie marathon but don’t have half a Sunday to spare? Fair enough. We’ve provided the biggest jaw-dropping moments in each movie paired with the book that inspired it…

(Note: This article contains spoilers for the Dollanganger series. If you want to go into the movies or books with no knowledge of the plot, read with caution.)

My Sweet Audrina

My Sweet Audrina

by V.C. Andrews

Double the Audrinas, Double the Shock Value

V.C. Andrews’s stories never fail to shock readers—whether it’s incest, rape, or murder, the soapy elements make it impossible to look away. My Sweet Audrina is no exception. Set in the mid-1960s, this novel is the epitome of jaw-dropping material, and Andrews doesn’t hesitate to toss the craziness into the pot as soon as the story begins. Unlike the Dollanganger saga, My Sweet Audrina is a stand-alone novel, but like those books, it ventures into dark territory. In the opening pages, it’s revealed that seven-year-old Audrina, the main character, is named after her older sister…Audrina. Audrina (the first) was raped and murdered nine years before her little sister was born—and Audrina (the second) is living in her shadow. If you like psychological twists and turns paired with family secrets and betrayal, then My Sweet Audrina is a must-read. It’s a haunting story of love and deceit and the suffocating power of parental love.

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Flowers in the Attic (40th Anniversary Edition)

Flowers in the Attic (40th Anniversary Edition)

by V.C. Andrews

Cathy and Chris Hook Up

In a story full of did-that-really-just-happen moments, one stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that’s when siblings Cathy and Chris confess their romantic feelings for each other and then TOTALLY DO IT. In fact, if you know only one thing about Flowers in the Attic, it’s probably that. And, indeed, if you’re game for wild plot twists and taboo love affairs, psychological mind games and diabolical debauchery, Flowers in the Attic is the tale for you. V.C. Andrews’s cult-classic gothic novel is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, so now’s the perfect time to go back to the beginning of the Dollanganger series, where four young siblings (Cathy, Chris, Carrie, and Cory) are hidden away in the attic of their grandmother’s creepy mansion for years while their mother, Corrine, attempts to reconnect with her estranged father to secure her inheritance….

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Petals on the Wind

Petals on the Wind

by V.C. Andrews

Corrine Finally Has ENOUGH

If you thought Chris and Cathy’s affair was the weirdest things could get, well, Petals on the Wind, the second book in the Dollanganger family saga, begs to differ. Ten years after they escaped their grandmother’s attic at Foxworth Hall, the three surviving siblings, now adults, continue to suffer from the effects of that trauma. Worse, despite their best intentions to start fresh, they find themselves falling back into old patterns. Cathy and Chris can’t quit each other, even with other love interests vying for their affections, and Carrie remains susceptible to the influence of her mother, Corrine. Their inability to truly leave the attic behind leads to heartbreaking turns and a wild revenge plot, by Cathy, aimed at hurting Corrine even half as much as she’d hurt her kids. It also sets the stage for the final act, including a grotesque scene that must be seen to be believed, in which Corrine’s own abusive mother, family matriarch Olivia, gives Corrine a trunk containing the remains of her youngest son. It’s hard to blame Corrine for the dramatic way she responds...

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If There Be Thorns

If There Be Thorns

by V.C. Andrews

Bart Reveals His Dark Side

Foxworth Hall and Olivia may both be gone by the time you get to If There Be Thorns, but their grip on the poor, tormented Dollanganger clan is no less strong for that. Indeed, Chris and Cathy, who are living as husband and wife in California by this time, have merely brought another generation into the whole (toxic, tragic) mess. See, Cathy’s children—sons Jory and Bart, plus newly adopted daughter Cindy—have no idea that their stepfather is also their uncle, or that their new neighbor is actually their maternal grandmother, Corrine, come to make amends. Just kidding—Corrine is only interested in stirring up more trouble, and she definitely does. By this point, it’s almost a given that the elder members of the family will behave in spectacularly distressing ways, so the award for most stunning moment has to go to one of the youngest, Bart. While his mom and stepdad shielded him from the type of abuse they themselves endured as children, Bart is far from okay, which becomes evident when he attempts to drown one of his siblings. Yikes!

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Seeds of Yesterday

Seeds of Yesterday

by V.C. Andrews

Bart Forms a Disturbing Love Triangle

This novel-turned-movie takes place 13 years after If There Be Thorns. Seeds of Yesterday ties up the loose ends of the Dollanganger story in the most incestuous way imaginable (of course). The novel opens with Bart’s birthday celebration, which makes clear that he has become estranged from his mom and stepfather/uncle after learning of their incestuous relationship. But the incest isn’t the most shocking part of this story anymore. No, the moment that takes the cake is when a nurse, who has been hired to care for Bart’s paralyzed brother, Jory, becomes Bart’s lover. This happens only after he (Bart) seduces his sister-in-law, Melodie, who is depressed about her husband Jory’s paralysis following an accident and ends up becoming pregnant with twins. This unsavory love triangle is not only confusing, but also disturbingly grimy. This twisted family drama does not lend itself to a happy ending, but you won’t be able to resist learning how it ends.

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