Sadly, this wasn't the first VCA book I ever read (I started off with the Cutler family series) but when I finally got around to Flowers in the Attic, I was not disappointed. It is easily one of the best books I have ever read. The drama, the intrigue, the suspense... I have read this book several times and never get tired of it.
You can't help but feel bad for the poor kids, especially with their harsh treatment by their grandmother and the blatant selfishness of their mother. One might wonder why the events in this book have transpired as they have, but this book is simply the first in a fascinating five-book series, and the rest of the series explains why this book was the way it was, especially the fifth, which serves as a prequel. The entire saga is riveting!
After reading Flowers in the Attic, I was happy to continue the story with Petals on the Wind. If I were Cathy, I'd be supremely pissed off at my own mother, and want to plot revenge. It was sad in some parts, but a satisfying read overall.
The trio that managed to escape the Foxworth mansion after the death of their brother are forever scarred by their traumatic experience, especially Carrie, who constantly struggles with the physical and mental scars that are left on her. Despite being adopted by a man who treats them well, the children can't quite get over what happened, though Chris is more quick to move on and start a productive life in medicine. Cathy desires revenge - perfectly justified - but makes some stupid decisions along the way. However, her thirst for revenge comes to fruiton as she lashes against the evil grandmother and her mother.
All in all, this is a worthy continuation of Flowers in the Attic, with things coming full circle, so to speak (at least in some aspects, since this series still has 3 more books to go)
If There Be Thorns doesn't have the same feel as FitA or PotW, but is still a wonderful book. People wonder why Malcolm was the way he was, and Bart's reading of his journal helps to shed some light in why the Foxworth bloodline became so twisted and why Malcolm treated/saw women the way he did. The storyline focuses on Jory and Bart, and how they come to know the old lady next door - and her dark secret, and how Malcolm's madness continued to live on. A definite must-read for any VCA fan.
Just one plothole - in SoY, it's 1997, but in the next book 'Garden of Shadows' (prequel to Flowers in the Attic), Olivia Foxworth's will included a letter to be opened 20 years after her death (which was the story of GoS) and her death was in 1972, so Chris and Cathy should have read GoS by now, five years before SOY, and already be aware of what happened between Malcolm and Olivia.
Tempting hints of Malcolm and Olivia's turbulent relationship with one another and their children and grandchildren were hinted at in previous books, but here, from Olivia's own viewpoint, we see why she has suffered. Mind you, this doesn't absolve her of the bad things she did, but you can see how she became the kind of person she did, and what led Chris and Corrine to run away from home. It is sad that V.C. Andrews died before she could complete this book, as the ghostwriter wrote much of this, and one can not help but wonder how the book would have been had VCA been able to complete it.