Imagine having to go back to a place that you hated. Imagine that you had experienced torture there and all kinds of psychological turmoil. Maybe it had been cleaned up, but your memories were still there. Could you do it? Could you go back?
Cathy is fifty-two now. She and Chris have been a couple for a long time. Bart has been living in the rebuilt Foxworth Hall. He wants money, money, and more money. Jory has become a famous ballet dancer and has married his childhood sweetheart Melodie. Cindy is sixteen years old and goes to private school in South Carolina.
Cathy and Chris have agreed to move back to Foxworth Hall in order to help Bart celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. Bart is supposed to inherit everything when he is twenty-five. The trusteeship that has been watching over the bulk of the Foxworth estate will no longer be active after that point.
The party becomes extravagant and then more extravagant. Bart demands that Jory and Melodie dance at his party, but Melodie is pregnant and does not want to dance in her condition. Cindy volunteers, but Bart disproves. He has disproved of Cindy since she was a child. One of the stranger things about Foxworth Hall is a man named Joel. It turns out he is Corrine’s brother. He was thought to have been dead, but hid away in a monastery instead. Joel seems to disprove of everything at Foxworth Hall and once again Bart is led by an old man.
At the party a terrible accident occurs and Jory loses the use of his legs. Melodie, his wife, waivers in her affection for him. Time goes on and things seem to get worse. Strange things happen at the house. Windows are left open when they shouldn’t be. Presents are destroyed. Awful rumors are spread about the family. Bart seems to develop a strange zeal for religion.
Tragedy seems to come and keep coming to the inhabitants of Foxworth Hall. It seems there is a snake among the family, but who is the snake? Bart repeatedly belittles his mother over her relationship with Chris. He doesn’t want it to be happening. Cathy will not leave Chris. After all they have been through, there is no way the two can be split.
Bart continues on and continues on and one day tragedy strikes, again. The tragedy that happens is reminiscent of a tragedy that occurred many years before in the family. What will become of the Dollanganger children?
What I liked
I liked that we get to see the family continuing on. I liked that we see the children growing up. I liked that we get to see Chris and Cathy as more mature individuals. Family stories can be awfully neat.
What I didn’t like
I want to slap Bart. Bart is awful. He always complains about his step-father Chris. Let me tell you something Bart, you don’t get to complain. This man, whether your uncle or not, actually took care of you and took up the part of your father. You don’t get to complain about that. Among all the other step-parents in the world that are awful, Bart lucks out and gets a good step-father whom he treats like dirt because he’s a brat. Is Bart and anagram for brat? It sure seems like it could be.
The bad things that happen in the story are awful, but we never really know for sure who did all these terrible things. Was it Joel? Was it Bart? Was it an angry villager, because why shouldn’t it be an angry villager? In the end, we’re not really sure of who did what. All the problems seem to stop when someone dies and someone else moves away. Was it the dead person doing everything? Was it the guy who moved away doing everything? Was it more than one someone doing everything? V.C. leaves a little wiggle room in her mysteries. You may know for sure who did what, but as I read the book, it’s not clear. Not that we have to know who did everything because we definitely don’t, but V.C. doing this kind of thing leaves room for other things to come into the story. As she hasn’t put out any more books to the series, I assume it’s over, but she left a bit of room there for it to continue on.
I really, really don’t like Bart. Why is he so awful? Then to top it off, he finds Jesus. Look, I’m happy he found Jesus, really, but he didn’t have to be such a jerk along the way. Jesus forgives everyone, but you’ll make it a little easier on him if you’re not such a terrible person.
What a load of junk. I feel so sorry for Cathy. She had such a hard childhood, then she caused a bunch of problems of her own because she had such a hard childhood, then she ended up with a child like Bart.
Do you want to slap Bart too?
In all seriousness, if you have a step-parent are you mad because they’re your step-parent instead of having your real parent around or are you grateful that someone actually stepped-up?