[[quoteright:200:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/FlowersInTheAttic_508.jpg]]

''Flowers in the Attic'' is a novel by Creator/VCAndrews first published in 1979. The first in the Dollanganger Saga, it was followed by ''Literature/PetalsOnTheWind'' (1980), ''Literature/IfThereBeThorns'' (1981), and ''Literature/SeedsofYesterday'' (1984). (''Literature/GardenOfShadows'' (1987) was much later revealed to have been written wholly by a ghostwriter after Andrews' death the previous year). ''Flowers'' has been adapted twice into film: first [[Film/FlowersInTheAttic in 1987]] and again for television by Creator/{{Lifetime}} in 2014. It is also the basis for a sequel/prequel series called ''Christopher's Diary.'' So far the latter series, which tells the events from Christopher's point of view, has two installments: ''Secrets of Foxworth'' and ''Echoes of Dollenganger.''

A lurid tale of lies, secrets, betrayal, and child abuse, ''Flowers in the Attic'' is the story of [[AlliterativeFamily Cathy Dollanganger, her older brother Christopher, and their younger siblings Carrie and Cory.]] Following the death of their father, their mother Corrine takes her children to live with their rich grandparents, who had previously [[IHaveNoSon disowned her]] for DatingWhatDaddyHates. Now her father is dying, and Corrine is determined to get back into his good graces in time to [[InsurrectionistInheritor inherit his estate]]. What the children do not know until they arrive is that their grandfather does not know they exist, and that their mother must keep them a secret until she can break the news to her father.

Upon arrival at [[OldDarkHouse Foxworth Hall]], the four children are locked in one room under the care of their [[EvilMatriarch grandmother]], who soon reveals the shocking truth about their mother's disinheritance. All too quickly, the children learn that they will be forced to remain in the attic until their grandfather dies. But as the wait drags from weeks to years, Cathy realizes that their only chance to survive is to escape.

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!!The book provides examples of:

* AbusiveParents: The Grandmother, who not only beats and starves her grandchildren, but is the one called upon to whip her adult daughter Corrine.
** Later, Corrine becomes abusive toward her own children.
* AdaptationalModesty: In the book Chris walks in on Cathy topless admiring her new breasts--and begins to admire them right along with her. In the feature film, this scene becomes Chris talking to Cathy while she's in the bath.
** The TV film changes this yet again so that Chris only accidentally sees Cathy in her underwear. [[spoiler: Additionally, the TV version includes the BrotherSisterIncest from the novel, but changes it from the book's outright rape to consensual sex.]]
* AlliterativeFamily: The Dollangangers all have names that start with a C. Christopher, Corrine, Christopher Jr, Cathy, Cory and Carrie.
* AngstySurvivingTwin: [[spoiler: Carrie.]]
** [[spoiler:At least until Christopher's Diary]]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: [[spoiler: Arsenic]] does not work the way the book claims it does.
** Sunlight deprivation would not produce the dramatic effects seen in the twins. Moreover, the recovery rates for diseases caused by lack of sunlight and malnutrition are very positive once the person returns to regular sunlight and a healthy diet--''especially'' when the person is as young as the twins.
** The only reason that Cathy and Chris are not as ill as the other children are is supposedly because they get out on the roof to get sunlight and the twins are afraid. Being older, they should actually be in ''worse'' condition than the twins and take longer to recover since Cathy is constantly burning calories she doesn't have through dance
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Used by the Grandmother in her sermons and lectures, proclaiming the children the "Devil's Spawn."
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Initially played straight with the Dollanganger family, but eventually subverted as the family breaks down.
* BedsheetLadder: Cathy chooses this as the kids' escape plan if a fire should start.
* BerserkButton: Cory doesn't take it well when his twin sister is threatened.
* BigFancyHouse: Foxworth Hall.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Foxworths.
* BlondesAreEvil: Malcolm Foxworth. Later, Corrine.
* BrotherSisterIncest: [[spoiler: Chris and Cathy, although the story deliberately muddies the waters on Cathy's consent.]]
** [[spoiler: In the prequel ''Garden of Shadows'', it's revealed all four children were a product of this kind of incest.]]
* CreepyTwins: As time passes and Cory and Carrie get sicker, they become more and more like this.
* DaddysGirl: Cathy. Corrine aspires to become this again.
* DancesAndBalls: The Christmas party.
* DarkSecret: This family is made of them.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler: By the time the children escape from the attic, their grandfather has been dead for almost a year.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: Just about everything on the grandmother's list of rules, including looking at a member of the opposite sex, is punishable by a beating.
** When Cathy refuses to cut her hair, the grandmother cuts off food for all the children--for over ten days.
** When Chris sneaks out of the room to explore, Corrine threatens to whip him, Cathy, ''and'' the twins.
* DontSplitUsUp: One of the principal reasons Cathy, Chris, and Carrie don't go to the authorities after escaping the attic is the fear of this.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep[=/=]SpellMyNameWithAThe: Everyone calls the Grandmother "The Grandmother," including her daughter (who at most amends it to "your grandmother"). It isn't until later books that we learn her first name.
* EvilMatriarch: The Grandmother. [[spoiler:Corrine joins her later]]
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: Corrine turns from loving mother to uncaring shrew]].
* FallenPrincess: Deconstructed. Corrine comes from vast wealth and gave it all up to marry her husband but once he's dead she won't work and returns to her family, hoping to be rich again. [[spoiler: She ends up trying to kill off her own children just to get her inheritance]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The kids' baby-sitter jokes about Christopher Sr. and Corrine saying they look more like siblings than husband and wife. [[spoiler: ''They are.'']]
* TheFundamentalist: The Grandmother.
* GenerationXerox: Chris and Cathy. They only get more so as the series moves on.
* TheGhost: Malcolm, Corrine's father, in the first book.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Initially played straight with the Dollanganger family, but eventually subverted as the family breaks down.
* HulkSpeak: Cory and Carrie don't talk good 'cause Momma don't like them no more.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Olivia uses her fundamentalist faith as an excuse to starve, abuse, lie, blackmail, and commit outright murder, among other things. It is also mentioned that the grandfather thinks he is entitled to do whatever he pleases because he's been regularly funding a church.
* InTheBlood: Olivia believes incest runs in the Dollanganger family [[spoiler: which it kind of does]].
* IncestSubtext: There are hints here and there that Christopher is sexually attracted to, or at least very confused by, his mother. He is even shown to be very attracted to a picture of his great-grandmother.
** The 2014 film strongly hints that Corrine and her father had an inappropriately flirtatious relationship prior to her exile. To a lesser extent, there are moments when Cathy and Corrine appear to be competing for the attention of Chris Sr, culminating in Chris Sr. giving his twelve-year-old daughter a promise ring.
* InnocentBlueEyes: Initially played straight with the Dollanganger family, but eventually subverted as the family breaks down.
* InsufferableGenius: Christopher wants to be a doctor, which apparently involves knowing everything there is to know about everything in the world. It gets to the point where Cathy snaps and screams at him.
* IntimateHaircut: Cathy gives Chris one.
* KarmaHoudini: None of the people responsible for the children's imprisonment [[spoiler: and Cory's death]] receive any punishment.
** In the 1987 film, [[spoiler: Corrine is exposed and killed on her wedding day.]]
* LoserSonOfLoserDad: The Grandmother has a particular hatred for Chris Jr., believing he is just as bad as his dead father.
** Subverted in ''Garden of Shadows'' where [[spoiler:seeing how much he looks like his father makes her want to hold him because she loved Chris Sr. like a son]]
* MamaBear: Cathy becomes one as she gradually turns into a surrogate mother to the twins.
* MommasBoy: Christopher. He refuses to admit that Corrine has grown cool to them and continues to believe that she will free them after the grandfather dies [[spoiler: right up until the moment he realizes that their grandfather has been dead for months and that Corrine has remarried and left the house for good.]]
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Subverted, in that it's actually used to demonstrate Corrine's growing disconnect from her kids (see NotAllowedToGrowUp below). She actually has to be ''reminded'' that Cathy is now a teenager who will probably be getting her period any day now. Cathy's periods are also noted as being extremely irregular due to malnutrition.
** This all culminates to a ChekhovsBoomerang in a later book.
* NotAllowedToGrowUp: Corrine may be in denial of just how long her children have been locked up as she continues to buy them games and books meant for much younger children. In particular, she keeps buying Cathy clothing meant for younger girls without realizing that Cathy has sprouted breasts and can no longer fit into them.
** Conversely, Corrine has not noticed how the twins have ''failed'' to grow up--they're still the same size as when they first came to the attic.
* OffingTheOffspring: [[spoiler: With arsenic-laced desserts. It seems to work only once, though]]
** [[spoiler: And as of Christopher's Diary, it turned out not to have worked at all]]
* OldDarkHouse: Most of Foxworth Hall is beautiful, but the attic definitely falls under this trope.
* OnlySaneMan: Cathy realizes almost immediately that something's not right with this situation, but Chris dismisses her as irrational until, one by one, her predictions come true.
* OnOneCondition: The codicil for the grandfather's will. [[spoiler:This drives Corinne to start OffingTheOffspring without looking back on her actions]]
* ParentalAbandonment: What Corrine does, both physically and emotionally.
* ParentalFavoritism: Perhaps it's just to calm Cathy's fears about having a little sister, but her father promises to love her a little more than any other girls he may have.
** Chris is very much Corrine's favorite child. She is much more affectionate with him than with any of the others because he looks like a miniature version of her beloved husband.
** Corrine was once her father's favorite.
* ParentalNeglect: Corrine's visits become fewer and fewer as she gets caught up with high society, and she continually ignores all her children's very reasonable complaints about living at Foxworth Hall. When she returns from a long trip, the twins don't even recognize her nor does she acknowledge them
* PerfectPoison: [[spoiler: The arsenic-laced sugar powder. In small amounts it can't be detected and kills them slow enough that even the children don't notice.]]
* PolarOppositeTwins: Cory is quiet, polite and gentle. Carrie is loud, adamant and forceful. [[spoiler: When Cory dies (or so they think), however, Carrie becomes even quieter than he was]]
* PromotionToParent: Chris and Cathy become surrogate parents for their much younger twin siblings Cory and Carrie, largely to keep the twins happy when their real mother all but disappears from their lives. It becomes more serious when the older children realize that there is no way to summon an adult in an emergency.
* RichBitch: Corrine becomes one.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy[=/=]HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler: The whole point of Olivia's impossibly strict rules is to prevent BrotherSisterIncest from happening (again), even though her determination to imprison the children is precisely what allows the incest to take place.]]
* SexIsEvil: The only proper attitude about sexuality in Foxworth Hall.
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny: Naturally, this is the result of that kind of repressed upbringing.
* SkinnyDipping: Technically, they go swimming in their undies, but Cathy doesn't own a bra. Plus it's noted that water + moonlight = practically translucent when it comes to tight-whities.
* SpoiledBrat: Corrine quickly becomes this when she gets a taste of the good life again.
* ATasteOfTheLash: Corrine is whipped to atone for her time spent "living in sin." For looking out the window, and then speaking out against their grandmother, Christopher and Cathy get whipped with a willow switch.
* TeamPet: Mickey the mouse is Cory's pet.
* TraumaticHaircut: The grandmother attempts to give Cathy one of these. When Cathy refuses, the grandmother first threatens to starve and beat the children, then attempts to force Cathy into the haircut by pouring hot tar over her head.
* UnnamedParent: Corrine's mother is known only as "The Grandmother" in the first book. Her name's revealed to be Olivia in the prequel.
* WhatTheHellHero: Cathy and Chris are constantly demanding this of each other.
** The ''reader'' ends up asking this [[spoiler: when Chris rapes Cathy.]]
* WigDressAccent: Chris' disguise when he sneaks out to explore. Cathy compares him to GrouchoMarx.
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