Literature: Petals On The Wind

Petals on The Wind, written by V. C. Andrews, is the sequel to Flowers in the Attic, published in 1980. Adapted into a TV move of the same name by The Lifetime Network in 2014.

The plot picks up immediately after the events of the first novel after the remaining Dollanganger children escape from the attic. The kids are adopted by Paul Sheffield, a kindly doctor who puts them each through school. Cathy finally fulfills her dream of becoming a world-famous ballerina, using her fame to fuel her revenge against her mother while becoming embroiled in a series of tempestuous love affairs, including her Will They or Won't They? relationship with her brother Christopher. Everyone Has Lots of Sex, until tragedy strikes, hardening Cathy's resolve to expose her mother's murderous lies and claim victory over her own past.

Tropes associated with the novel include:

  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Madame Zolta Korovenskov.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Carrie's private boarding school turns out to be a hellhole where her fellow students torment and very nearly kill her.
  • Betty and Veronica: Cathy plays the innocent blonde Betty to Yolanda's sultry raven-haired Veronica when it comes to Julian and to a lesser extent, Chris.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Cathy continues to struggle against Chris' advances, which eventually grow strong enough to drive her to other men.
  • Dead Man's Chest: Cory's ultimate fate.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: As tortures go, it's pretty light, but Cathy finally does get to inflict some physical pain on the now-senile and disabled grandmother.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cathy has sworn revenge upon her mother, resulting in several good examples of revenge tropes. The victim of Cathy's Misplaced Retribution is Bart Winslow. With whom she sleeps with and who is the father of her second son, Bart. All of this without ever telling Winslow the truth until it's too late. Later, Cathy attempts a Reunion Revenge at Foxworth Hall.
  • Domestic Abuse: Julian (whose pickup line is "What are you worried about? I won't rape you") is emotionally and physically abusive toward Cathy, including a memorable scene where, in a fit of rage, he breaks several of her toes.
    • It's heavily implied that Paul Sheffield was at least emotionally abusive toward his late wife and that, at worst, he may have raped her on several occasions.
  • Driven to Suicide: Paul's late wife, Julian after an accident leaves him paralyzed and unlikely to even walk again, much less dance, and Carrie after her mother rejects her.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Cathy manages to have nice apartments in both New York City and Spain while she's still in the low-paying corps de ballet.
  • Freudian Excuse: Implied to be the root of Chris' obsession with Cathy.
  • Generation Xerox: Cathy consciously struggles not to be like her mother.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Paul admits to cheating on his late wife, but excuses himself because she was mentally ill and sexually unresponsive. Cathy actually sympathizes with this story.
    • Cathy is well-aware that Julian is attracted to very young girls, but doesn't hold it against him until she learns he molested her sister.
    • Cathy justifies having an affair with her mother's husband Bart as part of her revenge.
  • Hand Wave: Paul gaining custody over the kids looks as if it's going to end in a confrontational Courtroom Episode... but in the end, Corrine turns out to be too rich to subpoena and the scene ends with "and then he adopted us."
  • Ill Girl: Carrie is especially frail and weak from arsenic poisoning.
  • Immediate Sequel: Picks up right where the first book ended.
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Nearly every male character in the book:
    • Paul admits to raping his first wife because she was too beautiful for him to resist. When she (quite rightly) tells him he's never to touch her again, he uses the same logic to explain away his numerous extramarital affairs. Finally, he is unable to resist the beautiful sixteen-year-old Cathy, even though he has legally adopted her.
    • Chris claims that he only had sex with Cathy's roommate because Cathy wouldn't put out. For those of you who just arrived, Cathy is his sister.
    • Bart has an affair with Cathy since his wife has become increasingly distant from him.
    • Julian' s mother blames Cathy for his frequent cheating, claiming that he does it in the first place because she doesn't show him enough love, then keeps doing it because her uncaring reaction even further cements his belief that she doesn't love him.
  • Incest Subtext: In addition to the complicated relationship between Chris and Cathy, Paul is the children's foster parent and legal guardian, who later adopts them. He begins lusting after Cathy almost immediately.
    • In the 2014 film adaptation, there is an uncomfortable scene where Carrie asks Chris if he loves her "the same way [he] loves Cathy"—having just witnessed Cathy and Chris having sex.
  • It's All About Me: Cathy is extremely self-involved.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Julian is a possessive, controlling, abusive, and adulterous boyfriend and later husband, but he picks up on the impropriety of Chris and Cathy' s relationship very quickly and calls her out on it.
  • Kids Are Cruel: All the girls in Carrie's boarding school gang up to bully her.
  • The Littlest Poisoning Victim: Carrie who conveniently holds back from death just long enough to tell Cathy the one final thing that will send her spiraling uncontrollably toward confronting her mother.
  • Mammy: Henny personifies this trope. She's a huge Southern black lady who cares for her white charges with no complaints—possibly because she's deaf-mute.
  • Motive Rant: Corrine finally snaps in front of Cathy and Bart, revealing why she imprisoned her children.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: Hinted at in both the book and the 2014 adaptation.
  • No Periods, Period: Zig-zagged. After years of malnutrition and other health-related issues from being locked up, Cathy understandably has trouble with her periods. It seems to have stopped entirely, until one memorable scene when it all comes gushing back. During a dance audition.
  • Portmanteau: Julian + Cory = Jory.
  • The Scapegoat: Corrine. While Corrine is legitimately at the root of many of her children's current issues, Cathy also performs some serious mental gymnastics to blame her for everything that goes wrong with their lives.
  • The Speechless: Henny and later, the Grandmother.
  • Wife Husbandry: Cathy is fifteen when Paul becomes their guardian. He lusts after her from the start and eventually she marries him.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Type A. It is heavily implied that part of Corrine's evil is her obsession with her beauty. Her long absence to a plastic surgeon and a weight-loss spa allows Cathy to move in on Bart
  • Villainous Breakdown: After her Motive Rant, Corrine burns down Foxworth Hall.
  • The Vamp: Yolanda.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy : All Carrie wants is for her mother to acknowledge her when she meets the latter on the street. She doesn't get her wish.