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Creator / V. C. Andrews

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Cleo Virginia Andrews, better known as V. C. Andrews (June 6, 1923 – December 19, 1986), was an American author best known for Flowers in the Attic, a novel infamous for its portrayal of Brother–Sister Incest. She wrote several sequels and produced other novels up until her death in 1986. After her death, a ghostwriter approved by her family continued to turn out novels under the same pen-name, and is still doing so at the rate of roughly one a year.

Newer books published in her name have become increasingly far fetched over time and most of them resemble a Soap Opera or a Lifetime Movie of the Week (which, perhaps not ironically, they have become; starting in 2014, Lifetime adapted the first four books of the Dollanganger Saga, plus My Sweet Audrina, for television, with options to adapt more works in the future), but her international fanbase remains undiminished.


NOTE: Unmarked Spoilers Follow.

Works by V. C. Andrews with their own trope pages include:


Other works by V. C. Andrews provide examples of:

  • Character Title: Starting with Heaven, the first book in each series was named after its main character, with an added Significant Name bonus, in that all the character's names were nouns that reflected some aspect of their personality or backstory: Rain, Dawn, Melody, Ruby, etc. This naming conceit lasted spanned several series and lasted nearly two decades.
  • Affectionate Nickname: 'Magpie' for Madge in Cage of Love.
  • Alice Allusion: Lampshaded in the Secrets series, where Karen's daughter is named Alice in the hope that "maybe one day [she'll] fall into a Wonderland" and escape her mother's fate.
  • Bastard Boyfriend:
    • Thatcher Eaton in the De Beers series.
    • Kane Hill in Christopher's Diary.
    • Aaron Podwell in Secret Brother.
  • Bedlam House: Karen Stoker in the Secrets series and Ian March in the Family Storms series each end up in these.
  • Bi the Way: Supposedly, April in the Shadows series, although it's pretty much implied after she dates Peter that she is now "straight" again, or at least would not consider another relationship with a woman.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Many of the heroines either start out in one or discover that they have a real family somewhere that's even more screwed-up than they one they left.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Broken Flower.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: In the Heavenstone series, Semantha's very obvious symptoms of pregnancy are passed off by her sister and a corrupt doctor as a "phantom" pregnancy caused by grief over her father's death. When her pregnancy becomes so advanced that the truth can't be denied any longer this is her reaction.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Sasha in the Family Storms series is keen to point out she's only half Asian.
  • Cain and Abel: Haylee and Kaylee Fitzgerald in the Mirror series, respectively.
  • Camp Gay: Uncle Perry in the Heavenstone series. The entire Child by Rape plot happens because Perry is evidently not going to have biological children.
  • Child by Rape:
    • In the De Beers series, Linden was born when Kirby Scott raped his stepdaughter Grace.
    • The Heavenstone series features a plot involving a main character being drugged and raped so she can conceive a family heir. It's unsuccessful - she does get pregnant, but has a girl instead of the planned male heir.
    • Elle in The Unwelcomed Child, whose mother turns out to have been date raped at a party.
  • Creepy Twins: In The Mirror Sisters, Kaylee and Haylee's mother is obsessed with trying to make them identical in every way, to the point of invoking this trope.
  • Dead Guy Junior: In the De Beers series, Willow names her daughter Hannah, meaning "grace", which was the name of Willow's mother.
    • In House of Secrets, Dr Davenport names his daughter Samantha after his late first wife.
  • Death by Childbirth: Becomes a plot point in Daughter of Darkness, where Lorelei discovers that she, and her "adoptive" sisters, are really her father's biological children. He impregnates his daughters, and leaves them to die in childbirth, so that the resulting offspring will grow up to lure new victims to him as Lorelei and her sisters have done.
  • Death by Origin Story: William "Willie" Sanders dies barely within the first chapter of Secret Brother before the readers can even know him. His sister, the protagonist, proceeds to lament endlessly about him to the point of obsession.
  • Disappeared Dad: In House of Secrets, Fern's father ostensibly left her mother after finding out she was pregnant. Fern spends a lot of the novel looking for him only to find out it's Dr Davenport, with whom she has lived all her life.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Most of the stories spend several books with the heroine struggling to find happiness. When she finds it, she's invariably killed off just in time to leave her teenage daughter in the same sorry position her mother started off with.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: The reason for the setting of the Forbidden series (where the heroine and her sister are half-French.)
  • Evil Matriarch: In the Early Spring series.
  • Evil Twin: Haylee in The Mirror Sisters.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • The Shooting Stars has Cinnamon (choleric in her story, melancholic in Falling Stars), Ice (melancholic in her story, choleric in Falling Stars), Rose (sanguine), and Honey (phlegmatic).
  • Gender-Blender Name: Semantha Heavenstone's family calls her "Sam" (except Cassie).
  • Gratuitous French: Frequently used in Forbidden Sister.
  • Hollywood Homely: invoked In the April series, several men seem to find April attractive even though she thinks she is enormously overweight.
  • Happily Adopted: In the Family Storms series, Sasha's adoption does not start well, but becomes this trope by the end as she chooses to stay quite happily with her adoptive mom.
  • Heir Club for Men: When Cassie Heavenstone's father dies, she comes up with a plan for her sister Semantha's love interest to rape Semantha so she will have a child to inherit the family business; believing that Semantha will have a boy. Because of this trope, the plan fails when Semantha's baby is a girl.
  • Ill Girl: Jacqueline in Cage of Love is an older variation.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: Lifetime adapted the Dollanganger series (except Garden of Shadows) and My Sweet Audrina for TV.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Echo in the Shadows series is a variation of this (deaf, rather than a cancer sufferer).
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mayfair Cummings' actions in Bittersweet Dreams make her seem less like a super genius and more like a borderline sociopath. After an Alpha Bitch posse spread rumors of her possibly being a lesbian predator that her stepmother falls for, she seeks comfort from a teacher who takes advantage of her. He ends up spurning her out of guilt and Mayfair decides to ruin his reputation by accusing him of sexually abusing her stepsister who had written out fantasies of them in her diary. It all soon blows up in her face but not without doing severe damage to a lot of people.
  • Meaningful Name: The Forbidden Sister features a character named Roxanne that became a prostitute. Sage in Sage's Eyes has clairvoyant powers and inherited knowledge of witchcraft.
  • Missing Mom: Jacqueline Spencer in Cage of Love died when narrator Madge was only twelve; it broke both Madge and her father.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: In the Early Spring series, the main character is aged between six to eight years old through the course of the books. Even though the storyline is based around her going through precocious puberty, she's still a young child; yet the narrative voice is essentially the same as for the older heroines of other series.
  • Murder-Suicide: In the Mirror series, Haylee dies this way when her boyfriend, who believes she's possesed by evil, drives them both over a cliff.
  • New Media Are Evil: In The Mirror Sisters, Haylee deliberately begins an online relationship with a creepy, obsessive guy and tells him she's Kaylee, planning for him to kidnap Kaylee (which he does) so Haylee can be the only child in the family. While this is an obviously evil thing to do, Kaylee and their mother seem to both be terrified at the mere idea of Haylee internet dating or meeting people online; and basically would prefer her not to use the internet at all.
  • Not Himself: In April Shadows, April's father starts to act like a jerkass to his family for seemingly no reason. The reason turns out to be that he found out he had terminal cancer and he didn't want his family to feel sad for him when he died. So, he decides to make them hate him. Once his wife and daughters find out, though, they feel sorry for him anyway.
  • Odd Name Out: In the Shooting Stars series, no one bats an eyelid at girls named "Cinnamon", "Honey" and "Ice" ... yet Rose is the one who gets teased for having a weird name!
  • Off to Boarding School:
    • In Bittersweet Dreams, Mayfair is sent to a boarding school after her affair with a teacher comes to light. Given the circumstances, there wasn't much other choice.
  • Old Maid: Referenced in the De Beers series when Willow's cousin Margaret gets married and chides Willlow about getting too old for marriage (although Willow does marry shortly after this.)
    • In House of Secrets, Fern's mother is seen as one, although more out of surprise that someone as beautiful as her never found a husband. She attributes this to her desire to Marry for Love; the man she loved unfortunately being already married and she didn't love Dr Davenport, the father of both her children.
  • Protagonist Title: The first book in nearly every Andrews series is a single noun that doubles as the name of its heroine (Rain, Dawn, Melody, Willow, Heaven, Ruby...) later expanded to titles that simply contain the name, like April Shadows and Broken Flower. Only recently have the books ceased using this trope, in titles like Bittersweet Dreams and The Heavenstone Secrets.
  • Rags to Riches: Delia in the Delia series (taken in by wealthy relatives) and Sasha in Family Storms (adopted by a rich woman), among others.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Elle in The Unwelcomed Child.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Grandmother Emma in the Early Spring series.
  • Religious Stereotype: The Prescotts in The Unwelcomed Child.
  • Retcon: The Christopher's Diary series (in which a modern-day girl finds the diary that Christopher kept while in the attic) hugely retcons the events of the Dollanganger series so that Cory is still alive - Olivia and Corrine did not take him to the hospital themselves, but paid a servant to do it, and Cory was adopted by a wealthy gentleman who had recently lost his grandson.
  • Second Love:
    • Miguel for Willow in the De Beers series.
    • In the Delia series, Adan for Delia although he dies and she goes back to Ignacio anyway.
  • Series Continuity Error: The Dollanganger and Casteel series have this, probably because the prequels were written by a different person.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mayfair of Bittersweet Dreams, in an effort to show her supposed genius IQ.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: April and Brenda in the April series.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • In the Heavenstone series, Semantha Heavenstone.
  • Spoiled Brat:
    • In the De Beers series, Hannah Eaton is often moping about and complaining about how miserable she is with everyone paying more attention to her baby brother instead of her. She's supposed to be seen as a lonely teenage girl but the writing makes her come across as spoiled and selfish, which wouldn't be so bad if she weren't the main character of the story she's in.
    • Clara Sue Sanders, the narrator of Secret Brother, uses her younger brother's death to excuse her behavior. She antagonizes a poor, sick little boy who has been brought from the hospital to live with her and her grandfather because he's sleeping in her brother's room and using his things. One can feel sorry for her since she was dedicated to Willie but she's nothing more than a spoiled snob insisting that everyone should forever mourn her brother. Since the little boy is actually Cory Dollanganger, it makes her actions all the more cruel.
    • In the Mirror series, Haylee and Kaylee receive a lot of expensive gifts from both parents; who use their children to one-up each other, and they have to buy everything twice since the girls' mother insists they receive exactly the same things. Haylee delights in this and deliberately plays up to it so she can get more stuff.
  • Similarly Named Works: Secrets in the Attic, surprisingly, is not connected to Flowers in the Attic. Nor is Broken Flower connected to Broken Wings, nor is Daughter of Darkness to Into the Darkness. Nor is The Heavenstone Secrets connected to Heaven, House of Secrets, Secrets in the Attic, or Secret Brother (none of which, incidentally, are connected to each other, either).
  • Surprise Incest: Almost happens to Fern and Ryder in House of Secrets.
  • Teen Genius: Ian in the Early Spring series and Mayfair in Bittersweet Dreams. Both of them are heavily alienated by their peers as well as their own families. They are both also rather petty with Ian killing his and Jordan's governess for taking away his experiments and Mayfair ruining several lives after falsely accusing a teacher of sexually abusing her stepsister because he had sex with her and ignored her after out of guilt.
  • Theme Twin Naming:
    • Cade and Adrian in the De Beers series.
    • Justin and Austin in the "Secrets" series.
    • Haylee and Kaylee Blossom Fitzgerald in The Mirror Series. Justified in that their mother deliberately chose the names with a view to treating them as one person and trying to make the twins as identical as possible.
  • Token Minority:
    • Ice in the Shooting Stars series.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Adan Bovio in the Delia series.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
    • Plenty of this in the Early Spring series. Ian is a thirteen-year-old prodigy whose knowledge of sex (as well of other subjects) is far beyond that of many adults; and is fixated on performing "experiments" involving his seven-year-old sister Jordan, who's going through precocious puberty. When their governess tries to punish Ian, he murders her. Jordan herself also has age-inappropriate knowledge of sex (gained from Ian and an older teenager), which shocks the governess, as does Jordan's use of tampons rather than sanitary towels for her premature periods.
    • Mayfair Cummings in Bittersweet Dreams is extremely manipulative and condescending at a young age.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Celeste's mother wishes her daughter were more like her dead twin she makes Celeste dress as and pretend to be a boy.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Julie Cummings of Bittersweet Dreams is a pampered, adult Spoiled Brat with utter contempt for her stepdaughter and takes delight in going out of her way to make her look bad in front of her father. She does have redeeming qualities in that she loves her daughter and tries to make an effort with Mayfair but the efforts get shot down fast.
    • In House of Secrets Bea Davenport is this for Ryder; and fills the same role for Fern despite not being her real stepmother. Until the end of the book reveals she is Fern's stepmother, since Dr Davenport is also Fern's father.
  • Yandere: Mayfair Cummings in Bittersweet Dreams.


Example of: