Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Dollanganger Series

Go To
2012 Omnibus ebook edition.

The first published, and best known series by V. C. Andrews. The series revolves around the titular Dollangangers, a seemingly perfect family that is torn apart by greed, revenge, and forbidden relationships.

The last novel, Garden of Shadows, is a prequel. It was written by Andrew Neiderman, the official ghostwriter appointed after Andrews' death by her estate.

Novels in the series:

  • Flowers in the Attic (1979): After the death of their father, the four Dollanganger children are brought by their mother to her family's home of Foxworth Hall. There they learn the Awful Truth behind their family and are forced to live in a single room for three long years, in the hopes that if their grandfather never learns of their existence and their mother will inherit his vast fortune.
    • Received two film adaptations. The first, produced in 1987, was meant to be followed by a sequel but due to negative fan and critical reception it ended up not happening. The second was produced in 2014 as the first of several Lifetime produced TV film versions of Andrews' work.
    • Neiderman later adapted the book to a stage play 2014, which had a successful run in New Orleans in 2015. A large scale production was announced to be in the works in 2016.
  • Petals on the Wind (1980): After escaping Foxworth Hall without the now dead Cory, the Dollanganger children are taken in by Dr. Paul Sheffield, with whom Cathy later has an affair with. The book mostly follows Cathy's rise in the ballet world, her affairs, and her plans for revenge against her mother and grandmother.
    • Film adaptation in 2014. The film deviated from the novel, including a controversial ten year Time Skip between the films.
  • If There Be Thorns (1981): Cathy and Chris now living as husband and wife and keeping their true relation a secret are raising Cathy's sons Jory and Bart, but the appearance of a new neighbor that tells Bart to call her 'Grandmother' may bring in some ugly revelations to the children.
    • The first book not to be narrated by Cathy, but rather Jory and Bart (each chapter switches between the two).
    • Film adaptation from Lifetime in 2015.
  • Seeds of Yesterday (1984): Bart, now obsessed with living like Malcolm Foxworth would, invites Cathy, Chris, Cindy, Jory and his pregnant wife Melodie to live at the newly rebuilt Foxworth Hall. Unfortunately, things quickly go From Bad to Worse for the family.
    • Cathy is once again the narrator.
    • Film adaptation in 2015.
  • Garden of Shadows (1987): A prequel telling how Olivia, the Dollanganger children's grandmother, became the cruel person that she is.
    • The second novel not to be told from Cathy's point of view (most of the book takes place well before she was even born, after all), and instead narrated by Olivia.
    • Has yet to be adapted into a film by Lifetime. Neiderman said that was talks of a series, but those plans are currently on hold.

  • Aside from the main series is the Diary series, the first two books being about a girl that finds Chris' diary long after the conclusion of the original series and serving as a P.O.V. Sequel of Flowers. The third book tells of a girl who's grandfather adopted Cory, who according to the second book actually had his death faked by his mother after her brother died. Most fans tend to file this series into Fanon Discontinuity. The books are:
    • Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth (2014)
    • Christopher's Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger (2015)
    • Secret Brother (2015)

A character sheet for the series is in progress and can be found here. Please add any character tropes to it.


For other books written by Andrews (or Neiderman using Andrews' name) go to My Sweet Audrina and The Casteel Series.

NOTE: Unmarked spoilers follow.

This series contains examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: At least two characters will end up killed in every installment of the series, while the others will either suffer from a Career-Ending Injury or go through a Trauma Conga Line.
  • Bastard Boyfriend:
    • Julian Marquet is a Jerk Ass Domestic Abuser with few redeeming qualities.
    • Bart Winslow Sr. has no problems cheating on his wife with her oldest daughter yet still remains dependent on her for the sake of her fortune. He's also quite a Jerk Ass and shows shades of a Domestic Abuser by being forceful toward Cathy.
  • Betty and Veronica: Cathy has Chris as the Betty and Paul as the Veronica. Then once she lands Paul, he becomes the Betty and Julian becomes the Veronica. After Julian dies, Paul and Chris both become the Betty and Bart Winslow becomes the Veronica.
  • Big Fancy House: Foxworth Hall.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Hands down the first thing most people will think of when they think of the series. Cathy and Chris become attracted to each other after being stuck in the attic for so long, and later live as a couple under an assumed name.
    • In Garden of Shadows, Corrine/Corinne and Christopher Sr. are not only half niece and uncle, but half siblings as a result of Malcolm raping Alicia.
  • Child by Rape:
    • Corinne was conceived when Malcolm Foxworth raped his father's wife Alicia.
    • Mal when Malcolm Foxworth raped his wife Olivia.
  • Cool Loser: Cathy Dollanganger.
  • Creepy Child: Bart.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: John Amos.
  • Creepy Twins: Cory and Carrie were perceived as such, though they weren't aware of it.
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • Corrine.
    • Cathy.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Corrine.
  • Doppelgänger: It's occasionally implied that the Joel Foxworth we meet in Seeds of Yesterday is an impostor for the real one, who was thought to have died. This is also the term used to describe both Cory and Carrie and Jory's twin children.
  • Driven to Suicide: Carrie.
  • Evil Matriarch: Olivia ascends to this role.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Bart Jr. was a lonely kid that wanted both his mother's affection.
    • Malcolm's mother left him and his father after sleeping around, which caused him to hate beautiful women.
    • Olivia Foxworth is given one in the prequel to explain why she was so cruel and domineering towards the series' protagonists.
  • The Fundamentalist: Olivia Foxworth, John Amos Jackson, Joel Foxworth.
  • Half-Identical Twins:
    • Carrie and Cory Dollanganger.
    • Darren and Deirdre Marquet.
  • Happily Adopted: After their escape from the attic, the remaining Dollangangers are adopted by the generous Paul Sheffield, who even puts Chris through medical school. (Things get a little creepy when Paul begins a relationship with the underage Cathy, but it's still better than the attic.) Later, Cindy is quite happily adopted by Cathy and Chris who very much consider her their own daughter.
  • Hollywood Homely: In-Universe. The young Olivia Foxworth was mocked for being over six feet tall, and believed she was plain, but (according to Corrine) Olivia was considered aristocratically good-looking in society.
  • Ill Girl: Carrie.
  • In the Blood: Chris and Cathy do things very similar to their own parents.
  • The Lost Lenore: Cory to his surviving siblings.
  • Love Father, Love Son: Bart with Corrine and Cathy.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Malcolm and Bart.
  • Marital Rape License: And how.
    • Malcolm forces himself on Olivia. What's especially sad about this instance is that she comes to bed with him willingly, only for him to act in such a cold, cruel manner utterly devoid of love or tenderness that it becomes this trope.
    • After numerous attempts at legitimately seducing her fail, Paul finally resorts to raping his wife Julia.
    • Julian to Cathy.
    • Implied with Bart and Corinne. After he assaults Cathy and she calls him a rapist, he dismisses her, saying, "My wife often says the same thing. But she enjoys it, just like you did."
  • May–December Romance:
    • Cathy and Paul.
    • Garland and Alicia.
  • Momma's Boy: Malcolm Jr. and Joel get accused of this by Malcolm Sr.
  • Parental Abandonment: Malcolm's mother, Corrine, abandoned her family.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Malcolm neglects his sons.
    • Corrine at first neglects her children, then takes it one step further.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Corrine.
  • Religious Stereotype: Olivia Foxworth, John Amos, and Bart Winslow (although he gets better) are all stereotypes of Christian fundamentalists.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Chris, Cathy, Carrie and Cory must atone for the sins of their parents.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Cathy's mother is named as both Corrine and Corinne.
  • Spoiled Brat: Corrine Dollanganger was spoiled heavily by her father and later her husband/uncle/brother to the point where she was constantly depending on a man. She didn't even care to get a career when her first husband dies even though she has four children to feed and clothe.
  • Stepford Smiler: Corrine is the Unstable type.
  • Surprise Incest: Chris and Corrine, more than they knew.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Alicia Foxworth gives birth to her son Christopher at age 17-18.
  • Theme Twin Naming:
    • Carrie and Cory.
    • Darren and Deirdre.
  • Traumatic Haircut: A variant; Olivia coats Cathy's long hair in tar to force her to cut it. The children manage to remove the tar with chemicals. Played straight in the movie, where Olivia knocks Cathy out and hacks her hair off.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Bart.
  • Wife Husbandry: Paul Sheffield's relationship with Cathy has elements of this, though she is already sixteen when he adopts her, and he doesn't appear to have had it in mind at the time of taking in the children.


Example of: