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Literature / Landry Series

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In the heart of the bayou, Ruby Landry lives a simple, happy life. But innocence can't last forever.... note 

The Landry series is a series of novels published under the name of V. C. Andrews, but is actually the second series written entirely by the Andrews estate-approved ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman.

Novels in the series:

  • Ruby (1994)
  • Pearl in the Mist (1994)
  • All That Glitters (1995)
  • Hidden Jewel (1995)
  • Tarnished Gold (1996)

Ruby Landry is a beautiful budding artist who lives in a swampy backwater of Louisiana with her kindly Grandmere Catherine and her drunken, gambling Grandpere Jack after the tragic early death of her mother Gabrielle. In spite of their impoverished life, Ruby loves the beauty of her Cajun world and dreams of being a famous artist in New Orleans. Ruby is in love with Paul Tate, a nice boy from the good side of the swamp, until Grandmere Catherine informs them both that Paul is actually Ruby's half-brother, born of Gabrielle's affair with a married man. Then Grandmere Catherine dies, and Ruby's life is turned upside down when she learns that her Disappeared Dad is a wealthy New Orleans aristocrat, and that she herself is half of a pair of twins Separated at Birth. Ruby travels to The Big Easy to find her father and meet her unknown sister, only to find that Aristocrats Are Evil. But Ruby is determined to make something of herself, to be seen as worthy for her own talents and merits, and to make her beloved Grandmere Catherine proud.

The second book, Pearl in the Mist, continues Ruby's story with her spectacularly rotten New Orleans relatives. After her father Pierre dies, Ruby is left in the hands of her Wicked Stepmother Daphne, who would like nothing more than for both of her husband's children to disappear. Daphne ships the twins to a Boarding School of Horrors, where Giselle, now in a wheelchair, gleefully goes about ruining Ruby's reputation. Ruby finds herself pregnant from a fling with Giselle's longtime boyfriend Beau and ends up fleeing back to the swamps to save her baby, the titular Pearl.

In All That Glitters, Ruby agrees to a (mostly) Sexless Marriage with her childhood sweetheart/half-brother Paul in order to give her daughter a name and a stable family life, even though she pines for her New Orleans lover Beau. Beau, meanwhile, is trapped in a loveless marriage to Giselle. Ruby and Beau start an affair, which Paul condones even though he himself is desperately in love with Ruby. When Giselle falls into a Convenient Coma, Ruby finds herself agreeing to a sinister plan so that she can be with Beau.

Hidden Jewel takes up the story of the now-college-age Pearl. After her younger siblings suffer an accident that leaves one dead and the other no longer willing to live, Pearl is horrified when her mother Ruby seems to abandon the family for the swamps, while her father Beau becomes a depressed, alcoholic wreck. Believing that only her mother's Cajun magic can save the family, Pearl ventures into the swamps to search for her, only to find love in the arms of a poor-but-honorable Cajun man.

The final book, Tarnished Gold, a prequel told from the perspective of Gabrielle, reveals still more family secrets (as well as famously misspelling Gabrielle's name throughout). Gabrielle is a beautiful and carefree Nature Lover until the day a wealthy man finds her alone in the swamps and rapes her. Finding herself pregnant, Gabrielle is forced by her money-hungry father to go into hiding in the house of her rapist, whose wife wants to pass off Gabrielle's unborn child as her own. After this harrowing experience, Gabrielle fears she will never be able to love another man, but fate conspires to bring her both true love and heartbreaking tragedy.

In spite of some of the more outlandish aspects (the Sequelitis grows exponentially as the series goes on), the Landry Series is largely regarded as one of the best-written of the ghostwritten series and was very well-received by most fans. A TV miniseries based on the Landry books has languished in Development Hell since the late 1990s but was resurrected by Lifetime Television and slated to be released in 2020, only to be waylaid by the COVID-19 Pandemic. It finally aired (minus Tarnished Gold) in March of 2021.

This series contains examples of:

  • Adoption Diss: Despite Paul caring deeply for Pearl as though she were his own daughter (technically she's his niece), Ruby would rather Pearl be with her biological father Beau because of how she carries a torch for him and because Paul is her half-brother.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Paul in All That Glitters after Ruby leaves him for Beau which leads to his death via drowning in the swamp.
    • The most extreme case is Grandpere Jack in both Ruby and Tarnished Gold who goes from merely embarrassing Gabrielle at her high school graduation and extorting money from her rapist to trying to sell his granddaughter to another drunk to pay off his gambling debts.
    • In Hidden Jewel, Beau also turns to alcohol after the death of his son and the disappearance of his wife, leaving teenage Pearl the Only Sane Man who must put the family back together.
  • Ancestral Name: Ruby names her twin sons Pierre and Jean, after her father and uncle, respectively.
  • Alpha Bitch: Giselle, who shares Alpha Bitch duties with Daphne.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: After his twin Jean dies, Pierre Andreas loses the will to live just like his grandfather and namesake. Unlike the senior Pierre, though, he manages to pull through.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Ruby does this in All That Glitters.
  • Betty and Veronica: Paul is Betty and Beau is Veronica to Ruby's Archie.
    • In the first novel, Ruby briefly becomes a Betty to Giselle's Veronica for Beau.
  • Brains and Brawn: Between Ruby's twin sons, mischievous prankster Pierre is the brains and Jean is the brawn.
    • From the little we learn about the twin's namesakes Pierre and Jean Dumas, athletic, handsome Jean was the brawn and serious, academically inclined Pierre the brains.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Drawing from the above, it seems that among Ruby's children, Pierre is the Brains, Jean is the Brawn, and Pearl the Beauty. Partially subverted, as Pearl is really a Beauty with Brains who plans to go to medical school, though people assume she's too pretty to be so smart.
  • Blatant Lies: Ruby claims that the reason she wants the Twin Switch in All That Glitters is so that Pearl can be with both her parents when it's more than obvious she just wants to get back together with Beau but doesn't want to break her wedding vows.
  • Blind Musician: Louis, who went blind in childhood, puts his emotions into his music.
  • Byronic Hero: Again, Louis, who went blind after witnessing his parents' death, lives his life in a dark, lonely mansion, refusing visitors and composing gloomy music. It's later revealed that his blindness is psychosomatic, due to the guilt of being sexually molested by his mother.
  • Child by Rape: Paul was born when Octavius Tate raped Gabrielle Landry.
  • Convenient Coma: Giselle is stricken by encephalitis, allowing the rest of the cast to engage in twin-swapping shenanigans.
  • Cool Loser: In spite of being beautiful, honest, sweet-natured, and talented, Ruby is seen as a country bumpkin by her schoolmates.
  • Country Mouse / City Mouse: Much of the plot of the first novel revolves around Ruby's Country Mouse morality versus Daphne and Giselle's City Mouse ways.
  • Covers Always Lie: Ruby has red hair, but the covers for the first two books gave her and twin sister Giselle dark brown hair.
  • Death by Childbirth: Gabrielle, giving birth to the twins twins Ruby and Giselle.
  • Death by Despair: Pierre Dumas and Paul Tate.
  • Dirty Coward: Beau, who responds to Ruby being pregnant with his child by running off to Europe and eventually marrying her twin sister.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Thankfully subverted. As a young child, Louis was sexually molested by his mother. As an adult he experiences deep shame and guilt, believing he was partially responsible for the abuse because his mother taught him that arousal equals consent. Hearing his story, Ruby immediately realizes that what happened was wrong and that Louis was not at fault.
  • Easily Forgiven: Beau abandons Ruby after she's pregnant with his child and then marries Giselle. She forgives him almost instantly and is more than happy to engage in the Twin Switch when Giselle gets sick.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: The reason for the Louisiana setting of the Landry series (where the heroine's family is French Creole).
  • Evil Matriarch: Both Gladys Tate and Daphne Dumas share this trope with Gladys's true colors coming out after the Twin Switch and the death of Paul, who she loved dearly despite him not being her biological child. Daphne is a Wicked Stepmother who at first loved Giselle and was very close to her but then Ruby coming back into the picture caused her to have a Face–Heel Turn and she became abusive to both of them before sending them off to boarding school. It gets worse when Pierre dies.
  • Evil Redhead: Giselle Dumas, in contrast with Ruby and Gabrielle.
  • Evil Twin: Heroine Ruby Landry meets her Separated at Birth twin sister Giselle Dumas. In All That Glitters, Ruby very well could be more the evil twin than Giselle: she falls back in love with Beau despite him leaving her and their daughter, plots to switch lives with Giselle when the latter contracts encephalitis, abandons her half-brother/husband Paul and driving him to despair, and eventually gets away with it all save for a trial to determine Pearl's custody.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Beau Andreas isn't much better than the others considering how he can easily switch back and forth from Giselle to Ruby to Giselle and back to Ruby. He also was the one who more or less orchestrated the plan to switch the twins in All That Glitters, with Ruby going along with the plan, in spite of her marriage to Paul, so that her daughter can be with her natural father.
  • Gender-Blender Name: In the last two books of the series, Ruby's mother is named as Gabriel, a masculine name (the first three called her Gabrielle, the feminine variant).
    • Gladys and Octavius have a daughter named Toby.
  • Generation Xerox: There are two pairs of twin boys named Pierre and Jean, one of them Ruby's father and uncle and the other pair her sons. Both Jeans end up dying in some way and both Pierres lose the will the live but the younger Pierre manages to pull through while the senior Pierre sadly doesn't.
  • Gratuitous French: Frequently used.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Giselle, who conversely can't hold her liquor and eventually is paralyzed while driving under the influence. (She gets better.)
  • Healing Hands: Grandmere Catherine is a traiteur, a Cajun healer who works with a combination of folk medicine and faith-healing, curing not only physical ailments but spiritual ones.
  • Hereditary Curse: Ruby believes she has brought one onto her family in Hidden Jewel and drives herself half-mad attempting to atone for it.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: In Ruby, when the protagonist goes to find her father in New Orleans, she just happens to arrive on the day of Mardi Gras. (This is in spite of Ruby herself being from Cajun Country, where Mardi Gras is also a super-big deal.)
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Paul agrees in All That Glitters to go along with Ruby and Beau's plan to have Ruby take the comatose Giselle's place so that she and Beau can be together, even though he's deeply in love with her and everyone else believes that he and Ruby are married.
  • Karma Houdini: Save for a custody battle against the Tates to keep Pearl (which ended up being resolved easily), Ruby and Beau get away scot-free with a majority of their plan to have Ruby and Giselle switch lives when the latter contracts encephalitis so that they could be together.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Did Ruby really strike down her sister with a voodoo curse in Ruby? And did Paul's tragic death really cause the family to suffer supernatural vengeance in Hidden Jewel? The books seem reluctant to confirm or deny either way, although Ruby certainly believes it's all true, and the coincidences seem to line up a bit too neatly.
  • Meaningful Name: Ruby is a redhead. Her name is also a reference to the biblical quote about a virtuous woman being more valuable than rubies, contrasting the virtuous Ruby to her Jezebel twin Giselle.note 
    • Pearl's name comes from the Parable of the Pearl (where a man trades all his wealth for a pearl of exquisite value) and also seems to be a shout-out to The Scarlet Letter since she, too, was born out of wedlock and both were named for the very same parable.
  • Momma's Boy: Paul Tate. It only makes the reveal that Gladys Tate isn't his real mother even more heartbreaking.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Grandmere Catherine and Grandpere Jack's relationship as well as the relationship with Ruby and Beau at times.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Giselle probably wins the prize for rude awakenings: she only learns that she is adopted when her twin sister Ruby shows up on the family doorstep.
  • Older Than They Look: 16-year-old Ruby believes Louis is around her age and is shocked to learn he's thirty.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with Grandpere Jack and Jack Clovis. And of course there's the matter of the two different sets of twins both named Pierre and Jean.
  • Pillow Pregnancy: Takes place in Tarnished Gold.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Ruby is honest, modest, and grew up in poverty in the country. Giselle, raised in the lap of luxury in the French Quarter, is a flirtatious, spoiled liar.
  • Posthumous Narration: The prequel Tarnished Gold features Ruby's mother, and concludes with her narrating as she dies.
  • Prophet Eyes: The elderly blind voodoo priestess Ruby meets in Ruby has milky white eyes and claims that in exchange for her blindness to the world, she has the ability to see people's innermost self.
    • Grandmere Catherine usually has ordinary brown eyes, but when she's using her traiteur magic, her eyes become opaque and glassy.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Because the books are told in Ruby's point of view, some of her more negative qualities are glossed over like how she tore apart the Dumas family almost overnight with her arrival (leading to some dark secrets being revealed), stole her sister's boyfriend (and got pregnant by him), had a priestess put a voodoo curse on Giselle, deceived her half brother Paul and took advantage of his affection for her, and has a blind devotion to a man who she easily forgives for abandoning her and their child.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • For the first few books, it's assumed that Gabrielle was this, what with her getting pregnant by not one but two married men. In Tarnished Gold, we find out one of those pregnancies was the result of rape. This might have been retconned by the author precisely to subvert this trope, in order to make Gabrielle look more sympathetic, or in-character by Grandmere Catherine to spare Ruby and Paul; see "Retcon" below.
    • Meanwhile, Giselle really does get around, to the point that it comes back to haunt her posthumously.
  • Retcon:
    • In Ruby Grandmere Catherine implies that Gabrielle became pregnant from a consensual love affair, while in Tarnished Gold, she is well aware that Gabrielle was raped. (Grandmere Catherine might have been toning down the circumstances of Paul's conception to spare him from learning that his father was a rapist.)
    • Grandmere Catherine's account of Gabrielle's death differs from Gabrielle's own account in Tarnished Gold. Possibly explained by Catherine altering her version of events to comfort herself, since she states that Gabrielle's last words were to thank her.
    • A major minor point of discontinuity in Tarnished Gold is that Gabrielle's name is changed to Gabriel. Noteworthy because the story is narrated by Gabrielle herself (one would think that the spelling she herself used would be the correct one).
  • Satellite Love Interest: Paul Tate, Beau Andreas, and Jack Clovis.
  • Separated at Birth: Ruby and Giselle.
  • Settle for Sibling: Beau settles for Giselle when he can't have Ruby.
  • Sexless Marriage: Ruby and Paul's "marriage" was arranged to be like this, although it didn't remain sexless forever.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ruby and Giselle.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: A justified trope, since Louisiana is home to all of the most deadly snakes in North America, snakes appear both literally and figuratively throughout the series:
    • Practically anyone who's wantonly malicious is compared to being "mean as a cottonmouth," with the specific comparison used multiple times in the series.
    • In Ruby, a voodoo queen uses a snake to curse Giselle. Ruby must later reach into the snake's box to undo the curse. This snake becomes a symbol for Ruby and Giselle's relationship.
    • In Hidden Jewel, Pearl's younger brother dies from a copperhead bite.
    • In Tarnished Gold, Gabrielle snatches her infant son away from a deadly snake, which is mistaken for her trying to steal the baby back.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Ruby's mother is named as Gabrielle for the first four books but becomes "Gabriel" in Tarnished Gold.
  • Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism: When Ruby gets pregnant in Pearl in the Mist, Daphne instantly pulls her out of school and tells everyone that Ruby was too grief-stricken after her father's recent death to continue studying.
  • Surprise Incest: Ruby and Paul.
  • Surprise Witness: Ruby's old friend Louis is brought in as one of these in All That Glitters. Since Louis learned to identify the twins by their voices, rather than their identical faces, he can vouch for Ruby's true identity.
  • Theme Naming: Jewelry—"Ruby", "Pearl", "Jewel", "Gold", etc.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Twice in Pearl in the Mist, with two different characters!
    • Louis, who is blind, begins to recover his sight after his interactions with Ruby. In All That Glitters, we learn his sight's fully returned.
    • Giselle is disabled in a car accident and uses a wheelchair. She secretly relearns how to walk and uses this to get Ruby and herself thrown out of school by letting herself be seen in places off-limits to students. After all, if one of the Landry twins is seen walking around, it must be Ruby, right?
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Gabrielle Landry.
    • Grandmere Catherine and Pierre Dumas may also qualify: Catherine is a saintly, spiritual healer beloved by both Ruby and the Cajun community, and Pierre's only real purpose in the books is to love and accept Ruby unconditionally.
    • Paul Tate does literally everything he can for Ruby and gets sentenced to Death by Despair.
  • Twin Switch: A plot point in every single book until Giselle's death. In Ruby, Giselle convinces Ruby it would be funny to do this, only to turn the joke back on Ruby when she plays Ruby as a naive country bumpkin who sleeps around. In Pearl in the Mist, Giselle secretly regains the ability to walk and passes herself off as her mobile sister in order to seduce a man while incriminating Ruby so they can both be kicked out of school. In All the Glitters, Ruby herself assumes Giselle's identity while Giselle is in a coma in order to be with Beau.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Ruby turns into one in All That Glitters when Beau comes back in the picture and Nice Guy Paul is seen as more of an inconvenience despite all he did to help her and Pearl. She wastes no time switching places with the comatose Giselle so that she can be with the wishy-washy Beau and claims that it's so that her daughter can be with her natural father when she seems more absorbed in getting in the "honeymoon period" with Beau.
  • The Vamp: Giselle Dumas is flirty and seductive even when she's married. It's something that comes back to haunt her even after her death.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Daphne Dumas is not only this for Ruby but Giselle, who she at first treated just like her own daughter until Ruby shows up.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: When Ruby arrives on the Dumas doorstep, Giselle's boyfriend Beau mistakes her for Giselle wearing a beggar's costume for Mardi Gras. Ruby indignantly replies that these are her clothes.

Alternative Title(s): All That Glitters, Tarnished Gold