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 wheelchair-bound, 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. In January of 2021, Lifetime announced that the adaptation will finally air in March.
This series contains examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Giselle, who shares Alpha Bitch duties with Daphne.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: Ruby does this in All That Glitters.
- Bastard Boyfriend: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: The reason for the Louisiana setting of the Landry series (where the heroine's family is French Creole).
- 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.
- 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).
- Daphne and Octavius have a daughter named Toby.
- 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
- Momma's Boy: Paul Tate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and Beau Andreas.
- 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.
- The Vamp: Giselle Dumas.
- 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.
- 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 Mists, wheelchair-bound Giselle secretly regains the ability to walk and passes herself off as her mobile sister in order to seduce a man while incriminating Ruby In All the Glitters, Ruby herself assumes Giselle's identity while Giselle is in a coma in order to be with Beau.
- Wicked Stepmother: Daphne.
- 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.