Follow TV Tropes


Literature / My Sweet Audrina

Go To
"So Audrina goes round and round the mulberry bush, wondering exactly how Arden could have known the First and Best Audrina, and space aliens from 20,000 light years away shout, and tiny one-celled organisms deep within prehistoric lakes shout, and you shout, and I shout, and Bastian from The Neverending Story shouts, "THERE IS ONLY ONE FUCKING AUDRINA, YOU BRAINLESS MORON, AND THAT AUDRINA IS YOU!"
Erin Callahan, Forever Young Adult's review.

My Sweet Audrina is a 1982 novel written by V. C. Andrews. The only standalone novel written in her lifetime, it is—depending on who you speak to—either her best book or her worst, with a twist that either knocks readers off their feet or gets guessed in the first twenty pages. Whichever camp you fall into, it is arguably her most sensational and shocking work, dealing extensively and often graphically with rape, mental illness, and disability among many, many other sensitive subjects.

Seven-year-old Audrina Adele Adare lives in isolation in a Old, Dark House called Whitefern, along with her Overprotective Dad Damian, beautiful but self-absorbed mother Lucky, her bitter spinster aunt Ellsbeth, and Ellsbeth's jealous, spiteful daughter Vera. Audrina suffers from a sporadic memory and a strange inability to sense time passing, leaving her confused and vulnerable. Her papa forbids her to go to school, make friends, or visit the woods behind their house where, on a rainy day nine years before Audrina's birth, her adored elder sister (also named Audrina) was raped and murdered.


Trapped in the walls of Whitefern, helpless in the hands of her family, and oh so young and trusting, Audrina is forced to sit in the First and Best Audrina's rocking chair until she absorbs her dead sister's special gifts so that Papa will love her as much as he loved the First Audrina.

It goes about as well as you'd expect.

As Audrina grows up, she begins to break away from her papa and her home, but her life is still overshadowed by memories that don't belong to her, memories that threaten to ruin her marriage and destroy her sanity. If she's ever going to live a normal life, she must finally learn the terrifying secret that everyone elsenote  already knows.

Everyone except...My Sweet Audrina

My Sweet Audrina was adapted as a Made-for-TV Movie for the Lifetime Network in 2016. A ghostwritten sequel, Whitefern, which continued the story of Audrina as an adult, was published in 2016.


NOTE: Unmarked spoilers follow.

The book provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Damian and Lucky. Even before Audrina was raped, Damian was a father who was satisfied only with being treated with unquestioned obedience and worship. After the rape, Lucky scrubs Audrina's skin so hard during a scalding hot bath that she bleeds and was the more hysterical parent. She also seems to see Audrina as defiled and impure from then on.
    • Regarding Vera, he and Ellsbeth averts this trope more or less due to Vera being an Enfant Terrible.
  • Adapted Out: Billie and Sylvia in the movie adaptation. A brief scene explains that Sylvia was stillborn, but Billie is never mentioned at all.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Audrina, who is repeatedly described as blonde in the book, is a brunette in the Lifetime movie.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Arden's a much better person in the movie. While he participates in the ruse along with everyone else:
    • It's shown that he actually tried to stop Audrina's rape, rather than running like a coward, before being overpowered by her assailants.
    • Doesn't force himself on Audrina on their wedding night and patiently endures their Sexless Marriage until she's ready to have sex.
    • Although clearly tempted, with the exception of one kiss that he immediately regrets, ultimately resists Vera's attempts at seducing him rather than succumbing immediately. Even after she drugs and undresses him, he's still coherent enough to fight her off.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Vera has one. On the living room sofa. In the middle of the day. In front of Audrina. Who is nine or ten at this point.
  • Age Cut: The first fifteen minutes of the movie show Audrina and Vera as preteens. Following her mother and baby sister's death, we get a Time Skip to them as teenagers.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: As Vera lays dying, she begs Arden to believe that she was never really a bad person. At Vera's funeral, Audrina realizes that Vera had never truly been loved by anyone, not even her own parents.
  • The Alcoholic: Lucky has a bad habit of getting completely sloshed at parties and Tuesday Teatimes.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Sylvia is clearly developmentally challenged, but we are not told exactly what is wrong with her, and the book strongly implies she may be exaggerating (even though it would be difficult for a profoundly mentally disabled child to do this).note 
  • Arc Number: 9. The First Audrina's birthday is September 9th (the ninth day of the ninth month), and she dies on her ninth birthday. The Second Audrina's birthday is also September 9th and she was born nine years after the First Audrina was killed. Her sister Sylvia is born on Audrina's ninth birthday while her mother dies that same day. All this has led Audrina to be superstitious of any date with a nine in it.
  • Baby Trap: Vera tries this with Lamar, but miscarries.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Arden Lowe treats Audrina very poorly and had cheated on her with Vera more than once.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The family is wealthy, lives in a huge house, and are all (with the exception of the plainer Ellsbeth) repeatedly described as very beautiful. Even Sylvia, who has severe and very apparent disabilities, is so striking that it's easy to miss her condition at first glance.
    • Even Ellsbeth doesn't escape this trope. When Audrina spies on her and Damian, Ellsbeth is wearing such a sheer nightgown that she's as good as naked and Audrina says she's much more attractive without clothes to the point where she could compete with her prettier sister.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Audrina spends two years begging Damian to get Sylvia out of the care facility she's been in due to her disabilities and when she is returned, Damian forces Audrina (who is still a child herself) to be more or less Sylvia's mother because of how badly she wanted her little sister to come home.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Audrina catches Vera and Arden together in rooms that are never used. They're not doing anything, but it's heavily implied that they were about to start or had just finished. They later go at it on the floor of her sickroom, unaware that she's come out of her coma and can see them. The movie waters it down to her walking in on them kissing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sylvia, of all people, gets this when she manages to get the once comatose Audrina out of her sickroom after Vera tries to trick her into unplugging the life support by putting cookies around the plug.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition:
    • The First Audrina dies on her ninth birthday.
    • Audrina's birthday is the same day as the birth/death of the First Audrina. As a child Audrina is forced to visit the First Audrina's grave every year on their shared birthday.
    • In the most explicit example, Lucky dies giving birth to Sylvia. To make things worse, this happens on Audrina's ninth birthday.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lucky, who indirectly taunts Ellsbeth about how she stole Damian away from her and still keeps drinking while she's pregnant all while she's portrayed as the sweet, pretty Whitefern daughter compared to her plainer, serious sister. Vera would be this but she puts her bitchiness on display far more openly and her sweetness is almost always fake.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: After being hit with a blood-clot flung by her hemorrhaging, hysterical daughter in the throes of a miscarriage, Ellsbeth calmly returns to the kitchen, changes her bloodstained apron, and goes back to rolling pie crusts.
  • Broken Bird: Ellsbeth. After Damian impregnates her with Vera and then leaves to marry her sister, she swears off men forever, only to end up a domestic servant for her sister and brother-in-law to provide a home for her daughter and herself. Vera becomes a terrifyingly oversexed and evil child and even pushes Ellsbeth down the stairs, killing her. The only time she's ever happy is when she finally has Damian to herself at long last after Lucky dies giving birth to Sylvia but it doesn't last long. She's also the Only Sane Man in the story due to her treating Audrina like a real person rather than antagonizing her or lying to her.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Double-amputee Billie falls down the stairs and breaks her neck.
  • Cain and Abel: Vera and Audrina. The comparison becomes even more apt when we find out that the two are not only cousins, but half-sisters, and that Vera set Audrina up to be gang-raped in order to spoil her in their father's eyes so that Vera would look like the better daughter.
    • Lucky and Ellsbeth also count though they're not at all what people think they are. Lucky is treated as Abel but is more Cain-like in personality due to being more deceptive and secretly cruel. The stern Ellsbeth is seen as the Cain but is more Abel-like since she is actually a nicer person than her sister.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: The climax of the novel is Audrina finally doing this. She goes on to call everyone out, including Arden and Vera.
    • Vera calls out Damian several times for never acknowledging her as his daughter.
    • Ellsbeth even gets a turn when she calls Damian out on his daughters' behalf, both for his scornful treatment of Vera and his attempts to turn Audrina into a Replacement Goldfish.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Audrina and Arden Lowe. He was about thirteen. She was seven.
  • Clairvoyance: Audrina displays a mild (and mostly unremarked upon) gift for seeing the past and future, which her father tries to channel through the rocking chair. For example, she uses her intuition to play the stock market, she predicts Lucky's death around the moment it's happening, and at the end of the book, she believes she receives a warning against leaving Sylvia alone with Damian.
    • Some of Audrina's apparent clairvoyance may be conflated with the gaslighting that has caused her to forget her past; she believes her own memories are actually those of her dead sister. Other times, the clairvoyance is Played Straight.
  • Closet Shuffle: Vera invokes this on herself in the movie when she hears Damian approaching after she's brought the pornographic pictures to Audrina.
  • Convenient Miscarriage : Actually, a very inconvenient one, because it was supposed to be Vera's way to escape Whitefern by forcing Lamar to marry her. Another memorable scene happens when Vera crawls around on the floor in blood and throws one of the clumps.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Everyone to Audrina while she's in her coma. Vera to cruelly taunt her about how she and Arden are having sex and intend to kill her off for good, Arden to move her arms and legs and implore her to Please Wake Up, and Damien to basically whine and cry about how all this is affecting HIM.
  • Corporal Punishment: One of Vera's complaints about the blatant favoritism in the house is that the adults always spanked her for any minor transgression but never punished Audrina. In fact, we see Damien spanking Vera (through a pair of transparent panties, no less) when Vera's well into her teens.
    • It appears that Damien subjects his wife to the same treatment: he "punishes" her for allegedly flirting at a party by beating her with a belt, something he seems to do with regularity.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover for the book's 2016 edition shows Audrina as a brunette, probably to tie in with the film version. Likewise the cover of Whitefern, though in black and white, appears to show Audrina as a brunette.
    • Audrina's stated hair color in the novel (an impossible mixture of blonde, red, chestnut, platinum, and white) is very difficult to portray visually. Most covers simply show her as a strawberry blonde.
  • Creepy Child: Sylvia is originally presented as profoundly mentally challenged, but there's evidence she may be able to imitate Audrina to an uncomfortable degree.
  • Christmas Cake: Vera begs Arden to run away to the city with her before they're both too old to enjoy life. After all, they're both almost 30.
  • Daddy's Girl: The First and Best Audrina. After the rape, she feared all males, including her father, hence Damian's desperate need to reprogram the "second" Audrina.
  • Dark Secret: The fate of the First and Best Audrina, amongst others.
    • When we first meet Audrina, her family behaves as if some terrible, mysterious thing killed the First Audrina. Only after a few sessions in the rocking chair does Audrina "remember" that the terrible thing was rape. It's played as a dark secret by the family, but it's pretty obvious to everyone, including the audience.
    • Vera is Damian's daughter by Ellsbeth. Again, only Audrina is unaware of this, and the family keep it as a dark secret from her.
    • From the beginning, Arden behaves as if he knows something that Audrina does not. It turns out that Arden witnessed the First Audrina's rape and ran without helping her. As an adult, Audrina finally recalls this detail and infers that Arden only married her out of guilt.
  • Daylight Horror : The second Audrina is terrified of flashing colors, keeping herself to the shadows to avoid the patterns of the stained glass windows on the floor of her home. We later learn that the First Audrina attempted suicide from one of those windows during a violent lightning storm.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Audrina THINKS she's this to the first one.
  • Death by Childbirth: Lucky dies giving birth to Sylvia.
  • Defiled Forever: The First Audrina's opinion of herself after being raped, upheld by her father, who consistently refers to the First Audrina as having been "spoiled."
    • Lucky is implied to have upheld it to, though to a lesser extent. The scalding-hot bath and the rather vicious cleaning strongly imply that she viewed Audrina as defiled, though Damian later says that she occasionally agreed with Ellsbeth that gaslighting Audrina was damaging and that they should just help her cope with her trauma normally.
  • Does Not Like Men:
    • Audrina after being gang-raped. She destroys all her boy dolls, drives off her male cat with rocks, and even fears her own father, to whom she was previously devoted.
    • To a much less dramatic degree, Ellsbeth, who had her heart broken by Damien and who has since projected her resentment of him onto the entire male species.
    • Though less obvious than the other two, Vera seems to despise men as weak and easily manipulated. She has a pattern of craving male attention, gaining it through sex, then rejecting them as pathetic for being dumb enough to succumb to her.
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday: Subverted. Much is made of Audrina's birthday and its significance, but no one will tell her what their birthday or real age is, leading Audrina to observe at one point that "no one's birthday was nearly as important as mine." It's eventually revealed that this is all part of the gaslighting routine in order to keep Audrina confused about how much time is really passing.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. In the movie, Vera slips into slinky lingerie, drugs Arden, and starts to undress him. This is never portrayed as okay, especially since it also has the double benefit of distracting him from the fact that she disconnected Audrina's life support. He's coherent enough to fight her off and is clearly angry and disgusted at her behavior.
  • Empathic Environment: Rain plays a significant factor in many scenes—the First Audrina's rape, the Second Audrina and Arden's wedding night (which promptly makes her even more terrified of consummating their marriage), Audrina and Arden's graveyard sex, and Damian finally explaining to Audrina that she's the only one.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    • Vera. She becomes an even worse adult.
    • Sylvia's a rather disturbing child due to her Ambiguous Disorder and being raised in her macabre environment.
  • Ephebophile: Audrina's piano teacher Lamar Rensdale had a sexual relationship with the teenage Vera and also seemed to be attracted to Audrina judging by his heavy arousal at Vera imitating her voice.
  • Everyone Knew Already: Vera is the daughter of Damian and Ellsbeth. Her farewell letter to Damian lampshades that everyone knows the truth, even Audrina.
  • Evil Overlooker: Damian in the stepback art for the first edition.
  • Evil Redhead: Vera Whitefern with her apricot hair.
  • Fate Worse than Death: In its original usage, and treated as such by Audrina's parents, who "kill off" the First Audrina as if to underscore that it is better to have a dead daughter than one Defiled Forever. This belief is so ingrained that pre-brainwashing Audrina states outright that she wishes she had been murdered rather than raped.
  • Forced to Watch: In the movie, Arden tries to stop Audrina's gang-rape but is quickly overpowered by her assailants, who then invoke this trope.
  • Foreshadowing: In one scene, an angry Vera threatens to "tell" if Damian ever hits her again. In a similar scene, Ellsbeth assures him, "I wouldn't tell her, Damian, really, I wouldn't" during an argument. For those who haven't figured it out yet, these are HUGE hints at The Reveal.
  • Gaslighting: In addition to The Big Spoiler, the entire family (plus her future husband, his mother, Audrina's schoolteachers, and more than a few townsfolk) conspire for years to convince Audrina that she has a mental illness.
    • Lucky and Ellsbeth host "Tuesday Teatimes" twice a week to convince Audrina that time is passing faster.
    • All the clocks in the house are set to different times. There are no calendars, and no one will tell Audrina their real age. Damian stuffs the mailbox with back-dated newspapers. And while there is a television in the house, Audrina is forbidden to watch it.
    • Audrina is given tranquilizers instead of aspirin for her frequent headaches, so that she often sleeps for days without realizing and wakes thinking it's been only a few hours. Conversely, Audrina takes short unmedicated naps and is told upon waking that it's the next day.
  • Ghost Memory: Subverted. Damian wants Audrina to gain the memories and talents of the First and Best Audrina, but the two Audrinas turn out to be the same person.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Very much so with not only Lucky and Ellsbeth but Audrina and Vera. Averted with Audrina and Sylvia since the former more or less is the closest the latter has to a mother.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Billie was one until she became ill, and is still described as being very beautiful even now that she's older and disabled.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Vera catches Audrina changing from bathing suit to normal clothes and manages to snag both sets as well as Arden's.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Audrina and Lucky are described as wearing purple dresses which highlight their femininity and match their eye color.
  • Hollywood Healing: Narrowly averted. After Audrina awakens from her coma, there is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it paragraph explaining that she spends several weeks in hospital undergoing physical therapy to regain the use of her limbs.
  • Homeschooled Kids: Audrina for several years. Damian gives her some vague explanation about how she's too special and perfect to go to real school, but in truth, it's so that she won't have to interact with her assailants or with classmates who can easily reveal the truth to her.
  • Horrible Honeymoon: Audrina elopes with her sweetheart, Arden. Although they're in love, Audrina has a lot of trauma around sex, both because she's extremely sheltered and because she grew up hearing how her older sister was raped and murdered and it's later revealed it was Audrina herself who was raped and her family manipulated her into believing it happened to a non-existent sister. As a result, the honeymoon is a complete disaster, especially as Arden isn't very understanding or sensitive about this issue, which negatively impacts their marriage.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Billie was a former ice-skater who lost both legs to diabetes just as she was about to hit the big time.
    • Lucky was a gifted pianist who gave up her stage career to marry Audrina's father. She's never let him forget it.
  • Idiot Savant: Sylvia, who despite her severe intellectual disability is presented as preternaturally wise and comes up with a very clever solution for rescuing Audrina from Vera, who was about to switch off Audrina's life support machine.
    • There's also a bit where she knocks a cup of tea Vera has prepared for Audrina out of Audrina's hands. Vera later reveals to comatose Audrina that she's been drugging her. Sylvia's actions indicate that she knew this and was trying to protect her.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Even as a young child, Audrina's aware that what her father calls her "special gifts" leave her isolated and lonely. She dreams of being allowed to go to school and take piano lessons like her cousin Vera.
  • Impairment Shot: Because the book is written in the first person POV format, the reader can feel just as confused and disoriented as Audrina does note 
  • Incest Subtext: Because it wouldn't be a V.C. Andrews novel without this trope!
    • Both Vera and Audrina have a disturbing amount of this with Damian and arguably with each other as well, doubling as Foe Romance Subtext.
    • Ellsbeth warns Audrina that her father is trying to make Audrina his wife in every way except in the bedroom, by putting too much adult responsibility on her and making her tend his emotional needs.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The general definition of the First and Best Audrina's alleged "gift," a quality that made her particularly loving, lovable, and trusting. Damien believed the First Audrina's "gift" was destroyed by her rape, and he became obsessed with recreating it in the second Audrina, only to make her doubt her own sanity. Ironically, once Audrina breaks free of Damien's control, it turns out the Incorruptible Pure Pureness really was incorruptible and had been there the whole time. More ironic still, it drives her to return home to her controlling father.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Lucky and Ellsbeth's friend Mercy Marie disappeared whilst working as a missionary in Africa, and is believed to have been eaten by local people. During their weekly tea parties, they put out her photo and talk to her as if she were there, which unnerves Audrina, given how Mercy Marie is supposed to have died.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Arden's excuse for pretty much everything, including why he didn't remain a virgin until marriage even though he was engaged to Audrina, why he slept with Vera, why he raped Audrina on their honeymoon, and, of course, why he slept with Vera again—even Damian tells Audrina that "you can't really blame him for what he did with her", telling her that he was clearly unhappy with their sex life.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Audrina's playroom song, the lyrics of which, sadly, prove that Audrina always knew her father's ultimate plans for her.
    'Cause my Papa wants me to always stay at home
    Safe in my playroom, safe in my home
  • Inspirationally Disabled: Arden's mother Billie was an ice-skating champion who might have competed in the Olympics until she lost both legs to diabetes.
  • In the Blood: The Whitefern sisters' hatred for each other.
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: After several years of marriage, Arden finally gives Audrina an orgasm. This not only erases all their previous sexual dysfunction, but also seems to cure Audrina of her childhood fear of sex.
    • In the movie, learning that it's SHE who was gang-raped finally breaks her out of her sexual fears, leading to her and Arden finally consummating their marriage.
  • It's All About Me: Damien, big time. Arden too. In particular, they both whine separately to Audrina about how much her coma affected them and Arden practically pouts when Audrina angrily throws his infidelity in his face.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ellsbeth acts cold and mean to Audrina, but she is also the only person who shoots straight with her most of the time and encourages her to become independent of her father, who Ellsbeth foresees will try to control Audrina for the rest of her life. After Lucky's death and Vera's departure, Ellsbeth and Audrina develop a much closer, warmer relationship, to the point that Audrina is allowed to call her "Ellie," a name she had previously only permitted Damian to call her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When he finally confesses to Audrina about his failure to help her, Arden truthfully points out that he wouldn't have stood a chance against three boys who were older and stronger than him.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Lucky, Audrina, and the First Audrina all have hair of "flaxen blonde, with gold, auburn, bright red, chestnut brown, copper and even some white."
  • Karmic Death / Laser-Guided Karma: Vera falls down the same stairs that she shoved Ellsbeth, Billie, and Audrina down, fatally injuring herself.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Audrina adopts this attitude to cope with having sex with Arden.
  • Lighter and Softer: The movie, overall, as compared to the book.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: In addition to the big Reveal, Audrina is shocked to learn that Billie's been concealing the fact that she is a former Olympic figure skater who lost both legs to diabetes. Turns out that this was a famous sports tragedy that made headlines before Audrina was born and that everyone in town is aware of their local celebrity and her loss.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Vera and Arden on the floor in front of Arden's comatose wife's hospital bed and her mentally disabled sister.
    • Audrina and Arden in the garden after he finally helps her let go of her sexual anxiety, and on top of/in Audrina's "dead" sister's empty grave in the middle of an electrical storm. The movie shifts it to the slightly more respectable garden shed.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: During Audrina's coma, she overhears Vera telling Arden that she might be pregnant "again". Arden insists that "it was only one time", but it's still possible that he was the father of the child that she was claiming was Lamar Rensdale's.
    • Damien tries to claim this regarding Vera, but the rest of the family takes it for granted that he's lying.
  • Marital Rape License: Arden
  • Meaningful Name: Arden, presumably based off of "ardent", which means "enthusiastic or passionate", meant to symbolize his feelings about Audrina.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Vera is justifiably incensed about her father ignoring her in favor of Audrina, but takes it out on Audrina, setting her up to be raped and making her life hell otherwise.
  • My Beloved Smother: Damian in a rare male example of the trope. He refuses to let Audrina leave the house, much less the property. He dictates her clothing and behavior to his own specifications for female modesty, to the point that she mostly wears the style of dresses and petticoats that were appropriate when he was growing up. When finally forced to send her to school, he gives her strict orders to always sit with her knees together and to never meet eyes with a boy. Finally, and probably most importantly, he manipulates his daughter into being pathologically afraid of everything outside the house, so that she only trusts in him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Damien's decision to brainwash Audrina and never give her a chance to deal with her trauma normally arguably ends up making her even worse off than she would have been.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Damian does his damndest to keep Audrina this way by essentially confining her to the house and keeping her emotionally and financially dependent upon him. When she manages to elope behind his back, he simply takes up where he left off when she returns—and starts to work on putting her new husband in the same position.
    • Arden may be guilty of this too. It's implied that he picks out her clothes for her, choosing white dresses so that she will look more childlike.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: Poor Audrina tries to invoke this with her father once she regains consciousness, but she's too weak.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Lucky is in the habit of taking a large amount of bourbon in her tea. Subsequently, when Lucky dies in childbirth and Sylvia is born severely disabled, Audrina is convinced that this is partly because of Lucky's drinking.
  • Only Sane Man: Ellsbeth Whitefern. She's the only person who objected to the Gaslighting Audrina goes through and only went along when Damian threatened to turn her and her daughter onto the streets without a penny.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Arden is played by British actor William Moseley in the movie and struggles with his accent at several points, particularly the graveyard confrontation scene (a typical "emotional" scene where even the most skilled actors have trouble maintaining a fake accent).
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Between the horror stories she's been told about her older sister and the fact that the gang-rape really happened to HER, Audrina has this big time.
  • Prematurely Marked Grave: Every Sunday, Audrina is taken to visit the First Audrina's grave and is chilled to see a gravestone with her own name on it. In an example of particularly callous if unintended cruelty, Damien often says that when he dies, he wants to be buried between the two women he loved most: his first Audrina and his wife Lucky, leaving Audrina to wonder where she'll be. The grave, of course, is empty; Damien had the marker erected to further the illusion that there was a First Audrina.
  • Police Are Useless: In a rare example of the police actually being called to investigate a crime in a V.C. Andrews novel, they somehow determine that a double-amputee with no legs tripped on the stairway carpet and fell to her death.
  • Please Wake Up: Arden visits Audrina daily to move her arms and legs and implore this of her. Audrina doubts his sincerity, given that despite all his entreaties, he still goes to bed with Vera every night. It's more genuine in the movie, where he isn't sleeping with her.
  • Psychic Link: Audrina shares one with Sylvia.
  • Rape as Drama: Though it supposedly takes place well before the events of the book, the rape of the First Audrina is described in detail three times. The first time we are treated to listening to the rape of a nine-year-old girl described by another nine-year-old girl.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: A theme of the entire book.
    • Vera is set up to be a horrible person throughout the entire story, but her rage is portrayed as justified and even sympathetic due to her long-running status as The Unfavorite. But the moment we learn that she set up Audrina to be gang-raped, all of that goes right out the window.
  • Redemption Equals Death: With her dying breath, Vera whispers to the police that her fall downstairs was an accident, thus freeing the rest of the family from the suspicion of murder. For someone who's spent her entire life (and the entire book) seeking revenge, this is a pretty big deal: she could have easily used that same breath to say one of them pushed her, then died and been beyond reprisal.
  • Redhead In Green: When Vera makes her surprise return to Whitefern, she's vividly described in a green suit, matching shoes, and an amazing hat composed of many shades of green feathers. May also double as an Evil Makeover, considering she's there for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge (except that she was already pretty evil; she just didn't have the wardrobe for it).
  • Rejection Affection: Audrina yanks her arm away from Arden the minute she comes out of the coma. While she's in the hospital, he tries to visit her daily, only to be turned away each time. Despite this, when she comes home, he immediately runs up to the car and tries to hug and kiss her and not until she screams at him not to touch her does it finally dawn on him that she wants nothing to do with him.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Inverted. In the movie, with the exception of one kiss that he instantly regrets, Arden resists Vera's attempts at seducing him.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Damian encourages Audrina to become her dead sister (although this turns out not to be a straight instance), and later, her dead mother (though thankfully not sexually).
    • Sylvia is a Replacement Goldfish as well for not only Audrina (who says that Sylvia has "the gift") but for the shrewish Ellsbeth as well.
    • Vera tries to make herself this to Audrina, with her frequent, almost desperate attempts to make Damian love her—she even tells Audrina at one point that she is the First Audrina. Audrina herself notices that "It's as if she'd sell her soul to the devil to be me". Her seducing Lamar and later Arden demonstrates this also. At the end, when she leaves Audrina to die, she's wearing her clothes, perfume, and makeup.
  • Settle for Sibling: Both Arden and Lamar Rensdale sleep with Vera because they can't have Audrina. Damian refused to marry Ellsbeth after she got pregnant with Vera, and married Lucky, whom he'd wanted all along; but after Lucky dies in childbirth he resumes his affair with Ellsbeth now that her sister's gone.
  • Sex Is Violence: Audrina and Arden get into a huge verbal and physical altercation, with her enraged at his infidelity and for perpetuating the lie that some non-existent older sister was gang-raped and murdered rather than HER. Somewhere along the line, the fight turns into, as she described it, "the greatest passion of my life, brutal passion that devoured and demanded."
  • Sexless Marriage: Arden and Audrina in the TV movie.
  • Shower of Angst: Bath, in this case. After the rape, The First Audrina's mother takes a scrub brush to the girl's skin and scrapes it raw.
  • Shrine to the Fallen, Western Edition: The First Audrina's playroom is kept exactly as it was the day she died.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Lucky and Ellsbeth, Audrina and Vera, Audrina and Sylvia.
  • Significant Birth Date: In universe, much is made that the second Audrina's birthday, September 9th, is the same as her late sister's birthday/death day. It's also the 9th day of the 9th month (see Arc Number above). It also means her astrological sign is Virgo, the Virgin/Maiden, in a book where the concept of virginity, purity, and innocence is a major theme.
  • Spoiled Brat: Lucky.
  • Southern Gothic : Dysfunctional Family? Check. Creepy Child? Check. The South? Check. A mix of horror and romance? Got it. Unreliable Narrator? Yep. Old Maid? Aunt Ellsbeth and, to a lesser extent, Billie. Decaying mansion/old money? Check. And probably several other examples of the genre.
  • Staircase Tumble: And how. Ellsbeth, Billie, Audrina, and Vera all fall down the stairs (or more accurately, Vera shoved the first three), with only Audrina surviving.
    • In Whitefern we continue the theme: Damien has a close call on the same set of stairs, while Arden eventually dies after falling down them. (He isn't pushed, but both Audrina and Sylvia, who are within easy grasp of saving him, conveniently fail to do so.)
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: One of Vera's final taunts to Audrina as she leaves her to die is to reveal that she's been drugging Audrina's tea to keep her in an apathetic state (and presumably allow her to move in on Arden). In the movie, she drugs Arden's tea so she can seduce him.
  • Technicolor Eyes:
    • The women of the Adare family have violet eyes to go with their "chameleon hair".
    • Billie is described as having eyes "like Elizabeth Taylor," who also famously had violet eyes.
    • The first thing Audrina notices about Arden is that his eyes are amber-colored.
    • Sylvia's eyes are described as "aqua."
  • There Are No Therapists: Zig-Zagged. The First Audrina is taken to a psychologist after her rape and suicide attempts, but her father finds the electroconvulsive treatment so traumatic that he takes her home and resolves to brainwash her.
    • Sylvia likewise spends the first two years of her life in a care facility for the mentally disabled, only to be taken home by Damian. Part of his reasoning is that she would be better cared for at home. After all, it worked so well the first time...
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Audrina learns that she is the First and Best Audrina and that the rape happened to her. The entire family conspired to keep this from her until adulthood, and even then her father only revealed it when directly confronted.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Ellsbeth to Audrina after Lucky dies.
    • Arden in the movie. While he participates in the ruse along with everyone else, it's shown that he actually tried to stop Audrina's rape, rather than running like a coward, before being overpowered by her assailants, doesn't force himself on Audrina on their wedding night and in fact patiently waits until she's ready to have sex, and finally, although clearly tempted, with the exception of one kiss that he immediately regrets, ultimately resists Vera's attempts at seducing him rather than succumbing immediately.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Aside from the relentless brainwashing she's been put through, this is probably the other reason Audrina doesn't realize that the rape happened to her rather than a non-existent older sister.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Sylvia. Vera was also an oversexed child as well.
  • Unbalanced by Rival's Kid: A likely explanation for why Ellsbeth is so icy to Audrina.
  • The Unfavorite: Audrina to the First Audrina, and Vera to both. Ellsbeth was the unfavorite to Lucky as well.
  • The Vamp: Vera, to the point that it becomes somewhat hilarious. To adequately sum up Vera would require employing most of the Sex Tropes list. What follows are some of her highlights:
    • Seducing her seven-year-old cousin's twelve-year-old boyfriend (when she herself is only about fifteen).
    • Seducing her twentysomething-year-old piano teacher while imitating said seven-year-old cousin.
    • Straddling said cousin's torso while describing said seduction, in detail, to said cousin, while naked from the waist up.
    • Flashing her vag at said cousin in a completely separate encounter.
    • Going out of her way to find reasons to flash her boobs (including claiming that a bee stung the underside of her breast and that she needs help "pulling the stinger out").
    • Public masturbation (again, in front of the cousin)
  • Villain's Dying Grace: The cops are suspicious of what is now the fourth Staircase Tumble at Whitefern and are interrogating Damian and Arden when the dying Vera manages to whisper that she fell on her own, thus exempting them from responsibility.
  • Villain Has a Point: Vera's a loathsome person, but she's absolutely right in everything she blasts Damian for at the end of the book. She also says that Arden is "weak" and given what we've seen of his behavior, she's right about that too.
  • Virgin in a White Dress: Audrina often wears white to highlight her childlike innocence. Invoked by Arden who chooses her clothes for her after they're married and buys her white dresses.
  • Wham Line: For those who haven't figured it out yet:
    "Vera is not my First Audrina, YOU are."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pretty much everyone but particularly Damian and Arden and even Audrina in the final paragraph of the book.
    • The entire family's efforts to "protect" Audrina are a combination of drugs, brainwashing, electroconvulsive therapy, and decades of convincing her that she is mentally ill.
    • Damian's motivation is revealed to be his attempt to keep Audrina forever as his caretaker.
    • Arden not only cheats on Audrina while she's in a coma, he is later revealed to have run away while the First Audrina was being gangraped as well as perpetuating the lie that there was a First Audrina.
    • Audrina is on the verge of leaving Damian and Arden forever and starting her own life when she is overcome with guilt and goes back in the very last paragraph. Mind that the guilt isn't so much what Arden or Damian will do without her, but not wanting to Sylvia.
  • Yandere: Vera Whitefern set up Audrina to be raped and later tried to kill Audrina while she was in a coma.