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Literature / Seeds of Yesterday

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The final, haunting novel in the extraordinary story that has enthralled millions!note 

There was always a catch in every lure offered, whispered my ever-suspicious mind. I felt the lure now, reaching out to ensnare us again. Had Chris and I traveled such a long road only to come full circle, back to the beginning?

Seeds of Yesterday by V. C. Andrews, published in 1984, is the fourth and final booknote  in the Dollanganger Series. The book follows the continuing story of Cathy Dollanganger Sheffield, her husband/brother Chris, and her children.

Bart, now a successful businessman in his own right, stands posed to inherit the vast Foxworth fortune on his 25th birthday. His first act is to rebuild Foxworth Hall in all its glory, and Cathy and Chris (now in their mid-fifties), their teenage daughter Cindy, Cathy's son Jory, and Jory's beautiful bride Melodie, arrive for an extended visit to the newly restored mansion. The house brings back painful memories for Cathy and Chris, who vow to stay only until Bart's birthday, after which they will spend the rest of their lives in Hawaii, basking in the sun that was once denied to them.

But after a tragic accident, they find themselves staying on and on as jealousy, greed, and sibling rivalry threaten to tear the family apart. It seems that Foxworth Hall is bent on snaring them in its sinister web until they are again trapped in its walls, just as they were as children, until Cathy realizes that the only way to end the cycle is by healing her children's hearts and bringing love and light into Foxworth Hall again.

For the 2015 Lifetime Movie of the Week see Seeds of Yesterday.

Tropes associated with the novel include:

  • Adoption Diss: Bart frequently to his adopted sister Cindy.
  • Always Second Best: Bart feels outshone by Jory, even when Jory is paralyzed.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end of the novel, Toni and Jory are married and Toni is pregnant.
  • Background Halo: Melodie sports one at one point
    She half turned toward Jory, with the sun behind her turning her honey-blond hair fiery red near her scalp, making a golden haze of the outer strands, so it almost seemed she was sporting a golden halo. Madonna pure she stood in profile as if poised for flight. The grace of her long neck, the gentle slope of her small nose, the fullness of her pouting rosy lips gave her the kind of ethereal beauty that had helped to make her one of the most beautiful and admired ballerinas in America.
  • Back from the Dead: Joel. He was thought to have died in a skiing accident, but has been living in an Italian monastery. However...
  • The Beautiful Elite: The whole clan is stunningly beautiful (even Bart grew out of his childhood awkwardness). The trope is, of course, played with, because of the decadence and dysfunction within the family.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: In a platonic version, Bart realizes only after Chris dies that he loved and valued him—and that he was, in fact, his father in every meaningful way.
  • Berserk Button: Chris tries really hard to be civil with Bart, but when Bart insults Cathy, Chris slaps him across the face.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jory and Bart to Melodie and later Toni.
    • Betty and Veronica Switch: Blonde, blue-eyed Melodie looks like the "Betty", but she physically and emotionally abandons Jory after his accident and cheats on him with Bart before finally leaving him and their children for good. Brunette Toni looks like the "Veronica", but she falls in love with and marries Jory despite his paralysis.
  • Big Brother Bully: Bart to Cindy. He's constantly verbally abusive to her and physically abusive on several occasions.
  • Big Brother Worship:
    • Averted Bart and Jory, the former heavily resenting the latter for being more favored by their mother.
    • Cindy did look up to Bart a lot when she was young but he refused to accept her for a long, long time and she also ends up resenting him.
    • Cindy does quite admire Jory.
  • Big Fancy House: The family moves into a replica of Foxworth Hall, which burned down at the end of Petals on the Wind.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Toni and Jory are married and expecting their first child together. Jory is embarking on a new career as a painter. Bart has found his niche as a preacher and he and Cindy have reconciled, he also makes peace with his mother. But he has yet to find true love and probably never will because of his expectations, and Cathy dies unwilling to go on without Chris, feeling that it's time to go and that she isn't needed anymore.
  • Blatant Lies: Bart stops ogling Cindy long enough to tell her "You're Not My Type." Sure, Bart, sure. Bart's type is "women like his mother" and multiple people (from Chris to Cathy to Bart himself) comment that Cindy is quite a bit like Cathy in her youth.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Chris: I intend to tell you all the truth.
    Jory: Is my spine broken?
    Chris: Yes.
    Jory: Are my legs paralyzed?
    Chris: Yes.
    Jory: Will I dance again?
    Chris: No.
  • Book Ends
    • The series began and ended with Chris and Cathy coming to Foxworth Hall. At the end of the book, when Cathy realizes that her time has come, she goes to the attic. The epilogue reveals that she's been decorating it with paper flowers, as she did when imprisoned as a child.
    • The family also has to come to Foxworth Hall due to Chris Sr.'s death in a car accident. At the end of this book, Chris Jr. is the one killed in the same manner as the family is preparing to leave for good.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: Chris ties his tie, and then promptly asks Cathy to redo it for him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Cindy says this, almost verbatim, when she blesses out Joel before leaving Foxworth Hall forever:
    Cindy: [You're] glad I'm leaving—but before I go, I'm telling you off, too, old man!
  • Career-Ending Injury: Jory is paralyzed from the waist down after a stage prop which may have been sabotaged collapses.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Jory and Melodie have been sweethearts since junior high, and the book deconstructs, rather realistically, the danger of such a relationship. One of Melodie's reasons for eventually abandoning Jory is that she's never known life without him and doesn't even know who she is outside of their relationship.
  • Covers Always Lie: If you saw the cover, you'd probably think that the blonde woman in the "keyhole" image (presumably Melodie) was the main character. Cathy, the actual narrator of the book, appears in the stepback as the old woman.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Joel, who may or may not be Corinne's brother, is always whispering in Bart's ear.
  • Dead Guy Junior: At the end of the book, Jory tells Cathy that he and Toni are planning to name their not-yet born baby after the late Chris or after Cathy (who dies before the baby is even born anyway).
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Within the narrative Joel was supposed to have died in the skiing accident. The Joel we meet in this book does seem to have some knowledge but at the same time it is implied that either being in a monastery has changed him more or perhaps he is not who he claims to be.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Melodie tells her husband she's left him via a letter.
  • Death by Despair: Apparently the reason for Cathy's death at the end of the novel after Chris is killed in a car accident.
  • Derailing Love Interests:
    • Melodie goes from a loving, devoted wife to Jory to detached and adulterous following his accident.
    • Bart abruptly goes from a wonderful boyfriend to Toni to verbally abusive and cruel.
  • Dirty Coward: It's implied Bart had sabotaged the ballet performance that left Jory paralyzed. Though it was more than likely Joel who wet the sandbag that hit Jory.
  • Empathic Environment: As Cathy and Chris approach the front door of the newly restored Foxworth Hall, she takes a moment to admire how beautiful the house looks in the sun compared to its dark history. No sooner does she have this thought than the sky goes dark, and a thunderstorm so strong its winds flatten the flowerbeds rolls out of nowhere.
    • Inverted when Cathy notes how beautiful the weather is the day of Chris' funeral.
    A day for fishing, for swimming, for playing tennis and having fun, and they put my Christopher in the ground.
  • Everyone Can See It: Cindy takes one look at Toni and Jory and knows. The implication is less that Jory and Toni are obvious, and more that Cindy is astute.
    Cindy: I thought after that terrible scene Bart made in New York that you'd see him for what he really is and leave this place. [Cindy looks at Jory, then back to Toni] Well, now you've got good sense! I can read your eyes, Toni, Jory. You're in love! Hooray!
  • Evil Old Folks: Joel, in spades.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: Wife, rather. Melodie pulls away from Joey almost as soon as he's paralyzed. After she finally leaves him, Cathy realizes that the marriage wouldn't have lasted even if Joey hadn't been injured, due to her inability to cope with life's struggles.
  • A Family Affair: First Bart has an affair with his brother's wife Melodie. Then Jory gets together with Bart's ex, Toni.
  • Flirtatious Smack on the Ass: Chris and Cathy early in the first chapter, to show they're still going strong as a couple.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Cathy hopes Jory and Toni will get together, even before they do. Jory has been brutally dumped by his wife, and is in need of a Second Love, but doesn't have that many chances to meet ladies. As for the fact that she's his nurse, the book never comments on how this is inappropriate.
  • Foreshadowing:
    Chris: You're the one who keeps me going. Without you I wouldn't know how to continue on—but without me, you'd go on and probably marry again.
    Cathy: I've had three husbands and one lover, and that's enough for any one woman. If I am so unlucky as to lose you first, I'll sit day by day before a window, staring out and remembering how it used to be with you.
  • Friend to All Children: Bart has a soft spot for his niece and nephew.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Jory has grown up to be a ballet dancer like his mother and his late father. Also like his father Jory is paralyzed in an accident, ending his dance career. He also marries a blonde woman who has blonde twins, who then leaves her kids behind and moves away.
    • Chris is killed in a sudden car accident, exactly like his father.
    • Bart's complicated love/hate issues with his mother echo that of his grandfather Malcolm and his uncle Chris.
    • Cindy takes pages on sexuality from her adopted mother Cathy. Her mother describes her as eager for love, but not mature enough to avoid decisions that will come back to bite her.
    • Even Foxworth Hall gets this, being a replica of the house that burned down at the end of Petals on the Wind.
  • The Grand Hunt: Discussed, although it never actually happens.
    Jory: Bart's planning horse stables, so he can have fox hunts like Malcolm used to have. Perhaps one day we may even want to join in that kind of sport.
    Melodie: Sport? I don't call a pack of hungry hounds chasing a cute little harmless fox a true sport—it's barbaric, that's what!
  • Good Bad Girl: Cindy enjoys sex, has had multiple partners, and likes to wear clothes that show off her figure, but her attitude toward her own sexuality is much healthier than that of most of her family members (if only because she isn't sleeping with any of them). Ironically, Cindy is also adopted, and is thus the only person in the family who could sleep with a family member and still not technically commit incest.
  • Happily Married: Cathy and Chris. They aren't portrayed as having no issues, but they're a happy and stable couple despite this.
  • Heel Realization: Bart at Chris' funeral.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Bart and Chris refuse to believe anything negative Cathy tells them about Joel, Bart in particular essentially believing that he's a saint providing him with spiritual guidance, when he's in fact making him worse.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Cathy and Chris—who have engaged in Brother–Sister Incest for years—disapprove of Bart and Melodie, for having an affair after Jory's accident. It's not exactly analogous, though, since they're Happily Married and monogamous.
      Bart: What I do with Melodie is far less sinful than what you do with Chris.
    • Bart to Cindy. Bart cavorts with his brother's wife, other married women, and prostitutes, yet also condemns Cindy for sleeping around, to the point of nearly-constant verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. The most glaring example being when he beats up her boyfriend after catching them having sex, declaring "No sinning under my roof!"
  • I Am What I Am: Cathy has been Happily Married to Chris for two decades at this point, but she still has some shame around it. When Joel condemns her, though, pushes her through that to declare that she is not ashamed.
    Joel: [coldly] Who warped you into what you are?
    Cathy [sceaming in rage] Your parents. Your sister, Joel, locked us up and kept us there, living on promises year after year, while Chris and I were turning into adults with no one to love but each other. So place the blame on those who made Chris and I what we are. But before you say one more word, I'm having my say. I love Chris, and I am not ashamed.
  • Incest Subtext: But of course!
    • Cindy and her brothers. When Cindy first returns home, she takes one look at her brothers playing tennis and declares wow they're hot. Most of her subtext is with Bart, but she certainly remarks on Jory as well. Melodie points out Cindy Has a Type:
      Melodie: It seems Cindy likes dark-haired men who look like her brothers.
      • Cindy and Jory. In a case of invokedIncestuous Casting, Jory and Cindy dance Samson and Delilah together. It's a very sexualized role, and Cathy says they do great and really sell it. After his accident, Cindy tries to cheer Jory up by assuring him that—even paralyzed—she would still want him if he wasn't her brother.
      • Cindy and Bart, where to start...
        Bart: I see that kid, Cindy, and realize she must look the way you used to, and a little bit of me knows why Chris fell in love with you. That makes me hate her worse. She teases me, you know. Cindy would like to creep under my skin and make me do something as wicked as what Chris does with you. She strolls around in her bedroom wearing nothing but bikini bra and bottoms. And she knows I check her rooms before I retire. Tonight she had on a nightgown so transparent I could see right through it. She just stood there and let me stare.
    • Bart and his mother. He alternates between adoring and wants to impress Cathy, and hating and resenting her. It sometimes skirts into incestuous territory.
    • Cathy herself makes some uncomfortable observations about how hot her children are. It's one thing for a mom to acknowledge that her children have grown up to be good-looking, but Cathy goes into specifics about Bart's slim hips and long, muscular legs, Jory's well-molded dancer's butt, and Cindy's ripe young curves and jiggling breasts.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Bart and Joel's condemnation of Cathy and Chris' incestuous relationship.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bart (seemingly) arranged Jory's career-ending accident, had an affair with Jory's wife, abused and slut-shamed his adopted sister, considers most women whores (including his own mother), and tried to destroy his brother's small children by instilling in them his own sick religious fanaticism. (In the movie the latter is replaced with trying to drown his kids and threatened to kill his own mother.) With no other choice left, everyone decides to do the one thing he's most afraid of: abandon him. Only Chris' accident prevents them from carrying out their plan.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Cathy realizes that Bart will never find the "perfect" woman that he's looking for, because he's really looking for a replica of her. Even worse, at the same time, Bart also projects all his resentments of Cathy onto other women, destroying his chances for love.
    Toni: He loves you, Cathy… loves you almost to the point of obsession. I don't even think he realizes how much he adores you. He thinks he hates you because of your relationship with your brother. [...] Because Bart feels he should hate you for that, he tries to. Still, something in you, in him, keeps him from ever really deciding which emotion will reign, love or hatred. He wants a woman like you, only he doesn't know that. [pause] Cathy, I told him what I honestly thought, that he was looking for a woman like his mother. He went pale, almost dead white. He appeared totally shocked at the idea.
    Cathy: Toni, you have to be wrong. Bart doesn't want a woman like me, but the exact opposite.
    Toni: Cathy, I've studied psychology, and Bart does protest too much about you, so while I listened, I tried to keep an open mind.
  • Likes Older Men: Cindy considers any man too young for her if he isn't at least 2 years her senior.
  • Longing Look:
    • Cathy is worried to notice Bart repeatedly doing this to Melodie.
    • She observes her son Jory doing this to the hired nurse Toni.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex:
    • Bart's attitude towards women, though it's mostly as the latter category. On the rare occasions that he does view a woman as a "Madonna", she inevitably says or does something that makes him view her as a "whore". Case in point: he adores Melodie, but condemns her after they begin their affair, now viewing her as a tramp because of her infidelity.
    • As Cindy comes into her sexuality, her mother tries to encourage her to take her time—and at the very least, to not have sex under their roof. It comes from a place of love and caring—Cathy wants her daughter to be more careful and measured with her sexuality than she was at that age. But she doesn't articulate this particularly well.
      Cindy: Momma! You make me feel that being a woman is a trap!
  • Mama Bear: Shut the hell up about Cathy's kids and grandkids, Joel.
    Cathy You think I have given nothing of importance to the world, yet there stands your great-nephew, holding my grandchildren, and on the terrace is another of my sons. And they are not contaminated! They are not Devil's issue, or Devil's spawn—and don't you ever, as long as you live, dare to say those words again to anyone who belongs to me, or I will see that you are put away and declared senile!
  • Married to the Job: Chris gets a job he loves, and he and Cathy end up doing the commuter marriage thing. Downplayed Trope, in that Chris is very clear at multiple points that he would put the job aside for the sake of his family if they wanted him too. Cathy misses him, but wants him to be happy and sees how much he loves his job, and so tells him to go ahead.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Cindy in the red dress she wears to Bart's 25th birthday.
    Cathy: Cindy, go back to your room and put on that blue dress you promised to wear. You're sixteen, not thirty.
    Cindy: Oh, Momma, don't be so stodgy. Times have changed. Nudity is in, Momma, IN. And compared to some I could have chosen, this dress is modest, absolutely prudish.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Set in the 90s, written in the 80s. There is a particular attention paid to the electric gadgets in the restored house.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Joel at one point tells Cathy that there are times she reminds him of his mother, the dreaded "Grandmother" of the first book. Cathy is floored at the idea that she "could be anything like that hard old woman."
  • Older Than They Look: Joel notes that Cathy looks much younger than her 50-something years. Joel being Joel, he suggests it's due to some pact with the devil. She herself attributes it to stretching and exercise.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: No one comes to Bart's Christmas party. Justified Trope, because the invitations were not sent and the RSVPs were falsified.
  • On the Rebound: Melodie does this after leaving Jory
    Cindy: I met Melodie in New York. She cried a lot when I told her how pretty the twins are… but the day after your divorce went through, she married another dancer. Jory, he looks a lot like you, only not nearly as handsome, and he doesn't dance as well, either.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Cathy doesn't want Cindy to behave the same way she behaved when she was Cindy's age. Justified Trope. Cathy herself had lots of ill-advised sex in her youth, which—now that she's in her 50s—she looks back upon with different eyes. Cathy warns her daughter to take it slow with sex out of a desire to protect her, and not see Cindy make the same mistakes she herself did. But Cathy doesn't articulate it very well at first, so it often comes across as surface-level slut shaming.
    Cathy: Your father and I want only the best for you. We don't want you to be hurt. Let this experience with Lance teach you a lesson, and hold back until you are eighteen and able to reason with… more maturity. Hold out longer than that if you can. When you grab at sex too soon, it has a way of biting back and giving you exactly what you don't want. It did that to me, and I've heard you say a thousand times you want a stage and film career, and husbands and babies have to wait. Many a girl has been thwarted by a baby that started because of uncontrollable passion. Be careful before committing yourself to anyone. Don't fall in love too soon, for when you do you make yourself vulnerable to so many unforeseen events. Give romance a try without sex, Cindy, and save yourself all the pain of giving too much too soon.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Boy, do they ever. Cathy more or less walks in on Bart and Melodie—she sees her walking out of Bart's room wearing a negligee, making it pretty obvious what's happened. Chris also admits to having seen the two making out. Later, Cathy and Bart walk in on Cindy and one of her boyfriends going at it.
  • The Peeping Tom: Bart mentions that he checks Cindy's room before he goes to bed. Ostensibly to make sure she hasn't snuck out, but for all his complaining about her skimpy nightgowns, there's the implication that he likes seeing her like that and that this is the reason he visits.
  • Perma-Stubble: Bart, to contribute to his Tall, Dark, and Sinister good looks.
    He hadn't shaved, and that made him look twice as virile, although not as fresh.
  • Religious Stereotype: Bart Winslow and Joel Foxworth. The former eventually breaks out of the latter's dark influence and becomes a preacher.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Bart eventually realizes that Melodie would never have given him a second look had Jory not been paralyzed, meaning he was only this to her.
    • Jory fears he's this to Toni in regards to Bart, but she assures him otherwise.
    • From the description that Cindy gives of him, Melodie's new husband is this to her for Joey.
  • RevengeSVP: Inverted. Bart gets back at those who supposedly snubbed him by not attending his Christmas party—after responding that they would—by destroying them professionally, financially and/or personally.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Is Joel who he says he is? Evidence is offered to both sides but nothing is ever decided!
    • Who was playing those nasty tricks on Jory? Was it Bart or Joel?
    • Similarly which one of them was responsible for Jory's Career-Ending Injury? It’s briefly investigated and Cathy and Chris both have their own opinions, but again the answer is never really given.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Bart, after no one comes to his party, even though that was because someone sabotaged the invites.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    Finally Toni came to relieve me of the too inquisitive children. "Sorry, Cathy, but Jory wanted me to model for him in the garden today before all the roses die…"
    Before all the roses die? I stared at her, then shook my head, thinking I was reading too much into ordinary words. The roses would live until a heavy freeze came, and winter was months away.
  • Sapient House:
    Melodie: Cathy, why is this house different […] from all other houses. Don't you feel it? Can't you hear it? Do you sense this house is breathing, like it has a life of its own? This house wants to use the people inside as a way to keep it living on forever. It's like a vampire, sucking our lifeblood from all of us. I wish it hadn't been restored. It's not a new house. It's been here for centuries. Only the wallpaper and the paint and the furniture are new, but those stairs in the foyer I never climb up or descend without seeing the ghosts of others…
  • The Scapegoat: Everything is always Chris's fault, as far as Bart is concerned.
    Bart: You must have talked her into having that codicil added—and instructed the attorneys not to read it aloud the day I heard it first, when I was ten. It's your fault I haven't come into everything due me!
  • Seduction as One-Upmanship: Bart seduces his sister-in-law Melodie following his brother Jory's paralyzing accident, fed up after years of being The Unfavorite and now seizing the opportunity to provide the sexual satisfaction that Jory can't. The cruel irony of this is that Jory himself has never done anything to hurt Bart or warrant this treatment. Cathy also constantly hears rumors about Bart having affairs with married women, specifically, the wives of prominent men who supposedly snubbed his Christmas party invitation, obviously as a means of revenge for doing so.
  • Settle for Sibling: Bart realizes this about his relationship with Melodie. Later, he accuses Toni of this when she reveals that she and Jory are engaged, but she sets him straight and tells him that if anything, she's trading up.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Cindy is, and it gives Bart a moment's pause.
    Bart stared at her as if he'd never seen her before. It had been two years, and at fourteen, Cindy had still worn her hair in pigtails, or ponytails, and she had braces on her teeth. Now her gleaming white teeth were perfectly spaced. Her hair was a loose-flowing mass of molten gold. There wasn't a girl in the skin magazines that had a better figure or more perfect complexion, and only too unhappily I realized that Cindy knew she looked sensational in her tight blue and white tennis dress.
  • Show Within a Show: Jory dances in a version of Samson and Delilah.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Cathy is going off on Bart yet again about his affair with Melodie when he angrily informs her, "What I do with her is far less sinful than what you do with Chris." Cathy winces, but admits that he's right.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Cathy is stunned to hear Bart's singing voice.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Bart with both his siblings.
    • When Cathy notices the lustful way Bart is eyeing Melodie. "When had Bart ever not wanted what belonged to Jory?"
    • Cindy and Bart
      Jory: [in an undertone to Toni] It doesn't mean anything. I believe Bart and Cindy enjoy tormenting one another.
  • Slut-Shaming: Bart to Toni. After several months of bliss and serious discussion of marriage, suddenly he's calling her dress trashy and blasting her for dancing with another man, when only moments earlier, he was complimenting how pretty she looked and had given her permission to dance with someone else. He’s deliberately ruining things and everyone knows it.
  • Spoiled Brat: Cindy can come off as entitled and petty. Considering how she was heavily spoiled by Cathy, Chris, and Jory, it's not a surprise. She grows out of it eventually and even forgives Bart for his mistreatment of her.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Joel to John from the previous novel. An evil, creepy old man who basically brainwashes Bart into his way of thinking, namely that Sex Is Evil and takes a sick, self-righteous pleasure in others misfortunes and misery. Case in point, he preaches that God punished Jory for "glorifying his body" (being a ballet dancer) by paralyzing him and making his wife leave him.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: A heartbreaking scene when Cathy is in the hospital with her son Jory, desperately trying to convince him to find the will to live.
    • I Have a Family: Inverted Trope—Cathy argues that Jory owes it to his wife and unborn child to live, even if he'd rather not right now. Julian committed suicide in a very similar situation when Cathy was pregnant. To Cathy, this is particularly Close to Home—Julian committed suicide even after Cathy pleaded with him and told him she was pregnant. Would Jory really do the same?
      Cathy: You think about how you felt when you heard what your father did and consider the effects your death will have on your child. Think long and hard about that before you continue with what you've got your mind set on. Think about yourself, and how much you wanted to have your own natural father. Jory, don't be like your father and leave a fatherless child behind you. Don't destroy us, when you destroy yourself!
  • Theme Twin Naming: Darren and Deirdre Marquet.
    Jory: Once there were C-named twins. We're following precedent a little, but traveling further through the alphabet.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Extremely downplayed. At the very end, Toni is pregnant, meaning Jory can have sex again—his dick is not paralyzed! Which is something that, at the time of the accident, Chris said was probably would become possible with enough healing and physical therapy.
  • Together in Death: Aside from being unwilling to go on without Chris, Cathy's final words in a letter left to Bart indicates that she's ready to be reunited with everyone from her family who has already passed away—Cory, Carrie, their father.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Joel to Bart. Cindy mentions that one evening, she, Bart, and his girlfriend Toni were having a lovely evening out until an old man who resembled Joel appeared and Bart instantly became cruel and nasty to both of them. When she leaves Foxworth Hall for good, she blasts Joel and outright tells him that she hates him for what he's done to Bart—"He could have been normal without you!"—and tells Cathy that she's genuinely afraid of the two of them when they're together, yet still sincerely believes that Bart might be okay if he can be separated from Joel.
  • The Unfavorite: Bart has still never escaped this, constantly being upstaged by his brother and adopted sister. Downplayed, as it is confirmed in (both this book and the previous) that his parents do truly love him and want the best for him. But he has a closer feel to their grandfather (Malcolm) that he is the more dangerous one, whereas Jory is closer similarly to Chris. Cathy does acknowledge that she did favor Jory and Cindy more, but it was more unintentional on her part, because his dark personality and the fact that he was clumsy and not confident as a child, though she did say that she felt pity for him and expressed her sorrow whenever he would try to deliberately hurt himself for failing, but she always did love him just as much as she did Jory and later Cindy. (Cathy does point out in the epilogue that she loves all her three children equally.) Bart was just the one less easier to be with; it's not as if his family wanted to reject him, they just did not know how to deal with him. In many ways this is a brutal but honest look at the way mental illness can impact a whole family.
  • The Unreveal: In the book, Jory confides in Cathy that someone is playing nasty pranks on him—needles in his shoes or on his seat, salt in his sugar bowl, etc. It's heavily implied that it's either Bart or Joel, but it's never established who, much like we never learn who's responsible for Jory's injury.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Jory and Melodie's twins, the day after Christmas, no less.
  • When I Was Your Age...: In conversations with both Bart and Cindy, Cathy says she's sad they're experiencing modern hook-up culture, as opposed to how it was when she was young. In her day they had torrid affairs, but at least they meant something.
    Cathy: I suspect you are a product of your times. I almost pity your generation for missing out on the most beautiful aspect of falling in love. Where is the romance in your kind of taking, Bart?
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Cathy constantly slips up and calls the twins Cory and Carrie, much to everyone's irritation.
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • Cindy reminds Chris of Cathy in her youth.
      Chris: She looks like you used to. Except you had a more ethereal quality, as if your two feet were never firmly on the ground, and never would you stop believing miracles could happen.
    • Darren and Deirdre remind Cathy of Carrie and Cory. Chris specifically tells her not to conceptualize it that way.
      Cathy: The same twins. Doppelgangers.
      Chris: [firmly] No, Cathy, not doppelgangers. These are not the same twins born again. Remember that. Carrie came first then; this time the boy was first. This is not an unlucky, doomed set of children. These two will have only the best.
  • You're Not My Father: Bart pulls this frequently and aggressively with his Chris. Bart's biological father died before he was born, and Chris has been his stepfather since he was a toddler. He is the man who raised him, and the only father Bart can remember. Chris, for his part, unquestionably considers Bart his son, loves him, and holds out hope their relationship will improve someday.
    • Calling Parents by Their Name: He refuses to call Chris his father, calling him simply by his name, "Uncle Chris," or nothing, not speaking to him at all.