Review: If There Be Thorns by V.C. Andrews

226706Release Date: June 18th 1981

Publisher: Pocket Books

Series: Dollanganger #3

Genre: Mature Adult Suspense/Romance/Mystery/Horror

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

 Out of the ashes of evil Chris and Cathy made such a loving home for their splendid children…

Fourteen-year-old Jory was so handsome, so gentle. And Bart had such a dazzling imagination for a nine year old.

Then the lights came on in the abandoned house next door. Soon the Old Lady in Black was there, watching their home with prying eyes, guarded by her strange old butler. Soon the shrouded woman had Bart over for cookies and ice cream and asked him to call her “Grandmother.”

And soon Bart’s transformation began…

A transformation that sprang from “the book of secrets” the gaunt old butler had given him… a transformation fed by the hint of terrible things about his mother and father… a transformation that led him into shocking acts of violence, self-destruction and perversity.

And now while this little boy trembles on the edge of madness, his anguished parents, his helpless brother, an obsessed old woman and the vengeful, powerful butler await the climax to a horror that flowered in an attic long ago, a horror whose thorns are still wet with blood, still tipped with fire…


I have become obsessed with this series, as of late. As strange as I find this story, it is still one of the greatest! This is the third book to the Dollanganger Series. Unlike the previous books, this one is told from Jory and Bart’s POVs. Which was weird starting out, but then it started to make sense. Jory’s POV, however, could have been avoided in my opinion. I found it hard to really care about his thoughts and actions. Bart is a whole other story. You get to understand how finding out unbelievable, horrific secrets about your loved ones, can really transform a person into someone unrecognizable. Children are sponges. Yes, they soak up information, but how does that information register to a child who finds out that his whole life has been one big lie? I felt so bad for Bart and his inner turmoil to try to make sense of the secrets he learned about his parents and grandparents. He became so lost and it really broke my heart when he started acting out violently.

The mystery of the woman in black wasn’t much of a mystery to me. I saw it for what it was as soon as the lights came on next door. That did not keep me from being engrossed in this train wreck of a family and the disastrous consequences of secrets, lies, deception, incest, and a plethora of other nouns not to be mentioned. Wow, this is one messed up family but I can’t get enough. Does that make me a bad person if I find joy in reading about such things? No, that makes the author a great story teller and I am along for the ride until the end. If you haven’t read this series, or seen the movies (Lifetime), then please do. They are cringe worthy but so good that you won’t put them down. Definitely recommend!



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