In 2014, the Lifetime network brought to life the books, Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, followed by Petals on the Wind, later that year. The story is part of a series that follows a family that is often described as controversial, while still garnering what amounts to a cult-following. Now, Lifetime is bringing the third book in the series, If There Be Thorns, to the small screen.
Flowers in the Attic starts the tale of the Dollanganger family. In the Lifetime movie, the children, Christopher, Cathy, Cory and Carrie are played by Mason Dye, Kiernan Shipka, Maxwell Kovach and Ava Telek respectively. The grandmother is portrayed by Ellen Burstyn, with the mother being played by Heather Graham.
In the opening story, the children suffer not only the death of their father, but also disdain from their mother and the coercion of their grandmother who is forcing them to stay hidden in the attic. The Dollanganger children are kept hidden as a means to keep them away from their grandfather, so that their mother can inherit his fortunes. As the story unfolds, the four children are kept locked away and slowly poisoned in an effort to get rid of them, as they later learn that their grandfather will only allow the mother to inherit if she has no children. The story truly centers on themes of abuse, incest, love and ultimately family.
The second book in the series, Petals on the Wind, which was also made into a Lifetime movie, picked up ten years after the three surviving children, Christopher, Cathy and Carrie escape the attic. The children have been trying to move on with their life, but Cathy is in an abusive relationship and still struggles with the feelings she and Christopher developed as they lived in the attic and grew up together. Cathy also wants revenge on her mother for the things that happened to them and the death of their brother Cory.
In Lifetime’s latest offering, If There Be Thorns, viewers find Cathy and Christopher living together as if they were husband and wife. The family lives together with Cathy’s two boys, who have no idea as to the true relationship between their mother and her supposed husband. When a new neighbor moves in next door to them, the younger boy soon becomes friends with the neighbor, and his attitude changes with Christopher and Cathy. His behavior changes to very accusatory against his parents. At this point, Christopher learns that their neighbor is none other than their mother. Not only are family secrets revealed, but tragedy strikes as well.
In this latest installment of V.C. Andrews work, Heather Graham, once more takes on the role of the Dollanganger mother. Cathy is now portrayed by Rachel Carpani and Christopher is played by Jason Lewis.
The Lifetime premier of If There Be Thorns, is set for April 5, 2015. Although the book series itself was five books, it appears that the network only plans to go through book four. The fourth book, Seeds of Yesterday, makes its world premier on the Lifetime network on April 12, 2015.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by covajana – Flickr License