An Improvement on the Christopher's Diary Series | Review: Beneath the Attic by V.C. Andrews

6:00 AM

Me: I'm never reading any of those new Dollanganger prequel books that Andrew Neiderman, as V.C. Andrews, puts out. Never, ever, ever. Coronavirus, 2020: Hey, it's a pandemic! You have to stay inside for the foreseeable future! Social distancing! The world is a dumpster fire! Me: Guess I'll read the new Dollanganger.

Beneath the Attic 
by V.C. Andrews
aka Andrew Neiderman 

Forbidden passions have shaped and haunted the Dollanganger family since their first novel—Flowers in the Attic—debuted forty years ago. Now discover how twisted the family roots truly are, and witness the clan’s origins as a result of one wild and complicated relationship. In this evocative and thrilling tale from New York Times bestselling author V.C. Andrews, see Corrine Dixon as a young girl and discover the fascinating family history of the Dollanganger clan.

Two generations before Corinne Foxworth locked her children in an attic, her grandmother, a gorgeous young girl named Corrine Dixon, is swept away by the charms of rich, sophisticated, and handsome Garland Foxworth. After discovering that she’s pregnant, Garland does what appears to be the honorable thing and marries her in a huge ceremony on the luxurious Foxworth Hall grounds. Both families fervently overlook the pregnancy, happy for a suitable resolution.

Now the mistress of a labyrinthine estate, Corrine discovers that nothing is what is seems. Garland is not the man once captivated by her charms, and she’s increasingly troubled by his infatuation with memories of his departed mother.

Can Corrine survive this strange new life? Or is her fate already sealed?

Explore the origins of the legendary Dollanganger family in this page-turning, gripping gothic thriller.

Beneath the Attic by V.C. Andrews 
Rating: ☆ (1.5)

Oh, boy. Mixed feelings galore! Where to begin, where to begin... Firstly, this novel felt like another unnecessary installment to the beloved Dollanganger Saga. It's no secret that I'm not altogether keen on the newer takes on the original four books; so it shouldn't come as a shock that I wasn't impressed by Beneath the Attic. And while Beneath the Attic was infinitely better than Secret Brother and Christopher's Diary, it was not something that particularly stuck out to me.

The good news: no incest.

The bad news: it is dreadfully boring and full of historical inaccuracies.

In-fact, Beneath the Attic adds very little to the original saga and lacks coherency when it comes to standing on its own. Out of all the plotlines and branches of the family tree, one has to wonder why this was the story that Neiderman went with. (When Cindy Sheffield and Bart Foxworth Jr. ARE RIGHT THERE.) The sole selling point of Beneath the Attic lay in the foreshadowing it may hold and not much else.

Beneath the Attic starts off fairly well, albeit slowly, with the introduction of a young Corinne Dixon. You may recognize her name as she is Malcolm Foxworth's mother and Garland Foxworth's first wife. Previously, we knew of her only in passing as the woman who abandoned her family. And while Beneath the Attic promises to build on the relationship that Corinne and Garland had, it never really fulfills that. 

Instead, it paints an unlikable picture that doesn't quite fit what we know as canon. Picking up on the origins of the twisted, thorny family tree of the original series, Beneath the Attic offers readers the chance to return to Foxworth Hall, but it reads not unlike bad fan-fiction. Armed with the standard Neiderman-as-Andrews tropes, there is a lot of morally gray moments to witness as well as the usual cringe.

Neiderman continues the legacy of putting V.C. Andrews; many plot-twists and trigger warnings into a category of their own. Nothing says triggering like the V.C. Andrews backlist.  Beneath the Attic likely won't impress too many die-hard, tired fans of Flowers in the Attic, but it served its purpose as a quarantine and rainy day read well enough.

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