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V. C. Andrews

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V. C. Andrews (Cleo Virginia Andrews) was a twentieth century American novelist. Her forte was gothic horror fiction blended with family saga. She is famous for her notoriously bestselling work Flowers in the Attic (1979).

Andrews was born on June 6, 1923 in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was the only daughter and youngest child in the Andrews household. As a child she had a falling accident and she suffered from crippling arthritis in the aftermath of her surgery. However, she had not lost hope as she completed her studies from home. She then started her career as an illustrator and an artist. She made an attempt at writing with a science fiction novel, named Gods of Green Mountain but failed to have it published. Then she penned a novel, titled The Obsessed for which the publishers suggested her to develop the plot and make it more electrifying. Overnight she edited her work and resubmitted it with the title Flowers in the Attic. Its publication in 1979 brought her huge praise and success as a fiction writer as it instantly became bestselling debut novel of hers.

Subsequently, Flowers in the Attic became the Dollanganger Series owing to its raging success. The first book is a psychodrama centers on the Dollanger family whose head of the family dies in an accident which leaves the mother and her four children financially helpless. The mother, Corrine, ask her mother to provide them shelter which she does only on the condition that her children were to stay hidden in an attic away from their grandfather who did not approve her marriage with her distant uncle. The story revolves around the four children who spend year after year stuck in attic waiting for their mother to free them but only to meet deceit and tragic fate in the end. The book was adapted into a film in 1987.

The sequels, Petals on the Wind (1980) in the Dollanger series, continue the story subsequent to the escape of the children. The third book, If There Be Thorns (1981) centers on Cathy’s life and her married life and children become focus of Seeds of Yesterday (1984). The last novel in the series, Garden of Shadows (1986), is a prequel which explores lives of Cathy’s grandparents. The Dollanger series, although successful, earned the status of highly controversial books for its disturbing sexual themes. The theme of consensual incest had it banned from many libraries.

Andrews’ idea of a good novel was that it be fast-paced. She was of the view that she only finishes those books that hold her interesting long enough and kept her guessing till the end. Therefore, while writing a book she minded the fact that her readers do not felt lost in the details but it incited the urge in them to find out what was about to happen.

V. C. Andrews’s other famous works include, The Casteel series (1985), The Cutler series (1990), The Landry series (1994), The Logan series (1996), The Orphans series (1998), The Wildflowers series (1999) and many more. Her works have been translated into many other languages. She suffered from breast cancer in her last days and died on December 19, 1986 at the age of 63. The success of her career had her estate hire a ghost writer after her death. Andrew Neiderman ghostwritten numerous stories under her name.

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