A blog to celebrate, dissect, and promote V.C. Andrews' addictive modern Gothic classic : Flowers in the Attic.

Let's talk analyses, movie and TV adaptations, sequels, editing, and share ideas on this literary crack, because as far as I'm concerned this book ought to live on and on, approach infinity, expand like our glorious universe...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Flowers in the Attic Hijinks with Ghostwriting Epistolary Revelations Leading up to Release of Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth

SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE DOLLANGAGER SERIES CONTAINED HEREIN.  
ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.


I'm sorry about the post title.  I am usually a stickler for decent grammar but run-ons can be fun on occasion.

In case you hadn't heard or missed my mortifyingly late Facebook update a few days ago, there was a promo going on for the release of the much anticipated Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth (I still can't get over the "Secrets of Foxworth" part - I feel like it has to be "Foxworth Hall" because that's what it was called ad infinitum throughout the series.  It's like when people say "I'm going to prom."  instead of "I'm going to the prom."  It just bugs me.  Maybe it's just me.)  If you pre-ordered the book via Amazon, iTunes or Barnes & Noble, and emailed proof of purchase to the ghostwriter before October 21st, you were privy to receive a copy of a secret letter that Chris Senior wrote to Corrine and never mailed.  Are you kicking yourself because you didn't pre-order?  No worries. I'm here to spill the beans.

Now that it's after the 21st, I feel like the letter can be released to the public without anyone sending me to the guillotine for being a spoiler or ruining promotions for book sales.  I'm posting the "Secret Letter" here, with some handy dandy notations I made after reading it.  You can follow my thoughts to the corresponding numerical notations that indicate the passage in the text.  Gotta love my red pen and text tool on Photoshop.


(p.s. copyright V.C. Andrews)




I didn't even get to the 3rd sentence of this thing without cocking my eyebrow and going "WHAT?!".


1.
"We live in a dangerous world, as you know all too well with the loss of your brothers and I always fear that someday I might lose you or you might lose me."

The use of the word "dangerous" stopped me in my tracks.  It seems a little dramatic and ominous, don't you think?  I don't know what the implication is here about living in a dangerous world.  Yes, Mal died in a motorcycle accident and Joel died in a skiing accident (did we get too ambitious in choosing the double black diamonds, Joel?) but these two dipwads made their own risky choices in life - I would hardly say that croaking unexpectedly was due to living in a dangerous world, as if the planet Earth is waiting around the corner with a pick axe, just looking to screw you over at the drop of a dime.  Paranoid much, Chris?  The Dollangangers were living in vanilla suburban utopia anyway; what kind of dangerous things did they face in their world?   A carton of expired milk in the fridge?  Letting the Cadillac gas tank get below half-full?  Unless...unless the author's implication here is that the deaths of Corrine's brothers were not really accidents and there was something more sinister behind their passing.  Perhaps they were murdered.  Perhaps Chris knows more than he's letting on and fears he'll be the next to go.  I don't know, I just think the usage of the word "dangerous" is either a heavy-handed choice, or an intentional bait toward a bigger implication.   Or maybe not.  (I have to say "or maybe not" because that way if it ends up that I'm wrong, I don't look like an ass.)



2.
"I know you will never say I did, but you were so young, and, although I never told you and indeed pretended the otherwise, I was not a virgin when I returned home from college and we first made love in your grandmother’s Swan room."

OK, this passage was HUGE for me.  First of all, the fact that Chris Senior confesses that he was screwing around before he got to Corrine is a confession that is completely out of context; I thought this letter was for Chris Senior to confess the secret of their bloodline, so why is he talking about doing the nasty with some other college co-ed?  Unless...unless the author put in this detail to suggest that there was some sort of consequence from Chris' actions that would impact the rest of the Dollanganger story.  My strong hunch:  Chris Senior and his lady friend had a lovechild.  My whacky theory is that the forthcoming book, Secret Brother, is about this.  Yep.  Or maybe not.  (I have to say "or maybe not" because that way if it ends up that I'm wrong, I don't look like an ass.)








3.
"I stumbled upon a letter my mother had written to Olivia, a letter in which my mother was thanking her for bringing you up as she would her own daughter."

Oh my God, this bugged me so much.  When, where and how did he find the letter?  The fact that he "stumbled" upon the letter is kind of a lazy use of language.  I mean, I don't want a time stamp for the event, but it just bugs me when things are expressed in generalities and details are glossed over.  It matters to me how he found this all-important letter that razed the house of cards.  By the way, there's a lot of letter writing going on this household, have you noticed?  Not that that's a bad thing because letter-writing is a great art form (I had my share of pen pals as a kid), but here's the thing:  never leave a paper trail.  Why do you think people always say "Get it on paper!"?  So you can screw people over with their own words later on, if need be.  In other words, always pay in cash instead (e.g. scrap the letter writing and make a phone call or use smoke signals).



4.
"...Perhaps she did what she did to keep the peace and make all our lives possible after such a sin had been committed, a sin that could have doomed us all.

Your father was your father and as any father who loved his daughter well, he lavished so much attention on you. However, every time he set eyes on you, especially in Olivia’s presence, he must have felt pangs of guilt. I think he was always trying to make it up to Olivia, thinking that every time she looked at you, she saw the child her husband had created with his *sister-in-law [sic]."

* ed. note:  that should be "mother-in-law"

"...a sin that could have doomed us all."  The use of language here is a bit over-the-top, if you ask me. Chris, you're making mountains out of molehills (I can see where Cathy inherited her dramatic flair for things.)  Can someone point out the consequential doom factor he's talking about?  I don't get it.  So Malcolm was a sleazebag who knocked up the wrong gal.  And if Olivia or that twit Alicia  had called the sheriff, he would have gone to prison, and society would have been better off - do we label this as doom for all?  I think we'd all be throwing a party. One less rapist in Virginia and mankind. So there was a kid that came out of it, too, so what?  Alicia could have just been sent away with Corrine and all this could have been avoided.  Uh, including falling in love with your sister, Chris, which is something that now keeps you tossing and turning all night.  Seriously, I don't know what he's talking about when he says "doomed us all".  I think he's got it backwards.  But maybe I'm not that smart.  Unless...unless... (Nah, I got nothing!).

Also, the rest of his feelings regarding Olivia's integrity and Malcolm's purported guilt make me think that Chris Senior was indeed a naive, trusting soul and not as bright as one would hope.  Olivia and Malcolm were a pair of assholes who couldn't get life right and went to the dark side.  

A) Olivia needed some lovin' (if you know what I mean), but didn't have enough balls to serve the guy divorce papers and instead became an embittered, vindictive and righteous pill. She could have left that house at any time, gone back to her Yankee ways; she could have been a CPA - she was totes employable!  Better to be alone than in a shitty relationship, girls.  You know who she should have married if she'd gotten divorced?  Leigh's father from the Heaven series.  What the hell was his name!  I can't remember because I haven't taken my fish oil supplements regularly these days.  But you know who I'm taking about.  The Captain.  

B) Malcolm = pathetic loser.  

But Chris Senior has the ability to give them both some credit.  Sweet guy but not too savvy.






5. and 6.
"You never saw the abject terror and fear in my eyes every time one of our children was born. I knew what Olivia and your father meant when they talked about our children being born with horns and hooves and who knows what. I anticipated something terrible like two-headed babies, and then the doctor looking at us and wondering who and what we really were to each other...  They might think of themselves as evil, and who knows what they might do to themselves?"

I'm going to level with you: I don't think two-headed babies are all that bad.  I mean, it's not optimal, but there are some cute Siamese twins out there and I'm sure Chris Senior would have been a lovely dad to two-headed babies, anyway.  And I am also sure that two-headed babies are not hallmark exclusives to siblings who do the horizontal mambo; I highly doubt that doctors who have delivered two-headed babies have pointed their fingers at the parents for being depraved sinners, and then referenced such deformities in the New England Journal of Medicine as the result of incestuous, contaminated beasts.  Chris is being neurotic.  Also, who cares if they're born with horns and hooves?  It saves some money come Halloween, right?  No need to budget for costumes on your Excel. 

I feel for Chris Senior though.  I mean, how do you tell this kids?  How do you not tell the kids?  I can see this affecting the kids' esteems and identities when they make introductions at wedding receptions:  
"This is my daughter, my niece..." / "This is my brother, my cousin."  Sucks.

I'd like to add here as an aside: I've always had an issue with this fire and brimstone b.s. in the book, and the way the characters have such literal interpretations of religious dogma.  Obviously, religious fanaticism is a big part of the series, but I don't think it was fleshed out enough by the author.  I never saw the indoctrination played out in the plot, nor know how religion was discussed and treated consequently in the Dollanganger home.  For a family that bathed together and walked around naked (not that there's anything wrong with that), the Dolls seemed pretty liberal, free-lovin' and agnostic.  You wouldn't think the kids would be affected by their Grandma talking about sin and hell and all that other junk (Chris Junior was the only one who seemed to think she was batty). Therefore, the roots of terror through religion are very vague in the series. I think Andrews wrote her story with blinders on a bit because not all of us "get" the fright of Christian fundamentalism and repression; Andrews treated it as a given, which diminishes the psychological terror, in my opinion.  If I understood more in depth how and why religion turned the Foxworths into bible-thumping freaks, I would have been along for the ride, but as it stands, when Olivia and Malcolm talk about horns and hooves, it just feels...not scary.  When people go off on sin and evil and depravity like they do, I just feel like telling them to stop smoking the funny stuff and find a hobby, you know what I mean?  I don't see how their ridiculous preaching and shenanigans would keep anyone up at night, even when you're the one sleeping and procreating with your sister.
  


7.
"You knew how much I had wanted to be a doctor and how pleased I am that Christopher not only has the intelligence to become one but sees it as his true destiny, his purpose in life."

Newsflash:  I apparently know nothing about this book at all.  
I always thought Chris Junior wanted to become a doctor because of over-identifying with his father's lost dreams.  Was this ambition never openly disclosed by Chris Senior?  He makes it sound like his son came up with the career goal all by himself.  Is this right?  That would be hella freaky, actually, if Chris Senior never mentioned his own aspirations and Chris Junior decided to become a doctor on his own.  I never really thought about this - it just flew over my head.  It would fit neatly into my other post about cycles and repetition.



8.
"I know it would be an unfair burden placed on your shoulders for I have not yet become the provider I dreamed I would be, but you surely will feel the same need to make this happen and somehow find the way."

You know, at this point I was getting an unsavory flavor of Chris Senior being a self-deprecating woe-is-me guy. All this talk about not being a good provider yet, blah blah blah.  Get it together!  There are not many guys out there who'd marry his sister against societal norms, risk burning in hell, and try so hard to give her everything she wants in life.  Be proud that you've made it this far.  I thought his voice in this letter was quite good though, overall, because he sounds like a real sucker for Corrine (in the same way Chris would become a sucker to Cathy) and kind of at the mercy of the pretty faces in their lives.  Not so unlike Malcolm, really, when you think about it.







9.
I'm sorry but I HAD to line edit this section out.  These were the worst couple lines in the entire letter.  There is no way a Yalie would express himself with a sentence ending in "...or something."  I also love how he has to has to explain that he's going to seal it in a special envelope and hide it.  Trying to jam some obvious plot details by having Chris Senior talk to himself.  What's a special envelope anyway?  Is it forged from titanium?  Maybe he imported a special Smythson stationery set from London and wrote all this with a quill.  I'm thinking more and more Chris should have gone to an analyst with all this instead of writing a letter.  Doctor/patient privilege would have created a safe space for him.  I guess he didn't have the money for it, since he hadn't become a sufficient provider, yet.



10.
"John Amos was always preaching to us, telling us things like the sins of the father will rest on the heads of his children. I saw the way he looked at you whenever he said something like that. At first I had no idea why and then, when I knew, I understood. He always knew the truth. He was a hateful man. It was more him than anyone who turned Olivia and Malcolm against us."


OK, you know what?  We probably need a book on John Amos The Psycho.  What the hell is the matter with him?  He's as bad as the Foxworth dynasty of loons, and yet...he's from Olivia's side of the family.  Come on, now, this is total fodder for a spin-off series on Olivia's genealogy!  If Malcolm had Mommy Issues, I'm willing to bet John Amos had Daddy Issues.  You don't go around indiscriminately screwing the maids on staff and raging on women with four-letter words unless you had a crappy father who probably treated women the same way.  If Malcolm was Hitler, then John Amos was one of those serial killers you read about in Crime Library.






PROVENANCE

And finally, we have the detailed roller coaster history of this letter, which is, like, the best part of the whole thing.  I love phony timelines and the associated mythology to a story (like the history of Blair Witch).  I'm sorry, I know it's probably important to see the provenance of this letter written out, but I had to laugh when I read this.  This letter is like the bad Christmas gift that nobody wants.  It gets hidden back in the storage closet, it gets re-gifted to others who don't want anything to do with it.  Someone should bring it to Antiques Roadshow. 

That's all I have to say about it because I don't know who these people are, nor have any indication of their characters or pertinence, though I'm sure the ghostwriter will provide any necessary morsels of information in the future.  What a bunch of gossips though!  Especially that Tamatha...

Also curious to know who the nameless "source" is, at the end.  I think it's the Secret Brother.  Yes I do. Yep.  Or maybe not.  (I have to say "or maybe not" because that way if it ends up that I'm wrong, I don't look like an ass.)


11 comments:

  1. Yes, it is strongly hinted that the "accidents" were too much of a coincidence.

    "Oh, golly! I was greatly disturbed, kind of numb feeling inside. So many accidents. Two brothers dead and daddy ,too, all from accidents. My bleak look met with Chris. He wasn't smiling." Cathy (Flowers in the attic)

    This is something I've discussed on the VCA boards...
    A). I think this is something VCA drafted in her 100 pages of GOS not published. AN couldn't include it in his book.

    I asked him in a post on his facebook page
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152457582288175&id=204722423174&refid=17

    [Quote] ME : Can you clarify something for me, Mr Neiderman ? You mention that the letter could not be included in Flowers in the attic ? Does this mean that it is something Virginia left out of the original FITA or that you actually meant Chris's Diary : SOF ?

    The letter is very consistent with Virginia's framework but it really reveals a HUGE secret... It's interesting because letting out before the book release means that there must be a bigger, juicier secret yet to be revealed.

    AN : You're on the right track. [/quote]

    Make what you can of that.

    That's actually A, B, and C

    D). Yes, I think it is part of secret brother. I think Secret Brother is a prequel covering Chris Snr's life and the child adopted thing we thought to be Cory is actually a distraction or a throw off. I think that child with a past life may be either related to Kristin, or could be Jory's child or could even be good old uncle Joel himself.

    I think that given the time elapsed the before the letter was delivered, could have been given to Joel remember Joel mentions a hournalist who came to interview him ? Perhaps this lead Joel into knowing the truth and therefore his determination to get rid of the Dollangangers. That's one theory. Anyone from corrine, bart snr, Bart jnr, chris, cathy could have received it.

    The letter by the way is very consistent with Chris Snr actions in the original series it makes you see Chris Snr in a new light..

    1. Chris Snr actively sought to avenge Malcolm and Olivia for his mother's suffering by stealing their daughter.
    [Quote]"So when Alicia had a son, you suspected that child was your own
    husband's, and that's why you hated our father, and why you sent for him, deceiving him into believing he'd found a good home. And you educated
    him and gave him the best of everything so he'd have a taste of the good, rich life and be more hurt and disappointed later on, when you threw him out and left him nothing in your wills. But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter, whom you hated too, because her father loved her more than he loved you." Cathy - Petals on the Wind [/quote]


    2. Chris Snr has to rush his plans because Corrine gets pregnant.

    3. It explains why he is more nervous whrn a child of his is born when before he acted as if Malcolm spoke hogwash.

    4. It also explains why Chris kept away and persisted in that type of job. Guilt of knowing his true relationship and fear of an accidental death. Chris could have got a job more close to home.

    4. It also explains why he was so needy with Corrine. As if he needed to justify his love was greater than his sin.

    5.It also explains why he has never sued Macolm for his rightful share even though Corrine insisted.

    5. It also explains why a woman, CoRrine could lose her love for her husband if she sensed by things suddenly he could have known all along. Partners can sense even the minutest of things.

    Chris changes with the knowledge though, he tries to atone for it. Be a better father. Create a stable home for his family. But he didn't do the right thing . He was selfish.

    Sorry for any errors. Rushed response.

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    1. Wintress, that would explain why Chris Sr. began the letter with that weird crap about sleeping around in college. I'm so disapointed, I mean WTF he had already met Corrine by then. I thought C Sr. was as good as gold like his son... like Garland. (I say Garland was good because I don't believe Malcolm's diary for a second. I mean just look at how effed up Bart's narrative was, and we know HE was NOT abused). I do think Chris Sr. was deeply in love with Corrine, but I don't think this new book is going to express that. I really feel like once again we get the GW's version of things.

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    2. You can slice the cake differently and give Chris Senior the benefit of the doubt - he could have been with other women to break from Corrine out of guilt (the same way Cathy did with Chris in Petals)...? Though I agree it sounds illogical, the way the ghostwriter makes it a plot point.

      My thoughts: Cathy and Chris are written as metaphorical carbon copies of their parents in which Cathy is a stand-in for Corrine and Chris Jnr is a stand-in for Chris Snr. They are polar opposites, with Cathy being the one who struggles with morals and self-serving motives (Corrine) while Chris is the more noble one who is more self-accepting and his love, right or wrong (Chris Snr) - I'd be hard-pressed to imagine that Chris Snr's character was scripted to be anything less than that...The parents are written to be parallels of their kids, so if *both* parents are selfish and morally flawed it breaks the point of the story, IMO. Chris Jnr dies in a car accident just like his own father. He is a direct mirror of his father, and and we all know he is meant to represent the light side and positivity.

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    3. Anonymous, I truly believe that Garland treated Malcolm badly after the first Corrne alledgely ran away with her lover. (I don't think she ran away, I think she was kiled because in her Mona Lisa secret smile, it's hinted she knew some secret).

      Garland took all his frustration out on his first born son. Garland twisted Malcolm and made him hate women in much the same way John Amos twisted Bart's image of women.

      FITA 2.0 , no two people are the same, Chris isn't an exact duplicate of his father. Similarly the two cases of incest aren't equally justified.

      Virginia big clue comes when she actually contrasts love at first sight (Chris Snr and Corrine) with a gradual more binding love (Chris Jnr and Cathy).

      In the cases we don't judge the act itself, but the intentions behind the act. Why would two people so closely related have a sexual relationship ?

      Chris Jnr puts forward a theory to his mother's intentions
      "When your father's younger half brother walked into Foxworth Hall at age seventeen, did you immediately seize hold on an inspiration?- the supreme way to punish your father for making you hate yourself. Did you set out to make our father fall in love with you? Did you? Did you hate him in a way too because he looked like Malcolm. I think you did. I think you schemed and plotted to wound your father in the one way that would shatter his ego most, so that it might never recover. And I think you succeeded! You eloped and married the younger half brother he so despised. And you thought you'd won in two ways. You had stung him where it hurt the most. Now you had the power to gain his tremendous fortune through our father!- but it didn't work did it ? I haven't forgotten those days when we lived in Gladstone, when I overhead you pleading with my father to sue, to get what was rightfully his. But our father refused to co-operate. He loved you and married you for what he thought you were, and not for the money you kept dreaming about.".

      Could Chris Jnr be right ? When you look at Corrrin's account in FITA
      "I remember the first time I saw him. I knew he was coming, this young half-uncle I'd-never seen or heard much about, and I
      wanted to make a good impression, so all day I prepared myself, curling
      my hair, bathing and I put on what I thought were my prettiest and most becoming clothes. I was fourteen years old -and that is an age when a girl just begins to feel her power over men. And I knew I was what most boys and men considered beautiful, and I guess, in a way, I was ripe for falling in love." Corrine

      Seriously ??? You prepare all day for your half uncle ? She is definitely validating Chris's theory. It definitely explains how a young girl can seduce her half uncle to seek revenge on her father in the same way a young woman can seduce her own step father to avenge her own mother. Did Corrine trap her half uncle by getting pregnant with Chris Jnr so he'd marry her ?

      Can revenge also be the reason why a man seeks out his own half niece ? Is it to wound Malcolm ? I'll answer the Olivia part in your other post. Was he trapped by a pregnant Corrine ?
      Did he see Corrine as the very image of Alicia (suggested Oedipal complex by Amie Soctomah) ?

      Chris Snr and Corrine may have made mistakes, I think they tried to atone for these mistakes by being good parents and making their marriage work. However they compounded their initial mistake by continuing to have more children

      Cathy and Chris jnr differ so much from their parents.
      Cathy would do anything possible to see that Chris jnr is happy, even sacrifice herself. She would never betray him. Her love isn't based on revenge. Chris would always protect Cathy and keep her safe, support her hopes and dreams, motivate her to achieve things and believe in herself. He knows that she understands him better than anyone else.

      We have two cases of incest - one that's an understandable act of love that endured and the other -impetuous, selfish and doomed.

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    4. I meant that the kids were carbons in terms of literary devices, not that they were exactly their parents, but I see what you mean, now. The comparison is in the development of the relationship: Chris Snr and Corrine were more lust at first sight, which is at odds with Chris Jnr and Cathy, which stemmed from something else entirely! Yes, so it makes sense now if we're comparing the nature of each couple's relationship as opposed to the personalities of each individual... This actually makes me wonder if Andrews had a more black and white ideology of the nature of good and evil...

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    5. Sorry for the delay.
      I need to correct and further motivate a little on previous your comment
      "Chris Jnr dies in a car accident just like his own father. He is a direct mirror of his father, and and we all know he is meant to represent the light side and positivity."

      Chris jnr is the victim of a hit and run. He was running through a busy highway trying to save the victims of an accident. He died while trying to save someone.

      Chris Snr died while trying to avoid a collision when his car struck a barrier, somersaulted and caught alight.

      If you look carefully, how they died is a little reflection of how they lived.

      You've used the right word - NATURE.

      Virginia possessed the Wisdom to fathom :-
      1) human nature. She proposes it's not as complicated and mysterious as we think. We don't need to apply some psycho analytical, mind numbing stuff.
      If we trust our instincts, we can actually feel the truth.

      2) the balance of good and evil, it's co-existence to shape destiny.

      3). Appearance versus Reality

      4). People are just trying to survive in a
      harsh world

      The gray (grey) is just a confusion of black and white - a distortion of the truth. It can be solved to black or white. You can grey the truth by corrupting it, using ideals and image. My personal observation of Grey " behind every lie, there's an element of the truth."

      ***"I meant that the kids were carbons in terms of literary devices, not that they were exactly their parents," ****

      It's actually a very interesting literary device. And it all has to do with IMAGE.
      Shakespeare's plays carried the theme : APPEARANCE vs REALITY. I loved them masquerade balls.

      If you've read Tess of the D'urbervilles. Angel sees Tess not as she is, a woman with flaws, but as an image of purity perfection. Sometimes an image of something prevents you from seeing and accepting the truth.

      Symbolic representation of Tess

      Tess - truth, true self
      Angel - image/idealism
      Alec - corruption

      Virginia actually addresses the problem IMAGE in ITBT.

      "The young are like that... they think they have a monopoly on experience,..forgetting we (the old) were once young too. And we've turned all our mirrors into windows, and they are still behind the mirrors looking only at themselves" Madame Marisha - If there be Thorns.

      Mirror - see things as images
      Window - see things as they truly are.

      Young people are very susceptible to image - they can be easily fooled. They tend to think of this book as a fairytale where there is a clear distinction between good and evil.

      Fairytale view
      1. Cathy - victim, heroine, young fairytale princess like
      2. Corrine - greedy, vain evil queen
      3. Olivia - witch grandmother
      4. Chris Snr - the most perfect man and father who was naïve, sweet, trusting and vulnerable enough to be exploited by Corrine.

      Because Chris and Cathy look like their parents (Image), it tends to confuse the reader into thinking they are duplicates of Chris Snr and Corrine.
      It takes experience and wisdom to evolve into seeing the truth.

      Image and Corruption and how they are used to exploit the fickle masses are also covered in "Animal Farm" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" which mentions Tess.

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  2. Just to add, in Garden of Shadows, Alicia sends a letter to Olivia pleading with her to take care of Chris Snr.

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    1. I forgot to add above: that quote from Cathy about Chris "stealing" Corrine et al. is very provocative but I never understood the logic of what she said: "But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter, whom you hated too, because her father loved her more than he loved you." Why would Olivia care if Chris stole Corrine if she hated her? She'd be glad to be rid of her, and moreover you would think that she'd be glad that Malcolm would be wounded by the act. I don't doubt that Andrews had some ideas floating around in her head to develop the story behind Chris Senior and Olivia but didn't fully tweak in a smooth manner.

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    2. It all has to do with Garden of Shadows, Olivia's relationship with Chris Snr when he comes to FH. Chris Snr has charmed his way into gaining Olivia's trust. Olivia lost her two sons, Chris Snr replaced the sons she lost.

      Remember when the kids are in the attic, she shows more animosity to Chris Jnr because he looks like his father.

      She spat at his back: "I hate that particular name!
      It was your father's; out of the kindness of my heart, I pleaded his cause when his mother died, and he didn't have a home. My husband didn't want him here, but I felt pity for a young boy without parents, or means, and robbed of so much. So I kept nagging my husband to let
      his younger half-brother live under our roof. So your father came ...brilliant, handsome, and he took advantage of our generosity. Deceived us! We sent him to the best of schools, bought him the best of everything, and he stole our daughter, his own half-niece! She was all we had left then ... the only one left .."

      I think Malcolm also blamed Olivia for bringing Chris Snr to FH and for what occurred between Chris Snr and Corrine.

      I agree Olivia conspired to awaken Corrine's sexuality by letting her into the swan room, trying to contaminate her from a young age. I'm not sure whether she intended for Corrine to seduce her half uncle. I'm not convinced that she orchestrated that event.

      "So when Alicia had a son, you suspected that child was your own husband's, and that's why you hated our father, and why you sent for him, deceiving him into believing he'd found a good home. And you educated
      him and gave him the best of everything so he'd have a taste of the good, rich life and be more hurt and disappointed later on, when you threw him out and left him nothing in your wills. But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter, whom you hated too, because her father loved her more than he loved you."
      .
      They gave Chris snr the best, they educated him, took him in as a son, obviously Chris snr is Garland's son not Malcolm's. Olivia knew that. Olivia felt betrayed by what Chris did. Why would Chris double cross them?

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    3. I guess I'm questioning Cathy's choice of language - she's saying that Olivia hated Corrine because Malcolm loved her more. WE know that Olivia did have some affection for Corrine in GoS but that's our privilege of knowing as the reader, and would explain Olivia's feeling of betrayal by Chris Snr, but what Cathy says doesn't make logical sense to me.

      "But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter, whom you hated too, because her father loved her more than he loved you."

      Cathy presumes Olivia hated Corrine, so why on Earth would she care if Chris stole Corrine, regardless of the fact that she was their only daughter? I understand everything you're saying. I just don't see the logic in what Cathy's saying...? As I said, based on the logic of Olivia hating her daughter, it would stand to reason that she'd be GLAD to see her fall from grace. The quote would have made more sense to me this way:

      "But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter! You probably secretly hated her in your own way too, since her father loved her more than he loved you, but still, the disgrace of it all must have been intolerable..."

      If we're to believe GoS, Olivia feels betrayed because she earnestly gave Chris Snr the best of everything and there is no indication that she plotted to kick him out and make him miserable (i.e. give him candy and then snatch it back) - we can only infer this from Cathy's rant. There is nothing to indicated in GoS that Olivia had any vindictive plans for Chris Snr upon his return. We would have to put this on the ghostwriter as his responsibility to tie up the loose ends regarding motive after reading clues in the rest of the books. As far as GoS is concerned, I only learned that Olivia had her weakness and insecurities, but there saw no basis presented for her grand scheme to screw over Chris Snr. The ghostwriter made her seem like a softie under that concrete bosom.

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    4. "Cathy presumes Olivia hated Corrine, so why on Earth would she care if Chris stole Corrine, regardless of the fact that she was their only daughter?"

      Cathy is stating that although Olivia hated Corrine in a way, she had reason to hate Chris Snr more. Chris Snr was supposedly Malcolm's son as Cathy proposes. Blood is thicker than water. Olivia lost two children - her own blood. The loss of another child although not the favoured child, is still a loss to Olivia. Cathy reasons that this could explain why Olivia showed more contempt for Chris Snr than for Corrine.

      Cathy is trying to understand Olivia's explanation, the quotes put back to back suggest that...

      Olivia "I hate that particular name!
      It was your father's; out of the kindness of my heart, I pleaded his cause when his mother died, and he didn't have a home. My husband didn't want him here, but I felt pity for a young boy without parents, or means, and robbed of so much. So I kept nagging my husband to let his younger half-brother live under our roof. So your father came ...brilliant, handsome, and he took advantage of our generosity. Deceived us! We sent him to the best of schools, bought him the best of everything, and he stole our daughter, his own half-niece! She was all we had left then ... the only one left .."

      Cathy's tries to make sense of that by reconciling the new information she has recently discovered..
      .
      "So when Alicia had a son, you suspected that child was your own husband's, and that's why you hated our father, and why you sent for him, deceiving him into believing he'd found a good home. And you educated
      him and gave him the best of everything so he'd have a taste of the good, rich life and be more hurt and disappointed later on, when you threw him out and left him nothing in your wills. But my father fooled you instead, didn't he? He stole your only daughter, whom you hated too, because her father loved her more than he loved you." Cathy - FITA

      Obviously we know that this isn't so, so we've got to try to fathom why does Olivia blame Chris Snr more than Corrine. Isn't Corrine the person she should hate more . Shouldn't she blame Corrine for seducing Chris Snr.
      We know from GOS she loved Chris Snr like her own son. Did Olivia find out something ... Or was it that there is no hatred greater than love betrayed. Was she afraid that looking at Chris Jnr would soften her heart and prevent her from carrying out her punishment. That's what the GW will have to reconcile for us-possibly in Secret Brother. Or I'd have to find in GOS.

      I think we have to understand that Olivia's pov is her defence to her actions. She obviously wants to appear to us as the victim to gain sympathy and in her mind she feels she is the victim.

      I hope that helps...
      Apologies for any errors

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