I have been reading V.C. Andrews’ books since I was thirteen, and I stole them from my mother. I loaned them to all of my friends, and they came back in tatters. Flowers in the Attic was my gateway book to the grown-up reading world. This meant that I was super excited to read Secret Brother—an all-new sequel to Flowers in the Attic. I was left ultimately disappointed, but hopeful that the next book in the series (and surely there will be one!) will be much more exciting.
Secret Brother starts with the Arnold family. Clara Sue and her brother, Willie, live with their father on a lovely estate, surrounded by other lovely estates. Her parents and grandmother have died, and the small little family has banded together, along with their faithful servants. When a tragedy claims the life of Clara Sue’s brother, it is her grandfather who behaves uncharacteristically. Another little boy, dumped at the hospital and in a coma, needs help. To help alleviate his grief, the grandfather decides to take care of the little boy.
Clara Sue wants no part of this plan and deeply resents her grandfather for what she sees as an attempt to replace her barely cold brother. In some ways, she was right. The grandfather gave the speechless boy the toys of his dead grandson, as well as his name. It was pretty creepy. But Clara Sue was a serious brat through most of the book. If you took every sentence that was written about her unhappiness about the “poisoned boy”, it would cover at least 100 pages. It slowed down the book, since essentially, she was just whining.
The rest of the novel revolves around Clara Sue’s burgeoning dating relationship. Will she remain true to the values she has been taught or will a fast-talking classmate sway her? Will her resentment at her family result in wayward behavior?
Any true Flowers in the Attic fan will know who the poisoned boy is pretty quickly, so there was no mystery there. In truth, this book felt like a set-up for the next book, which I am sure will pick up since the boy is now alert and awake. It would be great to see the intersection of more Flowers in the Attic characters with Secret Brother ones.
The novel was mostly slow, but if you are a true fan, you will read it to get ready for the next book!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina