July 5, 2018

Summer Reads: House of Secrets by V.C. Andrews

Pocket Books; 400 pages; Amazon
It's no secret that I like reading a wide variety of authors and genres, which includes V.C. Andrews, the Gothic-horror novelist who wrote the bestselling Flowers in the Attic and its sequels. Though the author died in 1986, Simon & Schuster has continued to publish other novels, which have all been written by a ghostwriter (a.k.a.  - Andrew Neiderman).

The first book in newest "V.C. Andrews" series, titled House of Secrets, was published early this year. Pocket Books nicely set me a paperback copy to review on this blog. I read the book right away, but I kept putting off writing my review for it. I ended up rereading the book last month, so the story would be fresh in my mind when I eventually got around to writing the review.

House of Secrets centers around Fern, a teenager who lives with her mother at the Wyndemere House, which is owned by the Davenport family. Before Fern was born, her mother took a job as a nanny for the Davenports. After Mrs. Davenport died in a car accident, Fern's mother stayed on to help look after Davenport's son, Ryder. Years later, Dr. Davenport remarried to a woman named Bea Howell and they had a daughter named Samantha (named after his first wife). Things changed within the household when Bea arrived. Fern (who is two years younger than Ryder) was no longer allowed to play with him, as she was only the help's daughter.

Though they aren't supposed to have a relationship, Fern and Ryder find ways to be around each other, which makes things a bit awkward for them now that they are in their teenage years. Secretly, they find each other attractive and have romantic feelings for another. However, they wouldn't dare act on their feelings, as they fear Bea's wrath!

Final Thoughts

I guess you can say that I've been a little bit critical about the last few "ghostwriter" novels because, to me, the books have lost that Gothic-feeling that were in V.C. Andrews' original books. So, my expectations for House of Secrets were a little low to begin with before I started reading the book (the first time). I'm glad to say that the book is better written than last few series. Yes, the Gothic-feel is still missing, but this time around the writing feels less like a bad YA novel (like the past books have been). 

The novel starts out pretty solid with everything I would want from a V.C. Andrews title. It has an interesting teenage character, an old mansion, a wicked stepmother (not related to the protagonist), and a dark family secret. The first half of the novel is really good, but, sadly, it falls apart in the second half, as the plot turns into a YA rehash. The main twist (well, the only twist) is very predictable, as you can see it coming a mile away.

Overall, House of Secrets was intriguing read for me. I mean, I liked it; it was an improvement over the last couple of books, but it could have been better. The main plot is great, but I feel the ghostwriter is lacking the writing skills to flesh out new stories. Nevertheless, I going to keep an open mind for the upcoming sequel Echoes in the Walls, which is being published next month.

*Note : I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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