Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter Reads: My Sweet Audrina

Retail: $7.99: Pages 560
The Gothic fiction genre has almost completely disappeared, with the exception of Anne Rice and of course the ghostwritten V.C. Andrews novels. While I read my first Anne Rice title during my teenage years, I didn't read my first V.C. Andrews novel (Flowers in the Attic) until I was about twenty-years-old, which I found a few hardcovers at a thrift store. After learning that I was reading the Dollanganger series, my late grandmother gave me her collection of V.C. Andrews books (which she owned all the books up to the first title in the DeBeers series).

Anyway, after I finished reading the Dollanganger series, I read My Sweet Audrina, which was the only published standalone (originally published in 1982) by V.C. Andrews before her death in 1986, and it became one of her most popular titles. The novel has been adapted into a two hour (90-minutes without commercials) that will air on LIFETIME on Saturday, January 9, 2016! To tie-in with the movie's premiere, Pocket Books is re-releasing My Sweet Audrina (ISBN: 978-1501138843) to paperback with all new cover art. There is also a sneak peak at the upcoming sequel, Whitefern, scheduled to be published in July.

I don't reread very many books, but I was definitely wanting to read My Sweet Audrina before the LIFETIME movie premieres as I only recall bits and pieces from the novel. Luckily, I didn't have to hunt down my old hardback copy as Pocket Books nicely sent me an advanced copy of the re-release.

My Sweet Audrina chronicles the life of Audrina Adare from age seven to adulthood. Unlike other girls her age, she isn't allowed to attend school, though her coldblooded cousin Vera is allowed to go school. She spends her days at the Whitefern mansion with her mother, Lucietta and her aunt Ellsbeth (Vera's mother). When her father, Damian, isn't working, he makes her sit in the rocking chair in her deceased older sister's playroom (her name was Audrina too), so she can try to receive the "first and best" Audrina's gifts.

The original Audrina died nine-years before the second Audrina was born, which resulted in Audrina (the second) being shutoff from the outside world. She isn't allowed to have any friends or venture off into the woods (where the older Audrina was raped and murdered). While one would think that Vera would be her best friend, that isn't the case as Vera is extremely hateful to her; constantly jealous of the attention Damian gives Audrina.

Despite Audrina's short-term memory problems, she is well aware to stay away from the woods, but she eventually goes beyond Whitefern, so she can get a look at the teenage boy, Arden Lowe, and his mother, Billie, whom live in a small groundskeeper cottage on her family's property. One glance at Audrina's chameleon hair and Arden was in love with her. The two start out as just friends, but eventually end up getting married when Audrina became of age.

Death, betrayal and heartache is what is in store for Audrina, especially when her mother dies from giving birth to her sister, Sylvia, who was born with autism. More tragedy strikes, and the only way to stop the madness if for Audrina to rock in the rocking chair one last time and finally understand the truth behind the "best and first" Audrina's death.

Final Thoughts: While I did remember how the novel ended (and the big twist), I didn't recall how the story went along until I reread the novel over the Christmas weekend. At over 500-page, My Sweet Audrina is not the easiest book to read as the plot deals with the rape of a child. Nevertheless, V.C. Andrews (the original author and not the ghost writer) is the master of macabre and her storytelling keeps your eyes glued to the pages. If you pay attention, the major twist is clear as day, but the character development paves the way for an emotional journey that is even more haunting the second time you read it. Overall, My Sweet Audrina is my favorite novel that was written by the "real" V.C. Andrews and I highly recommend it to others.

You can purchase My Sweet Audrina on

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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