Friday, 7 August 2020

Review - Shadows of Foxworth by V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman)

The name V.C. Andrews use to mean something to readers, even long after the real V.C. Andrews’s death. The original Flower in the Attic books (otherwise known as The Dollanganger Family series) were dark and beautifully written masterpieces, minus the prequel, Garden of Shadows, which the ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman, finished. Despite the series having a beginning and ending, the publishers decided there needed to be side-sequels and more prequels. Instead of hiring a new ghostwriter with Gothic talents, they stuck with the aging Andrew Neiderman, whose writing skills have diminished in recent years. 

Beneath the Attic, the first book in the new prequel trilogy, centered on Corrine Dixon, a spoiled rich teenager who falls in love with the older Garland Foxworth. The sequel, Out of the Attic, chronicled Corrine's difficulties of being married to a workaholic, and her failed attempt to raise their son, Malcolm. She falls in love with an artist and runs away with him, leaving behind Garland to raise their son.

Shadows of Foxworth centers on Marlena Hunter, whose life is turned upside down after her parents die in a car accident in France. She and her brother, Yvon, have to move to Richmond, Virginia to live with relatives. To sum things up, the siblings learn their mother’s actual name is Corrine Dixon, which makes it weird when Marlena starts a relationship with Malcolm Foxworth. 

Final Thoughts

How much incest can be in one family?

I disliked Beneath the Attic and Out of the Attic because they're poorly written and pointless. They add nothing new to the Dollanganger saga, and, sadly, Shadows of Foxworth is just as bad.

What year does the story take place?

No date is ever mentioned. I’m taking a wild guess that Andrew Neiderman had no clue when the story took place when he wrote the damn thing.

Who edited this?

Whoever the editor is, Gallery Books should fire him or her for doing a hack job. The narration is dull as a rock. The story is from the point-of-view of Marlena, a teenage girl who talks like an 80-year-old man. Oh, what a minute. The ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman, will be 80 years old in October. The main jest I have with Neiderman's recent outings is his characters all sound alike. They’re generic, one-dimensional characters with poorly written dialogue.

The Dollanganger Family series should have ended with the Garden of Shadows, which is still debatable if V.C. Andrews wrote any of it before her death in 1986. Her family (and publisher) hired Andrew Neiderman to finish the stories she left unwritten and to create other tales under her pen name. While the Garden of Shadows isn’t a bad read, it contains many characters and timeline errors that an editor should have caught before publication. These inconsistencies have continued in the recent sequels and prequels.

Overall, Shadows of Foxworth is the rock bottom of the Dollanganger series. It’s hands down the worst book I have ever read. Andrew Neiderman should be ashamed of himself for writing pure garbage. Gallery Books should either quit publishing books under V.C. Andrews’ name or fire Andrew Neiderman and replace him with a writer who can create original plots, three-dimensional characters, and Gothic descriptions. There are two more titles, Whispering Hearts and The Umbrella Lady, to-be-released, and let us pray that they’ll be the last titles ghostwritten by Neiderman.

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