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May 17, 2015

4 Star #Review #Giveaway of Secret Brother (The Diaries #3) by V.C. Andrews

The most unexpected Dollanganger story of them all, new from the author of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind—both now major Lifetime movie events.

A young boy suffers amnesia from a trauma he suffered in what feels like must have been another life. He’s adopted into a wealthy family—but what will happen when he learns the truth about his past?
 About the Author
One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of Flowers in the Attic, first in the renowned Dollanganger family series which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. The family saga continues with Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of FoxworthChristopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger, and Secret Brother. V.C. Andrews has written more than seventy novels, which have sold over 106 million copies worldwide and been translated into twenty-five foreign languages.



From Chapter 1

Just like when I heard the terrible news about our parents and the news years later about Grandma Arnold, I didn’t cry immediately. Something inside me wouldn’t let me understand what I was being told. The words kept floating away like tiny bubbles caught in a breeze and bursting before I could bring them back. Nevertheless, I knew. Deep inside, where I went to find love and hope, where my best dreams were on shelves waiting to be plucked like books and opened during sleep, a cold, dark realization boiled and threatened to spill over and into every part of me. I fought it back, but it was oozing in everywhere. Despite my effort, I knew I would be soaked in the dark sadness in moments and be unable to deny it.

We had retreated to the lobby in silence, Grandpa resting his large right hand over the back of my neck and me clutching his shirt with my left hand. We needed to keep touching each other, comforting each other.

We sat on a pair of chairs facing the exam rooms. He held my hand and stared ahead; his face had never been more stone-cold. Somehow all the noise around us seemed to disappear. It was as if I had lost my hearing. We were waiting now to learn about Myra. She was having an X-ray. Would she die, too? Suddenly, my grandfather looked up. The doctor he had first spoken to was out in the hallway again, this time talking to a nurse. Grandpa rose and walked over to him. I couldn’t imagine what he was asking, but whatever he said interested the doctor. Moments later, he was leading my grandfather back toward the exam rooms. I saw them disappear around a turn. Maybe Grandpa was finding out about Myra, I thought.

I certainly didn’t move. I didn’t know if I could even stand. My legs were still trembling. I was afraid to look at anyone, even though I could feel people staring at me. Had they heard about Willie? Were they waiting to see me crumple up in uncontrollable sobs? Some looked terrified themselves.

For some reason, I began to wonder what my friends were doing at that moment. Were they planning lunch, watching television, talking on the phone and giggling about silly things? What were Willie’s teachers doing? Was anyone else anywhere thinking about him? How tense was the atmosphere around my grandfather’s estate? Was anyone laughing or smiling? Were they all holding their breath, waiting for a phone call? Did someone call the hospital?

I looked at a little boy who was holding his mother’s hand and had the thumb of his other hand in his mouth while he bounced against her. Most people avoided looking at one another. A look might bring bad news. Everyone’s eyes appeared shut down, as if they had turned to glass.

Finally, my grandfather came back around the corner, obviously having realized he had left me sitting there. He beckoned to me, and I hurried to join him. Maybe what we were told was untrue. Maybe Willie didn’t die after all.

“They’re putting a cast on Myra’s left arm. It was broken, and she has three fractured ribs, a few bruises, and a slight concussion. It’ll be a while,” he said.

Our concern was no surprise. Myra was part of our family now. Grandpa Arnold and Grandma Arnold’s housekeeper of many, many years, Myra Potter became our nanny the day the terrible news arrived from Italy. She had also been a nanny for my mother and her younger brother, Uncle Bobby. A business associate of my grandpa had recommended Myra, who had been working for a Lord and Lady Willowsby in London. She came to America to work for my grandparents after Lady Willowsby died and Lord Willowsby moved to Cornwall to live with his son and daughter-in-law. Neither Grandpa nor I could imagine the house without Myra. She treated everything in it like her personal possessions and was, according to my grandmother, “more protective of it and your grandfather than I am.”

Myra was barely five feet four but had gray-black eyes that seemed to double in size when something annoyed or angered her. She had a habitually stern, lean face on which smiles seemed to bubble up from some hidden place whenever she permitted them. I knew the maids my grandparents had were terrified of her, most not lasting more than six months; the grounds people, the gardeners, the pool man, and anyone who came onto the property to do any work made sure she was happy with what they were doing, even before my grandpa had a look at it.

“But what about Willie?” I asked now, hoping to hear a different answer.

He shook his head. His face was still ashen gray. When my grandfather was deeply upset about something, he seemed to close up every part of himself through which rage or emotion could escape. The steam built up inside him and made him look like he might explode. The only indication came in the way his hands and lips trembled slightly. Anyone who didn’t know him well would probably not notice or would notice when it was already too late, especially if he was angry. And then, as Grandma Arnold used to say, “Pity the fool who got his engine started!”

Grandpa Arnold was always the biggest and strongest man ever in my eyes. He was six feet three and at least two hundred twenty pounds of mostly muscle. He owned one of the country’s biggest trucking companies. He had been a truck driver himself, and because he hated the long days and weeks of separation from his family, he had put together his own company and built it to where it was today. It was even on the stock market now. I had no idea how rich my grandfather was, but to most people who knew us, he seemed to be the richest man in the country. Wherever he went, people practically leaped out of their skin to please him.

He put his hand on my shoulder and then brought me into a hug. We stood while nurses and doctors went around us as if we weren’t there, which made it feel more like a dream.

“Come on,” he said when he stopped hugging me. He took my hand and led me down the hallway to another room, where a nurse and a doctor were working around a very small boy. Despite the scary-looking equipment and the wires and tubes attached to him, the boy didn’t even whimper. He didn’t cry, and unlike any other child his age, he didn’t call for his mother. He was lying there with his cerulean-blue eyes wide open but looking as glassy and frozen as the eyes of the worried people in the lobby. His pale face seemed to be fading into the milk-white pillow, making his flaxen hair more golden. I thought he looked like a fallen cherub, an angel who had floated onto the hospital bed and was still too stunned to speak.

“What happened to him?” I asked, sniffing back my tears.

“They say he was poisoned.”

“Poisoned?”



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3 comments:

Deanna Stevens said...

I don't recall seeing the movies but I have read Flowers In The Attic... dkstevensne AToutlookDoTCoM

Jennifer T said...

I haven't seen the movies. And I haven't read the books either.

Wayne Chambers said...

I loved the movies & books. The remakes of the first two movies by lifetime were perfect!

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