Seeds of Yesterday

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Seeds of Yesterday
First edition cover
Author V. C. Andrews
Country United States
Language English
Series Dollanganger Series
Genre Gothic horror
Family saga novel
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 426 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-671-72948-9 (1990 reissue)
OCLC 438301681
Preceded by If There Be Thorns (1981)
Followed by Garden of Shadows (1986)

Seeds of Yesterday is a novel written by V. C. Andrews. It is the fourth book in the Dollanganger Series. The story is once again written from the point of view of the main character, Cathy, following her from the age of 52 until her death a few years later. Cathy was born in April 1945, meaning the events in the book occur between 19972001, which was thirteen years into the future at the time the book was originally published in 1984.

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins fifteen years after the events in If There be Thorns. Cathy and Chris arrive at the house of their son, Bart, which is an exact replica of Foxworth Hall (which burned down in Petals on the Wind) to celebrate Bart's twenty-fifth birthday. They are planning on moving to Hawaii after the birthday celebration. When they arrive, they meet Joel, who they soon learn is their uncle, Corrine's brother, who was long thought dead. Joel tells them he was presumed dead in an avalanche, but had actually been taken in at a monastery to recover. He spent several years in the Italian monastery and decided to remain there. He contacted Bart after learning of Corrine's death and now works as the head butler at Bart's request. They soon learn that he is feeding Bart false information about God and punishment. Bart also begins to look at Joel as a father figure; a fact that troubles Cathy greatly. Bart is still bitter towards his mother and Chris for their incestuous relationship, so their stay is not pleasant. He has grown into a handsome young man, who is extremely jealous and power hungry, and bitter that Chris is the guardian of his money until his twenty-fifth birthday.

Bart's brother Jory also comes to see him and eventually moves in with his wife as well, adding more tension. Jory, who is almost thirty, has been married to Melodie, his childhood sweetheart and ballet partner, for nine years. Soon after they arrive, they announce that Melodie is pregnant with their first child, and Cathy is happy of becoming a grandmother. When they move in, however, Bart exhibits jealousy towards Jory, whom he always believed was Cathy's favorite child. Bart also shows an unhealthy interest in Melodie. Days later, their sister Cindy, who is now sixteen, arrives and it becomes clear that Bart still has disdain towards her. Cathy tries to make the best out of the situation until Bart's party. The happiness ends during Bart's birthday party, when Jory gets into an accident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and unable to dance again. Melodie cannot deal with Jory's disability and withdraws from Jory. Cathy tries to help Melodie reconnect with Jory, but discovers a few months later that Melodie has turned to Bart for comfort and passion, and the two have been having an affair. Cathy is enraged when she finds out about it, but when she confronts Bart he says he loves Melodie, and Cathy is unsure what to do. Bart believes Melodie loves him too, but he soon realizes it is an empty relationship and he is just a replacement for Jory. Jory finds out about the affair, and although angry, he tries to reconcile with Melodie, but she rejects him. Melodie goes into labor on Christmas Day, although she tells no one, and gives birth to twins, Darren and Deirdre, whom Cathy says resemble her twin brother and sister. Melodie has little interest in the babies, and Cathy cares for them, hoping Melodie simply has postpartum blues and will come around. But Melodie, not wanting to deal with two children and a disabled husband, abandons Jory and the children and returns to New York.

Cathy tries to console both her sons and tries to keep a firm hand on the pretty and free-spirited Cindy, who has a knack for finding boys. Bart, under the influence of Joel, hypocritically bans Cindy from premarital sexual acts under his roof even though he repeatedly slept with his brother's wife. In one incident Bart beats up a boy, Lance, when he finds Cindy having sexual intercourse with him in her room; in another, he comes across Cindy and another boy, Victor, making out in a car and again assaults the boy. Cindy later mentions to her mother that in her fear she kneed Bart in the crotch to make him stop but his rage was so great that he didn't even flinch at the supposedly crippling pain. This shows Bart's belief that what Cindy was doing was truly evil and his determination to stop her. When confronted about his hypocrisy a number of times throughout the story, Bart never attempts to justify his actions but instead responds with anger and resentment towards Cathy and Chris, always blaming them for his problems. After a long period of torment from Bart, and later Joel who disapprove of her ways, Cindy leaves to go to a school in New York.

Cathy and Chris hire a beautiful nurse, named Antonia Winters (Toni for short), to help Jory recuperate. They hope Toni and Jory will end up together, taking Jory's mind off Melodie. But Bart begins spending time with Toni and they become lovers. Bart actually seems happy with Toni, and tells Cathy that Toni told him she loves him. Cathy notices a change in Bart as a result of his relationship with Toni, such as withdrawing from Joel. Bart is even kind and pleasant to Cindy when she comes to visit. Eventually though Joel manages to influence Bart again and it sours the relationship. Toni sees the dark side of Bart after he begins to criticize her and become possessive of her, and the relationship ends. Soon after, Toni falls in love with Jory and they begin a relationship, which brings Jory out of his depression from his divorce with Melodie.

Cindy later comes home for a visit and tells Cathy of how she ran into Melodie in New York, who had apparently remarried immediately after her divorce from Jory was final and resumed her dancing career. She is happy to see that Jory and Toni are together. Bart builds a chapel, in which he commands the family to attend Sunday sermons, presided over by Joel. Cathy and Chris eventually become disgusted by the "fire and brimstone" sermons and tell Bart that they will no longer attend. Bart secretly starts bringing the twins to the chapel, where they are made to pray for forgiveness for being the "Devil's Issue", which Cathy overhears, reminding her of Cory and Carrie. She confronts Bart with this, and tells him to leave the twins alone, telling Toni never to let them out of her sight, unless she knows they are with Jory or herself. After catching Bart bring the twins back to the chapel, Cathy decides it is time to leave, after two years in Foxworth Hall. Chris agrees it is time to leave and take Jory, Cindy, and the twins with them. Cathy tells Bart of her plans, and tells him that while she loves him, she cannot deal with the kind of person he has become. A furious Bart acts as if he wants nothing more and says her leaving him again is proof that she never understood him.

Hours later, Cathy is waiting for Chris to come home from work so they can leave, but he never shows up. Joel comes and quite happily tells them that he heard on the radio of a car accident, in which a man was killed. Cathy's worst fear is confirmed later when she finds out that that man was Chris. She realizes how similar it was when their father was killed. Bart gives a moving eulogy at Chris' funeral, being remorseful and admitting that he really loved Chris and he was a good father. With the loss of Chris, a big part in Cathy dies and she loses the will to live and shuts down to everyone. Jory tells her Bart needs her, and she needs to be there for him as he is trying to make amends and be a better man now. Cathy does come back to them for Bart's sake, and she and Bart become close. Bart finds his place as a televangelist who does much good and travels the world spreading his positive ministry. Bart and Cindy also make peace with each other and become the close brother and sister Cathy always wanted them to be. Joel has left and gone back to the Italian monastery to live out his remaining days. Toni and Jory have gotten married, and Toni becomes pregnant; Jory tells Cathy that if they have a boy they will call him Christopher, and if it is a girl they will call her Catherine. Despite all these good things and the family becoming closer than before, Cathy is still depressed and does not want to live without Chris.

On her last night, Cathy goes up to the attic and sits by one of the windows and, after decorating the attic with paper flowers, dies. As she passes away, she remembers Chris, her mother, grandmother, and siblings, and how she lost her innocence to the world. Jory and a servant find a letter in Cathy's hand that she wrote, saying that no one needs her more than Chris does, that her final manuscript (the one she wrote during the course of Seeds of Yesterday and would later become that same novel) is in her private vault and anyone can do with it what they will, and that it was never too late for Bart to realize that he had the right father. It is determined that Cathy died of natural causes, but it is likely that she died of a broken heart.

Characters introduced[edit]

  • Joel Foxworth: Corinne's brother (actually half-brother, according to Garden of Shadows). He was previously mentioned in Flowers in the Attic. He was thought to have been dead but claims he was living at an Italian monastery the whole time. Like John Amos, he fills Bart's head with false beliefs about God and Hell, which he does to gain Bart's trust and earn part of Bart's inheritance. He dies of cancer.
  • Cynthia "Cindy" Sheffield: Cathy and Chris's adopted daughter. She had become an orphan at age two in If There Be Thorns after the death of her biological mother, Nicole, who was a student at Cathy's ballet school. Cindy is described as very beautiful but boy crazy and free-spirited, which often gets her in trouble. She becomes an actress. At the end of the book, Cathy sees Bart and Cindy together and feels for them the same happiness as for Jory and Toni. She is still alive.
  • Antonia 'Toni' Winters: A nurse whom Cathy and Chris hire to take care of Jory. She has a short affair with Bart, whom she saw as handsome and charming but breaks up with him after seeing his dark side. She then falls in love with Jory, who is already in love with her, and they get married. She becomes the step-mother of Deirdre and Darren. At the end, she becomes pregnant; Jory says they plan to name their child Christopher or Catherine, after his parents. She is still alive.
  • Deirdre and Darren: Twin children of Jory and Melodie, born on December 25. Jory's second wife Toni becomes their step-mother. They resemble Carrie and Cory and in appearance and personality, which causes Cathy to sometimes confuse the two sets of twins in her mind. Unlike Carrie and Cory, however, Deirdre and Darren are healthy children treated well by their grandparents. Joel, who had brainwashed Bart, also begins to brainwash the twins but he gets caught. They are both still alive.
  • Melodie: Jory's first wife and former dance partner. Mother of twins Deirdre and Darren. She loved Jory for mostly shallow reasons and is unable to cope when he's injured during a performance and left paralyzed like his father Julian. She begins an affair with Bart, whom she uses as a substitute. She divorces Jory and abandons the children to restart her dance career with a new partner whom she marries. She is still alive.
  • Trevor: The only servant whom Bart hasn't fired by the end of the book. He finds Cathy's body and letter in the attic. He is still alive.