V. C. Andrews

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V. C. Andrews
V. C. Andrews.jpg
BornCleo Virginia Andrews
(1923-06-06)June 6, 1923
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
DiedDecember 19, 1986(1986-12-19) (aged 63)
Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
GenreGothic horror
Family saga

Cleo Virginia Andrews (June 6, 1923 – December 19, 1986), better known as V. C. Andrews or Virginia C. Andrews, was an American novelist. She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and died of breast cancer at the age of 63. Following her death, many subsequent novels have been written by Andrew Neiderman, using Andrews's pen name.


Andrews's novels combine Gothic horror and family saga, revolving around family secrets and forbidden love (frequently involving themes of horrific events, and sometimes include a rags-to-riches story). Her best-known novel is the bestseller Flowers in the Attic (1979), a tale of four children smuggled into the attic of their wealthy estranged pious grandmother, and held prisoner there by their mother.

Her novels were successful enough that following Andrews's death, her estate hired a ghost writer, Andrew Neiderman, to continue to write novels to be published under her name.[1] In assessing a deficiency in her estate tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service argued (successfully) that Virginia Andrews's name was a valuable commercial asset, the value of which should be included in her gross estate.[2]

Her novels have been translated into Czech, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Swedish, Polish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Chinese, Russian and Hebrew.


Andrews was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, the youngest child and only daughter of Lillian Lilnora (Parker), a telephone operator, and William Henry Andrews, a tool-and-die maker.[3] She had two older brothers, William Jr. and Eugene. Andrews grew up attending Southern Baptist and Methodist churches.[4] As a teenager, Andrews suffered a fall from a school stairwell, resulting in severe back injuries. The subsequent surgery to correct these injuries resulted in Andrews’s suffering from crippling arthritis that required her to use crutches and a wheelchair for much of her life.[1] However, Andrews, who had always shown promise as an artist, was able to complete a four-year correspondence course from her home and soon became a successful commercial artist, illustrator, and portrait painter, using her art commissions to support the family after her father's death in 1957.[5]

Later in life, Andrews turned to writing. Her first novel, titled Gods of Green Mountain, was a science fiction effort that remained unpublished during her lifetime but was released as an e-book in 2004.[6] In 1975, Andrews completed a manuscript for a novel she called Flowers in the Attic. "I wrote it in two weeks," Andrews said.[7] The novel was returned with the suggestion that she "spice up" and expand the story. In later interviews, Andrews claims to have made the necessary revisions in a single night. The novel, published in 1979, was an instant popular success, reaching the top of the bestseller lists in only two weeks. Every year thereafter until her death, Andrews published a new novel, each publication earning Andrews larger advances and a growing popular readership.

"I think I tell a whopping good story. And I don't drift away from it a great deal into descriptive material," she stated in Faces of Fear in 1985. "When I read, if a book doesn't hold my interest in what's going to happen next, I put it down and don't finish it. So I'm not going to let anybody put one of my books down and not finish it. My stuff is a very fast read." In an interview for Twilight Magazine in 1983, Andrews was questioned about the critics' response to her work. She answered, "I don't care what the critics say. I used to, until I found out that most critics are would-be writers who are just jealous because I'm getting published and they aren't. I also don't think that anybody cares about what they say. Nor should they care."[8]

Andrews died of breast cancer on December 19, 1986, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[9] After her death, her family hired a ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman, to finish the manuscripts she had started. He would complete the next two novels, Garden of Shadows and Fallen Hearts, and they were published soon after. These two novels are considered the last to bear the "V.C. Andrews" name and to be almost completely written by Andrews herself.


By V.C. Andrews and Andrew Neiderman[edit]

The Dollanganger series[edit]

Andrews's first series of novels was published between 1979[1] and 1986.

Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind focus on the children: Chris, Cathy, Cory, and Carrie, who, after losing their father in an accident, are imprisoned in an attic by their mother and grandmother; Flowers in the Attic tells of their incarceration, the death of one child, and subsequent escape of the other three,[1] with Petals on the Wind picking up directly after. With If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday, the story also includes Cathy's children, Jory and Bart, after a mysterious woman and her butler move in next door, gradually turning Bart against his parents. Garden of Shadows is a prequel which tells the grandparents' story, and also how the parents became involved.


The Casteel series[edit]

The five novels making up the last known series started by Andrews were published between 1985 and 1990. Only the first two appeared before her death. This series traces the lives of a troubled West Virginia family, originally from the viewpoint of Heaven, a young girl whose mother died during childbirth and has a love/hate relationship with her father, and, later, to Heaven's daughter, Annie, with the fifth and final novel centering on Leigh, her mother.

By Andrew Neiderman[edit]

The Cutler series[edit]

This series was written entirely by Neiderman. This covers nearly 80 years of the history of the Cutler family. The first three books, Dawn, Secrets of the Morning, and Twilight's Child, follow the character of Dawn from her childhood to her marriage and subsequent return to the Cutler mansion. Midnight Whispers focuses on Dawn's daughter Christie. Darkest Hour, the last book in the series, goes back in time to focus on Dawn's step-grandmother, Lillian.

The Landry series[edit]

This series of novels by Andrew Neiderman focuses on the Landry family; Ruby Landry, her daughter Pearl, and Ruby's mother Gabrielle (referred to as Gabriel in Tarnished Gold). The novels, set in the Louisiana bayou, were published between 1994 and 1996.

  • Ruby (1994)
  • Pearl in the Mist (1994)
  • All That Glitters (1995)
  • Hidden Jewel (1995)
  • Tarnished Gold (1996)

The Logan series[edit]

The series by Andrew Neiderman follows Melody Logan from a West Virginia trailer park to Cape Cod as she helps her relatives deal with the problems they'd rather bury. Melody stars as the main character in Melody, Heart Song, and Unfinished Symphony. The fourth book, Music in the Night, tells the tale of Melody's cousin, Laura, who died before the events of the first book. The fifth book, Olivia, serves as a prequel, with the main character being Melody's great-aunt Olivia.

  • Melody (1996)
  • Heart Song (1997)
  • Unfinished Symphony (1997)
  • Music in the Night (1998)
  • Olivia (1999)

The Orphans series[edit]

The Orphans series by Andrew Neiderman focuses on the lives of four teenage orphans, Janet (Butterfly), Crystal, Brooke, and Raven, who are sent to the Lakewood House foster home.

  • Butterfly (1998)
  • Crystal (1998)
  • Brooke (1998)
  • Raven (1998)
  • Runaways (1998)
  • Orphans (2000) (omnibus)

The Wildflowers series[edit]

The Wildflowers series by Andrew Neiderman is about a group of girls in court-ordered group therapy and why they were ordered to attend. The first four serve as prequels to the therapy sessions while the last one deals with what happened after. The sixth book is the collection of the first four stories in the series.

  • Misty (1999)
  • Star (1999)
  • Jade (1999)
  • Cat (1999)
  • Into the Garden (1999)
  • The Wildflowers (2001) (omnibus)

The Hudson series[edit]

The Hudson series by Andrew Neiderman tells the story of Rain Arnold Hudson, a child conceived in a biracial affair between a black man and a wealthy white woman. Her story is told in Rain, Lightning Strikes, and Eye of the Storm. The fourth book, The End of the Rainbow, is the story of her daughter Summer. The series had ended with only four books until a prequel, titled Gathering Clouds, was announced. The book was released alongside the movie adaptation of Rain and revealed the story of Rain's birth mother.

  • Rain (2000)
  • Lightning Strikes (2000)
  • Eye of the Storm (2000)
  • The End of the Rainbow (2001)
  • Gathering Clouds (2007, contained within the Rain movie DVD, released on May 29, 2007)

The Shooting Stars series[edit]

The Shooting Stars series by Andrew Neiderman tells the stories of four girls, each with a different background, upbringing, and talent. The first four books each focus on one of the girls, Cinnamon, an actress who deals with her domineering grandmother, Ice, a vocalist whose mother wishes she never had a daughter, Rose, a dancer who deals with the ramifications of her father's suicide, and Honey, a violinist whose grandfather sees sin in everything. The final book is Falling Stars, told from Honey's point of view, in which the four girls meet at the Senetsky School for the Arts in New York where they try to uncover the secrets of their instructor, Madame Senetsky.

  • Cinnamon (2001)
  • Ice (2001)
  • Rose (2001)
  • Honey (2001)
  • Falling Stars (2001)
  • Shooting Stars (2002) (omnibus)

The DeBeers series[edit]

The DeBeers family series by Andrew Neiderman is the story of Willow DeBeers, who learns from her father's diary that her real mother had been a patient of her father's. The first two books, Willow and Wicked Forest cover her meeting with her mother and half-brother in Palm Beach, Florida, her marriage which ends on a sour note, and the birth of her daughter Hannah, who is the main character in Twisted Roots. Into the Woods is the first prequel to the series about Grace, Willow's mother, and what led to her being admitted to the hospital. Hidden Leaves and Dark Seed are both told from the perspective of Willow's father, Claude, and tell how he met Grace and how Willow was born. Some novels in the DeBeers series feature letters from characters from other V.C. Andrews novels, such as Ruby Landry and Annie Stonewall.

  • Willow (2002)
  • Wicked Forest (2002)
  • Twisted Roots (2002)
  • Into the Woods (2003)
  • Hidden Leaves (2003)
  • Dark Seed (2001) (an e-book included with Hidden Leaves)

The Broken Wings series[edit]

The Broken Wing series by Andrew Neiderman is about three juvenile delinquents, Robin Taylor, Teal Sommers, and Phoebe Elder, who each act out for various reasons. They are sent to Dr. Foreman's School for Girls, run by the abusive Dr. Foreman, in an isolated part of the Southwest.

  • Broken Wings (2003)
  • Midnight Flight (2003)

The Gemini series[edit]

The Gemini series follows Celeste, a young girl who is forced to take on the identity of her dead twin brother Noble by her New Age fanatic mother. Celeste's story is followed in Celeste and Black Cat. The third book, Child of Darkness, is about Celeste's daughter Baby Celeste.

  • Celeste (2004)
  • Black Cat (2004)
  • Child of Darkness (2005)

The Shadows series[edit]

The Shadows series is about a teenage girl named April Taylor, who is short, not overly talented or popular, and fat. The first book focuses on April's relationship with her athletic older sister Brenda and the deaths of their parents. The second book focuses on April's adventures after moving in with a foster family in California.

  • April Shadows (2005)
  • Girl in the Shadows (2006)

The Early Spring series[edit]

The only novel from "The V. C. Andrews Trust", through which Neiderman has written the novels that followed Andrews's death, to feature a little girl throughout the book. Jordan March, unlike every other V.C. Andrews main character, all of whom are 12 or 16, starts out as 6, then turns 7. It is about a little girl who is developing too fast.

  • Broken Flower (October 2006)
  • Scattered Leaves (February 2007)

The Secrets series[edit]

According to Neiderman, this series will "follow the story of two small-town girls, a murder, and the attic they use and develop into something very special." Neiderman explains that the two books were slightly inspired by a true story.

  • Secrets in the Attic (September 2007)
  • Secrets in the Shadows (April 2008)

The Delia series[edit]

The Delia series revolves around a young Latina girl (Delia), whose parents died in a truck accident in Mexico and how she must now cope with fitting into her aunt's wealthy and sometimes cruel Mexican-American family.

  • Delia's Crossing (September 2008)
  • Delia's Heart (December 2008)
  • Delia's Gift (February 2009)

The Heavenstone series[edit]

  • Heavenstone Secrets (2009)
  • Secret Whispers (March 2010)

The Kindred series[edit]

  • Daughter of Darkness (2010)
  • Daughter of Light (2012)

The March Family series[edit]

  • Family Storms (2011)
  • Cloudburst (2011)

The Forbidden series[edit]

  • The Forbidden Sister (2013)
  • The Forbidden Heart [e-book] (2013)
  • Roxy's Story (2013)

The Diary series[edit]

The Mirror Sisters Series[edit]

  • The Mirror Sisters (2016)
  • Broken Glass (2017)
  • Shattered Memories (2017)

The Girls of Spindrift Series[edit]

This is a spin-off series from Bittersweet Dreams published in e-book form.

  • Corliss (2017)
  • Donna (2017)
  • Mayfair (2018)
  • Spindrift (2018)

The House of Secrets series[edit]

  • House of Secrets (2018)
  • Echoes in the Walls (2018)
  • Whispering Hearts (2020)

The Attic series[edit]

  • Beneath the Attic (2019)[10]
  • Out of the Attic (2020)
  • Shadows of Foxworth (2020)

The Umbrella series[edit]

  • The Umbrella Lady (2021)
  • Out of the Rain (October 5, 2021)

Other works[edit]

Stand-alone works by V.C. Andrews[edit]

  • Gods of Green Mountain (1972), a science fiction novel currently only available in e-book format.

By Andrew Neiderman[edit]

  • Into the Darkness (2012)
  • Capturing Angels [e-book] (2012)
  • The Unwelcomed Child (2014)
  • Bittersweet Dreams (2015)
  • Sage's Eyes (2016)
  • The Silhouette Girl (2019)
  • Becoming My Sister (February 8, 2022) [11]

Short stories (by Andrew Neiderman and inspired by Andrews's artwork)[edit]

  • Cage of Love (2001)
  • The Little Psychic (2001)


  • The V.C. Andrews Trivia and Quiz Book (1994)
  • V.C. Andrews: A Critical Companion (1996)
  • V.C. Andrews: A Reader's Checklist and Reference Guide (1999)
  • V.C. Andrews: Her Life and Books (2010)
  • The Woman Beyond the Attic: The Virginia Andrews Story by Andrew Neiderman (February 1, 2022)[12]

Film adaptations[edit]

Television movie adaptations[edit]

  • Ruby (Lifetime, 2021)
  • Pearl in the Mist (Lifetime, 2021)
  • All that Glitters (Lifetime, 2021)
  • Hidden Jewel (Lifetime, 2021)


  1. ^ a b c d Flood, Alison (November 14, 2019). "'Awful and fabulous': the madness of Flowers in the Attic". The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Estate of Andrews v. United States, 850 F.Supp.1279 (E.D. Va. 1994)
  3. ^ https://www.completevca.com/bio_bio.shtml
  5. ^ Huntley, E. D. (1996). V.C. Andrews: A Critical Companion. Greenwood Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780313294488. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Andrews, V.C. (2004). Gods of Green Mountain. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780671554583. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Carcaterra, Lorenzo (June 1983). "V.C. Andrews & 'all those beautifully bizarre little things'". The Twilight Zone Magazine. p. 28.
  8. ^ Carcaterra, Lorenzo (June 1983). "V.C. Andrews & 'all those beautifully bizarre little things'". The Twilight Zone Magazine: 29.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  9. ^ Campbell, Edward D. C., Jr. "V. C. Andrews (1923–1986)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  10. ^ "Book Deals: Week of June 11, 2018".
  11. ^ Andrews, V. C. Becoming My Sister. ISBN 1982156317.
  12. ^ Neiderman, Andrew. The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story. ISBN 1982182636.

External links[edit]