The Dollanganger Series
Ghost Writer
Series Name
Dollanganger Series
Simon & Schuster
Publication Date
Preceded by

Garden of Shadows starts with a tall, plain Olivia being rescued from spinsterhood by the smart and handsome Malcolm Foxworth. She thinks she has found "the one" since this is the first man to ever show interest in her due to her height and plain appearance.They soon get married and Olivia leaves her New London family home, Croxteth Hall, and moves to Malcolm's father's manor, Foxworth Hall, in West Virginia, where Olivia starts to discover the dark secrets about Malcolm that start to kill her love for him.

She discovers he is still tormented by his beautiful mother Corinne’s "abandonment" of him when he was five and that it was Olivia's plain looks and money that attracted him to her due to his hatred of beautiful women.

When exploring the house, she discovers the Swan Room that belonged to Malcolm’s mother and has been kept as a shrine to her. When Malcolm discovers her in the room, they finally consummate the marriage, an act that could be considered more of an attack than an act of love; Malcolm saying his mother's name as they finish. Olivia wants to scream but doesn't, trying to save their humiliation from the servants.

Nine months later, Olivia gives birth to a boy, Malcolm, who is generally referred to as Mal so it would be easier to distinguish between him and his father. Two years later, she gives birth to a second son, Joel, after which she cannot have any more children. Malcolm ignores the boys for the rest of their lives because he can’t have a perfect daughter to remind him that all beautiful women are wicked and deceitful.

Malcolm’s father, Garland, comes back to Foxworth Hall with his new wife, Alicia. Olivia is disgusted to see she is only nineteen and very beautiful, and Malcolm is enraged to discover she is pregnant, thinking that her child will inherit part of Garland's fortune. She gives birth to a son, whom she names Christopher. Edit

However, Malcolm falls in love with Alicia. When she spurns his advances, he is convinced that she is leading him on and vows to make her pay dearly.

On the night of Christopher’s third birthday, Garland catches Malcolm trying to rape Alicia, has a heart attack, and dies in the fight that follows. Then, Alicia confesses to Olivia that Malcolm has been doing this regularly and she is pregnant again. Olivia is humiliated and jealous. This is the moment when she hardens herself and begins to slowly transform into the vicious grandmother from Flowers in the Attic.

Olivia decides that the only thing to do is hide Alicia up in the attic while she is pregnant and then pass the baby off as hers. Alicia reluctantly says goodbye to Christopher. But while locked away in the attic Malcolm continues to see her and take advantage of her loneliness. So, to make her less attractive to Malcolm, Olivia coerces Alicia into cutting off her beautiful chestnut hair, which Olivia leaves on Malcolm’s desk to show that she now is the one in control.

Over the months that pass, Olivia begins to think of Christopher as her new son and is heartbroken when Alicia gives birth to a daughter and leaves quietly, taking Christopher with her. However, Olivia is soon enraged when she discovers Malcolm has named his new child Corinne after his mother and plans for her nursery to be next to his study. He acts like an only parent to the young Corinne, overriding all attempts by Olivia to raise her to be a proper young woman.

In the years that pass, Corinne grows up into a beautiful but spoiled young girl, and Malcolm Jr. dies in a motorcycling accident that resulted in him riding off a cliff near Foxworth Hall. Later, John Amos, Olivia's cousin, is hired as the butler and also serves to incorporate religion in the household. Soon after, Joel leaves on a tour of Europe with a professional orchestra and is famed in several European newspapers.


Unfortunately, Joel meets his end in an avalanche. His parents are informed of his death in a telegram that also revealed that his body was not recovered. Olivia and Malcolm turn to religion and bond slightly until Olivia receives a letter from Alicia,who is dying from breast cancer, she is pleading with her to give Christopher a home and put him through medical school. Olivia convinces Malcolm to acquiesce, and Christopher comes to live with them.

When they meet for the first time, Corinne and Christopher fall deeply in love. Everyone is blinded from this love, however, as they all adore Christopher. But later, John Amos begins to suspect incest, although Olivia brushes it off as jealousy.

Then, Olivia discovers Christopher and Corinne making love in the Swan Room. They are banished and cursed, and he and Corinne are disowned. Malcolm has a stroke as well as a heart attack afterward, and he is forced to use a wheelchair. Olivia soon reveals to John Amos that Christopher was not Corinne's half uncle but her half brother. She also tells of the sins and events that led to it.

Malcolm is a changed man after the discovery of Chris and Corinne's scandal. Finally, he breaks and asks Olivia to hire a private detective to find out what happened to Corinne. The P.I. returns and informs Olivia that they live in Gladstone, PA under the name of Dollanganger. She is also told of their bright, beautiful children, Chris, Cathy, and the twins, Cory and Carrie.

Years later, Corinne writes a letter to Olivia, seeking shelter and telling of Christopher's death by a car accident. Olivia allows her to return to Foxworth Hall with her children. The book ends with Olivia silently vowing to hide the children from the world forever.

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