If There Be Thorns is a 2015 Lifetime movie that is based on the novel by V.C. Andrews. It aired on the Lifetime channel in on April 5, 2015.


Six years after Petals on the Wind, Cathy and Chris are happily married and living in California with Cathy's sons, Jory and Bart. Jory is popular and talented in ballet, while Bart is a loner and feels outshone by his brother, and his main interest is insects. One day, a woman dressed in all black moves into the mansion next door, and invites Bart and Jory over for milk and cookies. She tells them that she is rich but has no family other than her butler, John Amos. She takes a picture of them for keepsake and asks them to visit her more often. Jory declines but Bart accepts after she tells him she will give him anything he likes. Bart is curious about his biological father and why he doesn't have any other relatives. Jory explains that their maternal grandmother is in a mental hospital and Chris' relatives are dead. Corrine lavishes gifts and treats on Bart, including a pet python he wanted, and tells him that she is his grandmother, Corrine. John Amos gives Bart a journal that belonged to his great-grandfather, Malcolm, and makes him promise to never reveal it to his family. Bart reads how Malcolm referred to beautiful women as sinful and degrading, which begins to envelope his mind, especially since he often witnesses his parents and brother with his girlfriend engage in sexual activities.

One night, Cathy places twin beds in the attic but denies that she plans to put the boys in the attic; she is just worried of losing them if her and Chris' secret is revealed. She pleads with Chris to adopt Cindy, whose mother is dying from cancer, and he agrees in order to calm her down and assures her that no one will take their children from them. They find Bart missing and discover him in the woods unconscious due to an infected cut on his arm, leading him to be hospitalized. He starts to suspect that his parents are keeping secrets from him and confronts Corrine about a painting of a boy who resembles Chris because he was told that his mother stopped talking to her before meeting Chris. Corrine confesses that Cathy and Chris are both of her children, much to his horror and disgust. This causes him to withdraw and lash out to his parents and brother. John Amos continues to influence Bart about his parents' sins and Bart tries pressuring Corrine to tell him about his biological father. Jory finds the family dog dead and suspects that Bart is responsible (it is later revealed that John Amos was the culprit), but Bart denies this. Jory orders him to stay away from Corrine because he thinks she is at fault for the change in him but Bart threatens to tell their parents about him having sex with his girlfriend, Melodie, in the attic if Jory tells on him about the dog. Pressured by Bart, Corrine admits that his real father was her second husband and Cathy seduced him to get back at her, and Corrine wants Bart to become the son she never had with his father. Bart has been resentful towards Cindy since Cathy and Chris adopted her, and tries to drown her but is stopped by Jory. Chris locks him in the attic as punishment, and Bart shouts at him as "devil's spawn" and "fornicating his sister", revealing that he knows their secret.

Bart is put in a mental hospital and insists that Malcolm tried to drown Cindy, leading the doctor to think he suffers from a mild case of schizophrenia. Jory confronts Corrine and she tells him that Cathy and Chris are siblings, which disgusts him. He tells Chris that Corrine is living next door to them, and he goes to confront her. Corrine asks for Chris to forgive her and let her be part of her grandsons' lives, but she asks to raise Bart as her own. Chris angrily rejects her and threatens to lock her away for good if she doesn't leave them alone. At Cindy's dance recital, Cathy sees Corrine in the audience and injures her leg when she accidentally falls. Jory's paternal grandmother unexpectedly shows up for a visit, but it is revealed that a couple of years ago, she threatened to turn Cathy and Chris over to the police for incest and take custody of Jory if Chris didn't give her money for her dance studio. She has decided to take Jory regardless, putting Cathy on edge. She tells Cathy that it's best for Jory to live with her and his living situation is unhealthy for him, pointing out how "nuts" Bart is. Bart storms out of the house with Cathy following him, and he goes to John Amos for help. He tells Bart that if he can't deal with the sins and hypocrisy, then he should never be with Corrine again because she is a sinner like his parents; he explains that she has committed incest with her half-uncle and Bart's parents were the result. Bart then asks what should he do to pay for their sins.

Cathy arrives at Corrine's mansion to find Bart and sees a portrait of her siblings and herself. She and Corrine come face-to-face, and Cathy orders her to leave her family alone because she hates her for giving them up for money and locking them in the attic for three years. Corrine pleads for forgiveness and insists that she simply made bad decisions, but Cathy rejects her and blames her for ruining the life she and Chris worked hard to build. Corrine asks Cathy is she loves Chris, which she confirms and blames Corrine for this. John Amos knocks both women out and forces Bart to lock them in the barn. John Amos reveals to Corrine that he is disgusted with her incestuous relationship with her half-uncle and how she turned her once great family into one tangled in sins. He had hoped that she wanted to move on and redeem herself after giving her children up, but now that she wants them back, he intends to put an end to the sins in the family by burning them alive. Bart doesn't want them to die and fights against John Amos but runs to get Chris. John Amos sets the barn on fire while Bart gets Chris and they rush to save Cathy and Corrine. Thinking they are about to die, Corrine professes her love to Cathy and her siblings, and Cathy embraces her to show she forgives her mother. Chris manages to rescue Cathy and Bart runs to save Corrine but is attacked by John Amos. Corrine stabs him with a fire poker and gives Bart enough time to escape as she and John Amos die in the fire.

Realizing how much he loves his family, Jory decides to remain with his parents and threatens his grandmother that he will never see or speak to her again if she reports Cathy and Chris. Bart calms down and things start to return to normal. However, Bart is secretly starting to dress like Malcolm and is still carrying around his journal, hinting that he has not fully recovered from his madness.


  • Rachael Carpani as Catherine Dollanganger
  • Jason Lewis as Christopher Dollanganger
  • Mason Cook as Bart Jr.
  • Jedidiah Goodacre as Jory Marquet
  • Heather Graham as Corrine Foxworth

Differences Between Book and FilmEdit

  • In the book, Jory was 14 and Bart was 9 (later turned 10); in the film, Jory is around the same age but Bart is 12.
  • In the book, Cindy is two when Cathy and Chris adopt her; in the film, she appears about 5-years-old.
  • In the book, Chris was against adopting Cindy at first and took him a while to come around after Cathy signed the paperwork without his consent; in the film, he agreed without arguing over it and willingly went along with the adoption.
  • In the book, Corrine wore long black cloaks and her face had scars from her scaring it with her nails; in the film, she often wore black dresses (sometimes she wore colorful outfits) and had no scars on her face.
  • In the book, Corrine married John Amos for unexplained reasons; in the film, he was simply her butler.
  • In the book, John Amos wanted to kill Corrine and Cathy because he felt he deserved the Foxworth inheritance more than Corrine did; in the film, he was disgusted with how Corrine turned her once great family into one filled with incest and sins.
  • In the book, Bart asked for a pony as a pet from Corrine but got a dog instead; in the film, he wanted a python and she gave him one.
  • In the book, Jory is with Chris when he confronts Corrine about living next door to them before Jory learns the truth about his parents' relationship; in the film, Chris goes alone after Jory learns the truth.
  • In the book, Corrine sees less of Jory due to his belief that she is insane; in the film, she interacts with him more.
  • In the book, John Amos's influence over Bart was that of how Malcolm though women were evil and degrading; in the film, it was over how sinful and hypocrisy his family is.
  • In the book, John Amos intended to starve Corrine and Cathy to death, and the fire was started when a struggle between mother and daughter knocked a candle over; in the film, he planned to burn them alive and set the fire with a lighter.
  • In the book, Jory didn't engage in sexual activity with his girlfriend; in the film, he frequently has sex with her, often in the attic of his house.
  • In the book, it is Jory who often witnesses sexual encounters between Cathy and Chris; in the film, it is Bart.
  • In the book, Bart cuts his arm with a nail in the barn at Corrine's mansion and spent his 10th birthday in the hospital; in the film, he cut his arm while exploring Corrine's mansion and dint miss his birthday while in the hospital.
  • In the book, Jory's grandmother visits on holidays and didn't discover Cathy and Chris' relationship until Jory mentioned that Paul Sheffield (Cathy's second husband) was dead; in the film, she blackmailed Chris into giving her money in return she wouldn't report him and Cathy to the police and stayed out of their lives.
  • In the book, Corrine sits a hard wooden rocking chair to punish herself for her crimes against her children; in the film, there is no hard wooden rocking chair.
  • In the book, Cathy always had an injury to her foot, and after the accident and was told she would never dance again, she began writing her life story; in the film, she never had any problems with her foot and was injured after she saw Corrine in the audience, and she never wrote about her life.
  • In the book, Bart physically assaulted Jory, hacked Cindy's hair off and tried to drown her; in the film, he only tries to drown Cindy.
  • In the book, Chris spanks Bart in the barn as punishment for his actions; in the film, he locked Bart in the attic.
  • In the book, Cathy attacks Corrine as soon as she unmasks her; in the film, she simply lashes out at her for coming back into their lives and asking for forgiveness.

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