Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Garden of Shadows (Dollanganger)

V. C. Andrews




  Be sure to read the shocking story of the Dollanganger Family:






  Look for the spellbinding Casteel series:






  Don’t miss the dazzling Cutler Family series:






  Discover the enthralling world of the Landry series:







  Good-bye to my father’s face of pity and to my own forlorn look in the mirror. A man, most handsome and elegant, had come calling and then had asked for my hand in marriage.

  I hurried upstairs and sat before the dollhouse. I would live in a big house with servants. We would entertain with elaborate dinner parties. In time we would be envied by all.

  “Just like I have envied you,” I said to the porcelain family within the dollhouse.

  I was to become Olivia Foxworth, Mrs. Malcolm Neal Foxworth. My life would no longer be colored gray. No, from now on it would be blue—blue as the sun-filled skies of a cloudless day. Blue as Malcolm’s eyes.

  Like any woman stupidly believing in love, I never realized that the blue sky I saw was not the soft, nurturing sky of spring, but the cold, chilling, lonely sky of winter …

  V.C. Andrews® Books

  The Dollanganger Family Series

  Flowers in the Attic

  Petals on the Wind

  If There Be Thorns

  Seeds of Yesterday

  Garden of Shadows

  The Casteel Family Series


  Dark Angel

  Fallen Hearts

  Gates of Paradise

  Web of Dreams

  The Cutler Family Series


  Secrets of the Morning

  Twilight’s Child

  Midnight Whispers

  Darkest Hour

  The Landry Family Series


  Pearl in the Mist

  All That Glitters

  Hidden Jewel

  Tarnished Gold

  The Logan Family Series


  Heart Song

  Unfinished Symphony

  Music in the Night


  My Sweet Audrina

  (does not belong to a series)

  The Orphans Miniseries





  Runaways (full-length novel)

  The Wildflowers Miniseries





  Into the Garden (full-length novel)

  The Hudson Family Series


  Lightning Strikes

  Eye of the Storm

  The End of the Rainbow

  The Shooting Stars Series





  Falling Stars

  The De Beers Family Series


  Wicked Forest

  Twisted Roots

  Into the Woods

  Hidden Leaves

  The Broken Wings Series

  Broken Wings

  Midnight Flight

  The Gemini Series


  Following the death of Virginia Andrews, the Andrews family worked with a carefully selected writer to organize and complete Virginia Andrews’ stories and to create additional novels, of which this is one, inspired by her storytelling genius.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

  An Original Publication of POCKET BOOKS

  POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  Copyright © 1989 by the Virginia C. Andrews Trust and the Vanda General Partnership

  Cover art copyright © 1987 Steve Huston

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  ISBN: 0-671-72942-X

  eISBN: 978-1-4516-3725-0

  First Pocket Books printing November 1987

  30 29 28 27 26 25

  POCKET STAR BOOKS and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Virginia Andrews is a registered trademark of the Vanda General Partnership.

  For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-800-456-6798 or [email protected]

  Printed in the U.S.A.



  I have been forced to leave this record. Had others not decided to tell my story for their own gain, the secrets of the Foxworths would have been buried in my grave with me. Cruelty comes in many forms—ignorance is one of them. Because of ignorance, I have been judged. Now I have gone to Him, the only judge whose verdict matters, and accepted His pronouncement on my soul. Those of you who remain below will here come to know the true story. And knowing the truth, judge me if you dare.

  Olivia Winfield Foxworth




  The First Bud of Spring

  WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, MY FATHER BOUGHT ME A priceless handcrafted dollhouse. It was a magical miniature world, with beautiful tiny porcelain dolls, furniture, even paintings and chandeliers and rugs all made to scale. But the house was enclosed in a glass case and I was never allowed to touch the family inside—indeed, I was not even permitted to touch the glass case, for fear of leaving smudges. Dainty things had always been at peril in my large hands, and the dollhouse was for me to admire but never to touch.

  I kept it on an oak table under the sash of stained-glass windows in my bedroom. The sun coming through the tinted windows always spread a soft, rainbow-colored sky over the tiny universe and put the light of happiness into the faces of the miniature family. Even the servants in the kitchen, the butler dressed in white livery who stood near the entrance door, and the nanny in the nursery all wore looks of contentment.

  That was as it should be, as it should always be—as I fervently hoped and prayed it would be for me someday. That miniature world was without shadows; for, even on overcast days, when clouds hung their gloom outside, the tinted-glass windows magically turned the gray light into rainbows.

  The real world, my own world, seemed always to be gray, without rainbows. Gray for my eyes, which I had always been told were too stern, gray for my hopes, gray for the old maid no one wanted in the deck of cards. At twenty-four, I was an old maid, already a spinster. It seemed I intimidated eligible young men with my height and intelligence. It seemed that
the rainbow world of love and marriage and babies would always be as closed off to me as that dollhouse I so admired. For it was only in make-believe that my hopes took wing.

  In my fantasies I was pretty, lighthearted, charming, like the other young women I had met but never befriended. Mine was a lonely life, filled mostly with books and dreams. And though I did not talk about it, I clung to the small hope my dear mother had given me just before she died.

  “Life is very much like a garden, Olivia. And people are like tiny seeds, nurtured by love and friendship and caring. And if enough time and care are spent, they bloom into gorgeous flowers. And sometimes, even an old, neglected plant left in a yard gone to seed will unexpectedly burst into blossom. These are the most precious, the most cherished blossoms of all. You will be that sort of flower, Olivia. It may take time, but your flowering will come.”

  How I missed my optimistic mother. I was sixteen when she died—just when I most needed to have those woman-to-woman talks with her that would tell me how to win a man’s heart, how to be like her: respectable, competent, yet a woman in every way. My mother was forever involved in one thing or another, and in everything she was competent and in charge. She threaded her way through each crisis, and when one ended, there was always another to replace it. My father seemed content that she was busy. It mattered not with what.

  He often said that just because women weren’t involved in serious business, that didn’t mean they should be idle. They had their “womanly” things to do.

  Yet, when it came to me, he encouraged me to go to business school. It seemed right and proper that I would become his private accountant, that he would give me a place in his den, a manly room with one wall covered with firearms and another with pictures from his hunting and fishing expeditions, a room that always had the odor of cigar smoke and whiskey, its dark brown rug the most worn-looking of any rug in the house. He set aside a portion of his large black oakwood desk for me to work meticulously on his accounts, his business expenses, his employees’ wages, and even his household expenses. Working with my father, I often felt more like the son he had always longed for—but never got—than the daughter I was. Oh, I did want to please, but it seemed I would never be just what anyone wanted.

  He used to say I would be a great help to any husband, and I used to believe that was why he was so determined I would get a business education and have that experience. He didn’t come out and say it in so many words, but I could hear them anyway—a woman six feet tall needed something more to capture a man’s love.

  Yes, I was six feet tall; I had shot up as a teenager, much to my dismay, to giant proportions. I was the beanstalk in Jack’s garden. I was the giant. There was nothing dainty or fragile about me.

  I had my mother’s auburn hair, but my shoulders were too wide and my bosom large. I often stood before my mirror and wished my arms shorter. My gray eyes were too long and catlike and my nose was too sharp. My lips were thin, my complexion pale and gray. Gray, gray, gray. How I longed to be pretty and bright. But when I sat before my vanilla marble vanity table trying to blush and to flutter my eyelashes—look flirtatious—I managed only to look a fool. I didn’t want to look empty-headed and silly, yet I couldn’t help but sit before the glass-encased dollhouse and study the pretty, delicate porcelain face of the tiny wife. How I wished it were my face. Maybe then this would be my world.

  But it was not.

  And so I left my hope encased with the porcelain figures and went about my way.

  If my father had really expected to make me more attractive to a man by providing me with an education and practical business experience, he must have been sorely disappointed in the result. Gentlemen came and went, all coming because of his manipulations, I discovered; and still I was yet to be courted and loved. I was always afraid that my money, my father’s money, money I would inherit, would bring a man to the door pretending to be in love with me. I think my father feared the same thing, because he came to me one day and said, “I have written into my will that whatever money you receive shall be only yours and yours to do with what you like. No husband will ever expect to take control of your fortune simply by marrying you.”

  He made his announcement and left before I could even respond. Then he screened any candidates for my romance carefully, exposing me only to the highest class of gentleman, men of some fortune themselves. I had yet to meet one I didn’t tower over, or one who wouldn’t scowl at the things I said. It seemed I’d die a spinster.

  But my father wouldn’t have it so.

  “There’s a young man coming to dinner tonight,” he began one Friday morning late in April, “who I must say is one of the most impressive I’ve met. I want you to wear that blue dress you had made for yourself last Easter.”

  “Oh, Father.” It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “Why bother,” but he anticipated my reaction.

  “Don’t argue about it, and for heaven’s sake don’t start in on the woman suffrage movement when we’re at the table.”

  My eyes flamed. He knew how I hated to be bridled like one of his horses.

  “A man no sooner shows some interest in you than you challenge the most treasured of manly privileges. It never fails. The blue dress,” he repeated, and pivoted and left before I could offer an argument.

  It seemed pointless to me to go through the rituals at my vanity table. I shampooed my hair vigorously and then sat down to brush it a hundred times, softening it and pinning it back neatly but not too harsh with the ivory combs my father had given me for Christmas the previous year.

  My father didn’t know or even seem to recognize that I had commissioned the “blue dress” because I wanted a dress that looked like the dresses women wore in fashion photographs. The bodice was low enough to expose some of the fullness of my bosom, and the tight waist gave me a suggestion of an “hourglass” figure. It was made of silk, and the material was exceptionally soft and had a sheen to it like nothing else I owned. The sleeves were cut just above the elbow. I thought that made my arms look shorter.

  I put on my mother’s blue sapphire pendant, which I thought made my neck look slimmer. There was a blush in my cheeks but I couldn’t say if it was there because of my healthy body or because of my nervousness. I was nervous. I’d been through enough of those evenings before—watching the man’s face fall as he rose to greet me and I towered over him.

  I was merely rehearsing for another failure.

  By the time I went downstairs, my father’s guest had arrived. They were together in the den. I heard my father’s loud laughter, and then I heard the gentleman’s voice, low but deeply resonant, the voice of a man with some confidence. I pressed my palms against my hips to dry off the wetness and proceeded to the doorway of the den.

  The moment I appeared, Malcolm Neal Foxworth stood up and my heart skipped a beat. He was at least six foot two and easily the most handsome young man who had ever come to our house.

  “Malcolm,” my father said, “I’m proud to present my lovely daughter.”

  He took my hand and said, “Charmed, Miss Winfield.”

  I was looking directly into his sky-blue eyes. And he was gazing just as forthrightly into mine. I’d never believed in schoolgirl romantic notions such as love at first sight, but I felt his gaze slide right over my heart and lodge in the pit of my stomach.

  He had flaxen blond hair, a little longer in the back than most men wore, but the strands were brushed neatly and looked heavenly light. He had a strong Roman nose and a thin straight mouth. Broad-shouldered, slim-hipped, he had an almost athletic air about him. And I could tell by the way he was gazing at me, with almost a wry smile of amusement, that he was quite accustomed to women falling into a flutter about him. Well, I thought, I mustn’t give him something more to be amused at Olivia Winfield. Of course, such a man would hardly give me the time of day, and I would have to get through another evening of Father’s doomed matchmaking. I shook his hand firmly, smiled back, and quickly looked away.

; After we were introduced, my father explained that Malcolm had come to New London from Yale, where he had attended a class reunion. He was interested in investing in the shipbuilding industry because he believed that with the Great War over, the markets for exporting would develop. From what I learned of his background that night, I understood that he already owned a number of cloth factories, had commanding interest in a few banks, and owned some lumber mills in Virginia. He was in business with his father, but his father, even though he was only fifty-five, was distracted. I didn’t learn until later what that meant.

  At dinner I tried to be the polite, quiet observer that my father wanted me to be, the way my mother used to be. Margaret and Philip, our servants, served an elegant dinner of beef Wellington, a menu my father had chosen himself. He did so only on special occasions. I thought my father was being quite obvious when he said, “Olivia’s a college graduate, you know. She has a business degree and handles a major portion of my bookkeeping.”

  “Really?” Malcolm seemed genuinely impressed. His cerulean blue eyes brightened even more with interest and I felt he was taking a second, more serious look at me. “Do you enjoy the work, Miss Winfield?”

  I shot a glance at my father, who sat back in his high-backed light-maple chair and nodded as if prompting my responses. I did so want this Malcolm Foxworth to like me, but I was determined to be who I was.

  “It’s better to fill your time with sensible and productive things,” I said. “Even for a woman.”

  My father’s smile faded, but Malcolm’s widened. “I totally agree,” he said. He didn’t turn back to my father. “I find most so-called beautiful women vapid and rather silly. It’s as if their good looks are enough to see them through life. I prefer intelligent women who know how to think for themselves, women who can be real assets to their husbands.”

  My father cleared his throat. “Yes, yes,” he said, and turned the conversation back to the shipping industry. He had it from good sources that the merchant marine fleet, built for the war effort, would soon be offered to private owners. His topic took Malcolm’s attention for most of the dinner, but nevertheless, I felt Malcolm’s eyes on me and at times, when I looked up at him, he was smiling at me.