Garden of Shadows Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Garden of Shadows

Olivia Windfield is a spinster, but this relatively unattractive and tall lady is proposed to by wealthy business man, Malcolm Foxworth. It is a loveless marriage and when he takes Olivia to his mansion to be caretaker of it, all her illusions of being in a romantic relationship are crushed.
Click here to see the rest of this review

She becomes pregnant with their first child after a rape-like encounter. Malcolm is obsessed with his mother, who left him and the family when he was five.

Malcolm's father Garland returns to the mansion after a safari with a new wife, Alicia, who reminds Malcolm of his mother. They were both beautiful women and spendthrifts with money.
Alicia and Garland have a son, Christopher together. Malcolm and Olivia already have two sons, Mal and Joel, and Olivia cannot bear any more children.

Malcolm becomes more enamoured with Alicia and after an event in her bedroom, in which Garland comes to the rescue, Garland suffers a heart attack and dies.

Alicia stays on in the house and gets raped by Malcolm again, this time becoming pregnant. Malcolm foresees that the child will be the girl he's always wanted.

Society being as it is, a deal is struck up between Malcolm, Olivia and Alicia where Alicia is hidden away in the attic until the child is born. Olivia and Malcolm raise the child, making Alicia and Christopher leave the mansion. Alicia agrees to the arrangement, realising that if she wanted to keep the girl child, named Coleen, she would be pennyless.

Coleen grows up in the house with Olivia's children, thinking of them as her brothers. Tragically, the two sons are killed in tragic accidents, and Olivia and Malcolm now only have Coleen.

Alicia remarries but writes to Malcolm when her husband passes away, leaving them broke, asking him to take Christopher and educate him. Christopher comes to Foxworth Hall (the mansion) and is looked after by the Foxworths. He becomes enamoured with what he thinks is his half-niece, really his half-sister and they begin an incestous relationship.
The review of this Book prepared by Louisa Eggleton

Olivia was a spinsterish woman, who never believed that she would find love. Then along came Malcolm Foxworth, a very rich and intelligent man. They marry and they move to his mansion in Virgina, Foxworth Hall. Olivia is a happy bride full of wonderful thoughts of her future of a wife. Soon she realizes that this is a marriage of convenience, not love.

Shortly there after, Malcolm's father returns with his younger, more beautiful, and pregnant wife, Alicia. Olivia is immediately jealous of their love and passion for eac hother. Oliva has two sons, Malcolm Jr. and Joel, whom she loves very much, Malcolm Sr. really has nothing to do with them. He wants a girl, and is outraged when he finds out that Olivia cannot bear anymore children.

Alicia gives birth to a baby boy, Christopher shortly after Malcolm's father dies. This gives Malcolm the opportunity that he has been waiting for, since he has been lusting after Alicia since she arrived, and she has done nothing but reject him. Malcolm goes into her room and rapes her.

Alicia becomes pregnant with Malcolm's child. As a result of all of this Alicia is locked in the attic for the duration of her pregnancy. After she gave birth, to a baby girl, Olivia and Malcolm, raise Corrine (named after Malcolm's mother) as their own. Immediately after, Alicia reclaims Christopher and leaves.

Years later Olivia and Malcolm receive a note from Alicia stating that she is very ill, and wants Christopher to go to school to be a doctor, and asks them to take him in. They agree to do so.

Much to Olivia and Malcolm's horror, Corrine and Christopher (who are half brother and sister, and only believe that Christopther is Corrine's half uncle) fall in love. Olivia and Malcolm disown them. They leave, and Malcolm has a heart attack.
The review of this Book prepared by Yvette

This prequel to the Dollanganger Series deals with the life of Olivia Foxworth, the evil grandmother of Flowers in the Attic. Olivia first comes to Foxworth Hall as a young bride, enamoured with her handsome, wealthy husband, Malcolm. However, she soon realizes that theirs will be a marriage of convience: Malcolm married her because she was a 'breeder', not because he loved her.

When her father in law returns to Foxworth Hall with Alicia, a beautiful young bride, Olivia is smitten with jealousy that Malcolm is attracted to her. After his father dies, Malcolm allows his lust for Alicia to get the better of him and he commits a crime whose reprecussions will haunt his family for generations. Locked in an attic that would later be the home to four children, Alicia bears a son and then disappears. Olivia herself has three children, two boys and a girl.

As Malcolm's cruelty grows, Olivia hardens her heart, and begins to become the cruel, cold woman from Flowers in the Attic. When Alicia's son returns to Foxworth Hall as a young man, he and Olivia's daughter Corinne fall in love and their romance causes tragedy and hatred for their parents as well as their descendants. The novel ends where Flowers in the Attic begins.
The review of this Book prepared by fran laniado

Chapter Analysis of Garden of Shadows

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Husband Kind of sex:    -   incest Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Taboo sex story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   wealthy Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Garden of Shadows

V.C. Andrews Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian