VCA Recaps: Web of Dreams Part 1

Just like in my previous VCA recaps, these will be full of SPOILERS so do not continue if you do not want to be spoiled/haven’t read it. Thank you!

Web of Dreams (Casteel #5) by V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman)

With nowhere to go, no one to help her, Leigh fled into the arms of Luke Casteel!

Leigh VanVoreen had to escape from Boston’s Farthinggale Manor. The foul secret she harbored within her seemed to darken her life forever. Jillian, her mother, would not believe her…and Tony Tatterton, her stepfather, had betrayed her most cruelly.

But the pure devotion of Luke Casteel promised her hope and respect. Only Luke knew her deepest of secrets…only Luke would love and protect her. Bravely she bore the suspicions of the Willies’ hillfolk, as she tried to grasp the happiness that had so long eluded her. Leigh prayed with all her heart that her bright, shining dreams would save her from tragedy at last…

 

This recap will cover the prologue–Chapter 5.

The prologue begins with Luke and Annie returning to Farthinggale Manor for Troy’s funeral. Annie goes inside, finds herself in Jillian’s suite, and then discovers a diary that Leigh left. While this is definitely a stretch, not to mention a huge plot hole if this diary actually goes to the Willies/end of Leigh’s life, I guess it works.

Leigh’s story begins on her 12th birthday when her father gives her the diary (he calls it her logbook because he is the owner of a cruise boat line). Her father, Cleave, is shown as loving but somewhat of a workaholic. Her mother, Jillian, is shown to be loving but also narcissistic. There are also hints that she is either seeing or wants to see Tony Tatterton sprinkled throughout the beginning. She even gets Leigh to agree to go see the mansion where she is doing fairytale murals.

One day Leigh pleads with Jillian to tell her the story of how her and Cleave met/fall in love and notes that the details of the story always changes. Jillian also gives herself a pity party each time and compares her story to Cinderella’s.

Jillian’s mother, Jana, is painted as someone really uptight, which I never noticed in later books. Me thinks Jillian is full of it. Jillian gives Leigh some very confusing advice on being a woman and on men a well.

To celebrate Leigh’s birthday, Cleave takes her and Jillian out for dinner. He announces that they are going to be going to Jamaica on one of his cruise lines in a week. Jillian complains about the timing despite her earlier ranting to Leigh about how Cleave NEVER takes her anywhere she wants, including places like Jamaica. I think this really shows Jillian character.


That weekend Jillian takes Leigh to see Farthinggale Manor. All of the staple servants from the last book such as Miles, Curtis, and Rye Whiskey are introduced. Jillian is visibly excited and even Leigh can see how taken she is with Tony. Leigh is understandably nervous around the handsome man but instantly takes to his younger brother, Troy. Tony takes all of them on a tour.

Afterwards, Tony gives Leigh a birthday present, a golden necklace with a cruise liner charm on it. Jillian expects Leigh to thank him with a kiss on a cheek and Leigh can feel Tony’s breath on her neck when he puts the necklace on her. Leigh is troubled by how her mother is acting towards Tony but can’t quite grasp what is going on.

While Jillian works on the mural, Tony takes Leigh and Troy to the private beach. Tony tells Leigh about how his and Troy’s parents died—their father actually had a heart attack while in a maze.

Troy is sad when Jillian says it’s time for them to leave. On the way home, Jillian gets in a tirade over her age and even Leigh is starting to wonder about her mother’s obsession with it. Leigh also begins to wonder what it would be like to be married after her mother reveals that Tony thinks she is 28, which would mean she would have had Leigh at 16. Jillian is apparently in her 30s or 40s but doesn’t look it and has no issue blatantly lying about it.

Leigh brings up how sweet she thought Troy was and how she would like to be a teacher. Jillian is very anti-teacher, assuming all teachers are ugly and she says she wants Leigh to end up marrying rich and having a grand estate. Ugh.

Jillian begins to prepare for the bon voyage party the will celebrate Cleave’s new cruise to Jamaica, insisting on him using the most luxurious ship—called The Jillian, of course—and inviting famous people.

The night of the party arrives and Jillian has also invited Tony Tatterton. Her attraction toward him is so obvious that even Cleave notices and frowns. Tony gets Leigh to dance with him. For now he’s not too creepy. Jillian also scolds Leigh not to gorge herself on food. Yep, this woman is definitely a shallow narcissist.

The cruise to Jamaica begins but all Jillian can do is complain about everything despite the ship sounding super luxurious. Leigh goes with her father down below deck one day and accidentally gets grease on one of her new outfits, which of course sends Jillian into a rage.

Leigh is dismayed when she overhears her parents arguing. Her mother gets seasick for a few days and then decides to take an airplane back to Boston. Leigh is left at the ship with her father, who is so overwhelmed with work that she tags along with some new girl friends.

Leigh tries to fill her time now that her mother is gone and father busy with work. She meets two boys, Fulton and Raymond, who hang out and are attracted to her. One of them insists that she could be a high school senior instead of a 12 year old.

One night she is supposed to have dinner alone with her father but is dismayed when she discovers he has invited the captain of the ship along. Later on she realizes that maybe he’s having a hard time with her mother’s departure too.

On the day before the cruise ends, the boys give Leigh their addresses and one of them kisses her on the cheek. In the morning, Cleave goes to Leigh before breakfast to break some bad news: her mother has gone to Mexico to get a divorce from him.

Leigh is understandably upset, especially when Cleave tells her that she will be staying with her mother and he will be on a month-long cruise journey. She tries to be brave for her dad. After breakfast, the ship docks and Leigh is upset when her mother sends a driver to get her instead of coming herself.

Her mother isn’t home when she gets there. Leigh goes into her father’s office, realizing how different things are going to be without him around. She goes into her mother’s suite and notices something in the sitting room. It’s a stack of printed wedding invitations.

Poor Leigh. Her mother is a selfish bitch!

Even though the beginning was a bit boring at times, I really enjoyed Leigh’s voice. There were a few sentences that were strange, especially this line Leigh thinks about her father: I yearned to have him hold me so tight I couldn’t breathe, to warm my lips with his kisses, and to make me feel like everything would be okay.

Overall I liked it and I feel like Jillian’s character is well done. While she’s a selfish narcissist at the start, her character just seems to get even more so as the story unravels.

Next, Leigh learns who her mother has fallen in love with and makes a new friend.

 

 

 

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