VCA Recaps: Web of Dreams Part 3

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!

 

Part 1 here.

This recap will cover Chapters 11-16.

Tony takes Leigh to her new private school, Winterhaven. When she is surprised at just how much he knows about the girls only school, Tony reveals that he once knew a girl who went there who later died in a car accident. Jillian and Leigh both remind him of her. Even though he claims he didn’t know her for very long, it seems like her death really took a toll on him.

Once at Winterhaven, Leigh takes to her roommate, Jennifer Longstone, right away. When she explains how Tony came to be her stepfather, she learns that Jennifer’s father passed away. The rules at Winterhaven are strict but Leigh soon discovers that all of the girls find ways around them.

Because of Jennifer, Leigh is accepted by the most popular girls right away and is invited to join them later on for a secret party in the room of the leader, Marie. However, when Tony sends her a rose for her table that evening at dinner, the divorce between her parents come out and everyone but Jennifer shuns Leigh for it.

Even though Marie has told Leigh that she has “cancelled” the party, Leigh knows better. She talks Jennifer into crashing it. When Leigh calls the girls out for their behavior, Marie agrees that they haven’t been very nice and invites them both to stay.

A few days later Cleave comes by and takes Leigh out to dinner. She is saddened when he breaks the news that he will be gone for a while in Europe. When she returns to Winterhaven, she tells Jennifer only the good things but silently cries herself to sleep afterward.

Leigh returns to Farthy that weekend. She asks her mother if she can have friends over but Jillian begs her to wait. Time passes and Leigh finds most of her weekends being spent with Tony. Troy is constantly sick, looking weaker and weaker.

Cleave sends Leigh postcards and letters regularly through the winter and spring but after that, they are slower to arrive. Leigh becomes suspicious when he begins to mention a woman named Mildred Pierce in his letters. She begins to worry that she is losing her father to Mildred.

Tony leaves to spend some time in Europe. The school year ends for the summer and Leigh manages to get Jillian to allow Jennifer to spend a few days at Farthy. Jennifer seems fascinated by Jillian but later confesses to Leigh that she is upset about her own mother, who is dating her dead father’s best friend. Leigh tells her about Mildred Pierce.

Tony returns from his trip with a new idea that Jillian loves—he wants to make portrait dolls for his company. Jillian and he both agree that Leigh should be the first model and face for the advertising. When she learns that she will have to pose nude, Leigh is unsure about posing for Tony but Jillian loses patience with her and pressures her into it.

One morning Leigh’s modeling sessions begin. Tony takes her out to the cottage so they have a quiet place to work. At first the modeling goes okay while Leigh has her clothes on. Then Tony gets creepy.

“This drawing is like the first stages in the making of a baby…seeds in my imagination merge with reality and take form, just the way man’s seed attaches itself to a woman’s egg and begins the creation of a newborn baby. You and I, we’re giving birth to something beautiful here, together.”

Riiight.

After Tony tells her he was just speaking in metaphors, he asks Leigh if she’s ever had a boyfriend. Of course she hasn’t, though Tony doesn’t seem too convinced. He then asks her if she has ever french-kissed or know what it means. Very fatherly questions.

Then he has her take her blouse off while she’s facing away from him so he can sketch the lines in her shoulders and back. He unclasps her bra, too. He drapes a white sheet around her shoulders and they have lunch afterwards. May I remind you that she’s still twelve?

Tony proceeds to ask more creepy questions like if she has ever seen a boy naked. He also reveals at how much Jillian is driving him insane with her modesty and vanity.

They return to work. He later complains that something is off and that he needs to “see things clearer with his eyes closed.” Leigh is confused until he comes over and starts touching her. Inappropriately. He returns to his canvas and works with a frenzy.

When Leigh is invited to look at the canvas, she is shocked at how her body looks more mature like her mother’s. Tony tells her that it’s a work of art.

“Half of it is in the artist’s mind. That’s why it was so important for me to touch you, too. I hope you understand, Leigh.”

Poor Leigh is so confused.

She later encounters Troy, who tells her that he will never stop being sick and won’t live as long as anyone else because he overheard the doctor pretty much say so. That better explains adult Troy.

Leigh tells him that can’t be true because she needs someone to be her little stepbrother, an idea that cheers him. Little Troy is so adorable.

The next morning Leigh goes to see Jillian to voice her concerns over Tony’s touching her but of course Jillian isn’t there. She’s spent the night with friends in Boston, something that annoys Tony. They return to the cottage for another day of work.

He basically does the same things as the day before regarding the touching, though this time it’s her rear side. He also says things that both flatter and embarrass her. He’s grooming her. Yuck.

When Jillian finally returns, Leigh tells her about her concerns but of course they are waved off. Leigh is made to feel immature as Jillian makes excuses for Tony’s behavior. Jillian claims that he is just being an artist. She loves the idea of Tony combining Leigh and Jillian in his sketches because it’s proof of just how obsessed he is with her.

Dear. Lord.

More modeling sessions but at least the modeling has gone from sketches and paintings to a sculpture. When Leigh goes back to the house, her mother is there with a friend. Leigh kind of loses it and is later reprimanded for embarrassing Jillian. Because how dare Leigh have feelings.

Cleave arrives in Boston and Leigh is excited. She goes to have lunch with him but is surprised to find that he isn’t alone—Mildred Pierce is with him. Mildred is nothing at all like Jillian, which should be good, but she comes off as cold.

Leigh makes small talk when what she really wants to do is tell Cleave what is really happening but of course she’s not going to do it in front of a woman she’s just met. And Cleave pretty much insists that Leigh can say anything she has to say to him in front of Mildred too. Then he drops a bomb—he and Mildred got married.

Cleave is getting almost as bad as Jillian when it comes to ignoring his daughter’s feelings. She’s understandably upset and hides it well for a while. Leigh begins to feel like she’s being pushed away from her father. She finally has enough when Mildred tries to suggest the London broil when the time comes to order.

Leigh tells Mildred that she hates London broil, that she hates being here, and that she hates her. Then she flees out to the car, ordering Miles to drive her back to Farthy. When she returns she cries in front of Troy, who tries to cheer her up.

Cleave later calls to apologize for how lunch went but keeps inserting Mildred into the conversation, which is not the way to go. Leigh finally tells him that she is modeling for a Tatterton Toy portrait doll but doesn’t go into details. She focuses on how important it is instead, trying to hurt him.

When he asks if she would live to have dinner with them that night, to try again, Leigh tells him that she has to go to sleep early for the modeling. Later Leigh tells Jillian about Mildred and doesn’t hesitate in saying bad things about her.

Leigh casually tells Jillian that she mentioned the modeling to her father and her mother seems to get nervous until she realizes he doesn’t know about the touching. Leigh begins to feel like her mother is spinning a web around her.

She heads to the cottage in the morning where Tony confesses that he knows things didn’t go well with Leigh and her father because Miles basically has a big mouth. Leigh finally gets to see the model of the doll and is shocked at how mature and detailed the genital areas are. She refuses to let Tony use it with her face on it. He gets mad about that but agrees to fix it. Heaven has definitely inherited some of her spirit.

During the end of summer, Tony does a lot of traveling and Leigh can’t wait to get back to Winterhaven. Finally she is back and Jennifer reveals that her mother remarried. Leigh tells her about modeling for the portrait doll, including how she posed nude. She leaves out the touching parts, though.

Jennifer also tells Leigh about William Matthews, a boy she has been seeing for the last week of summer. He apparently goes to Allandale, the private boy school that does events with Winterhaven. She mentions that William has a roommate named Joshua John Bennington and how she’s told him about Leigh.

Leigh is a bit embarrassed by this. Jennifer confides in how it felt to kiss William. Leigh can’t help but think of the way Tony touched her and silently questions again how her mother could be okay with it.

There’s an upcoming dance with the boys at Allandale. Jennifer is very excited about it and Leigh is nervous. She gets Leigh to talk to Josh over the phone. The dance arrives and Jennifer introduces Leigh to William and Joshua. The other girls in the “special club” seem betrayed that Jennifer and Leigh already know the boys and confront them about it in the bathroom. They are shunned afterwards.

Jennifer and Leigh have a good time with their dates though. Joshua kisses Leigh at the end of the night. When Leigh and Jennifer return to their room, they find a note on their door telling them to keep their secrets and selves away from the rest of the others.

Their beds have also been soaked with toilet water. Instead of being upset, Leigh is happy because they had a great time. To stick it to the “special club”, they shout about it in the hallway.

Life is different without the special club but Leigh and Jennifer manage just fine, especially now that they have boyfriends. When Leigh visits Farthy, her mother complains about being unable to lose four pounds.


One night Leigh asks her mother if she can have a birthday party and invite some friends over. She is surprised when Jillian begins planning an extravagant party for her. When the family goes out to celebrate Leigh’s birthday privately, she gets a golden locket from Troy.

Later on that evening Tony brings her a present. Leigh already knows it’s the portrait doll because Jillian already blabbed about it but she is still stunned by it. The doll also has a locket, except the inscription on the back is from Tony, in tiny letters.

Leigh is already in love with the doll. Even Jillian is impressed with it. That night Leigh finds herself talking to the doll and decides to name her “Angel.” Cleave calls to wish her a happy birthday but of course won’t be able to see her for a while. He also tells her that a present is coming for her and that Mildred picked it out. Leigh is definitely feeling her father slip further and further away from her.

While Heaven is still my favorite character of this series, I really enjoy Leigh’s voice and POV. It’s no wonder she fled to the Willies. Tony and Jillian are both awful and damned if Cleave isn’t becoming a huge disappointment as well.

Next, Leigh’s Big Birthday Bash & Tony reaches his full creepy potential.

 

 

 

 

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