VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 3


On to Part 3!


Again, this recap will contain SPOILERS so read at your OWN risk!

Part 1 | Part 2


This recap will consist of Chapter 4.


At the end of the school day, Dawn catches up with Jimmy in the lobby. He’s unhappy that his math teacher considers him too far behind to catch up and Dawn chastises him about how much school he used to miss. Jimmy says he doesn’t care but Dawn can tell it bothers him. They go to their father’s office to wait for him.


Jimmy asks Dawn about who ruined her clothes but Dawn lies, adding to just forget about it. He goes on a tirade about how awful the other kids are before he starts asking questions about Philip Cutler.


“Funny, how he got so friendly so fast.” Jimmy’s eyes grew small as his mind worked overtime.



As Dawn moons over Philip, Jimmy announces that he doesn’t trust him and suspects he may be part of some kind of prank.


“Oh, that can’t be true, Jimmy. He’s too nice to do anything like that!” I cried a little too desperately.



Ormand chooses to enter the office at that moment and when he asks about the kids’ days, they decide to keep quiet about what happened to Dawn. Dawn notices that he really seems to like his new job, too.


They go home and Sally Jean is curled up with Fern in the bedroom. While Ormand and Jimmy go out to bring back some ice cream for dessert, Sally Jean wakes up and Dawn notices how sick she looks. Dawn asks her if she’s seen a doctor and of course Sally Jean hasn’t, but she has something better–a natural tonic!


Dawn tells her about school aside from the incident and the Cutler siblings. She notices her mother having some chest pains. Dawn threatens to stay home from school until she gets better. Sally Jean replies that she will just get sicker from being upset about that.


“You belong in school, Dawn. You deserve this chance.”


I love that Dawn’s parents at least acknowledge the importance of a good education.



Sally Jean goes on to say how Dawn needs to mix in with the rich kids and how she’s just as good as they are. She is so adamant about Dawn deserving the same things as the rich kids that she squeezes her hand too tightly. When Dawn talks to her father about her mother’s illness, Sally Jean finally agrees to see a doctor if her tonic doesn’t work.


The next day Philip meets Dawn at her locker to ask her if she’ll let him take her for a ride today. He sure is persistent. When she asks where to, he tells her that he has a special spot that he likes to go to but has never taken anyone to before because he’s never met anyone he thought would appreciate it until now.



Dawn wants to go but feels like she is betraying someone. Philip walks her to class and continues to persuade her to go for the ride.


“I’m not asking you to marry me. Not yet, anyway,” he added.


Dawn’s heart flutters because she has apparently been imaging their married life together, complete with her family living with them at the Cutler’s Cove hotel and Clara Sue becoming a chambermaid.


“I’ll be after you all day,” Philip promises regarding the ride.


Maybe Philip thinks that’s cute or something but I’m like:



Louise is staring when Dawn enters the classroom. Dawn tells her how Philip wants to take her for a ride after school but is worried that Clara Sue put him up to it. Louise doesn’t think so since Clara Sue is apparently mad at him for even talking to Dawn but she warns her not to go.


When Dawn goes to her classes,  she sees Philip wave and ask “Well?” After she sits down in her math class, he pops his head into the door and raises his eyebrows. Dawn laughs when he leaves. OK, that is sorta cute. But still kinda creepy.


Dawn later runs into Clara Sue, who is quick to tell Dawn that Mr. Moore is also considering her for the solo. When Dawn wishes her good luck, Clara Sue is nasty about it, calling her a charity case. Dawn defends herself but Clara Sue continues, saying how she is an outsider, white trash from the wrong side of the tracks.


When Dawn adds that Philip really does like her, Clara Sue says she bets he does—that he likes to make girls like Dawn into mothers once a month.



At lunch Philip persuades Jimmy to join the basketball team. Philip gets mad when Dawn tells him that his sister has been warning her against spending time with him. When Dawn pleads with him not to talk to her about it, he tells her he won’t if she goes for a ride with him. Dawn relents, as long as her father is OK with it.


Dawn brings her guitar to music class and plays for Mr. Moore. He tells her that she plays well for someone without any formal lessons. When Dawn admits that one of her dreams is to learn the piano and have one of her own (weird how Dawn’s attraction to music is never mentioned until she gets to this fancy school?), he agrees to teach her how to play in exchange for playing the flute in the school orchestra.


After school, Dawn tells Jimmy to tell their father that she’s going for a ride with Philip even though Jimmy isn’t happy about it. Philip has a “pretty red car with soft furry white sheepskin covers on the seats.” It was a birthday gift from his grandmother, something that Dawn just can’t seem to fathom.


Philip takes Dawn to a deserted road that he claims he found while out driving until they are on top of a hill that overlooks a river. Smooth. Philip tells her that it’s even prettier at night, asking her if she thinks he’ll ever be able to get her out then. Next he starts putting the moves on her, telling her what a pretty girl she is, feigning his surprise over her not having many boyfriends, and the weirdest compliment about how tiny her nose is. He then proceeds to kiss her tiny nose!



One of his hands settles on her knee and of course she tells a tingle go up her thigh.


“Dawn,” he whispered softly in my ear. “Dawn, I just love saying your name. You know what I did this morning? I got up with the sunrise just so I could see the dawn.”


Oh, brother.



Dawn tells him he didn’t but he assures her he did not just with his words but with a deep kiss. She is surprised by all of the feelings going on inside her so Philip takes that as the okay to start fondling her. Dawn pushes him away, unable to help all the warnings, especially from Clara Sue, coming back to her mind.


“Easy,” he said quickly. “I’m not going to hurt you.”


Promises, promises. He is surprised when she admits she’s never been touched like that before and tells her that she’s been missing out and that there is nothing to be afraid of.


“Just relax. You don’t want to be the only girl your age at Emerson Peabody who’s never been kissed and touched like this, do you? I’ll do it slowly, okay?”


Where is Jimmy when you need him?



Anyway, Philip continues to try and feel Dawn up wherever he can get away with until she has had too much. Pushing him away, Dawn tells him she has to go help her mother with dinner. Philip asks her if she has another boyfriend already and if she’ll come back one night.


Ugh. Philip is such slime. Dawn agrees that she will and Philip says he’ll let her slip out of his hands this time–haha, har har, not wanting to consent is so cute!



Then he proceeds to tell her that he likes that she’s shy, anyway. Being new to men and not wanting to go too far the first time is apparently being “shy.” I just can’t with Philip Cutler. He pleads with her to let him teach her things and she agrees–sadly a mistake that he will never let her forget.


Philip thankfully drives her home. Ashamed, Dawn warns him that they don’t live in a nice section of town but that it’s temporary until her father can find something better. When Dawn mentions how much she’s had to travel, he tells her that he’s done some traveling but doesn’t get to do it like other kids he knows. He has to help out at his family’s hotel instead of going to Europe. He complains that one day he’ll be expected to run it, too.



When Philip asks about Dawn’s past, she embellishes on what she does know–that her parents’ family are from Georgia and live on a farm–and makes it seem like a wonderful place that she was happy at. She pretends that she got her musical talent from her harmonica playing grandfather (who she’s never met). Poor girl.


Philip says he doesn’t remember his grandfather and isn’t too close with his grandmother. Dawn begins to feel bad about telling him stories when he promises her that she’s the first girl he’s ever driven home. When he parks, they kiss and he cops another feel. Ugh.


“You taste real good, Dawn. You’re going to let me take you for another ride soon, right?”



Dawn agrees and when Philip asks for her number, she has to admit that they don’t have a phone–yet. Her parents are waiting for her in the kitchen and they aren’t happy about her going off for a ride with Philip. She is forbidden from any future rides. Ormand then admits that he isn’t as crazy about his job as he first was, either–foreshadowing!


That night in bed Jimmy assures Dawn that he didn’t do anything to get their parents mad about her and Philip. He admits that he isn’t too upset about her not being able to go for anymore rides with him, though. He looks at her and point blank tells her that rich kids are spoiled and always get what they want.



Dawn tries to defend rich people by saying poor people can be bad too but Jimmy says at least poor people have an excuse. He tells her to be careful regarding Philip. Dawn has trouble sleeping because she’s so upset over not being able to go out with Philip again. It’s been two days, girl…you’ll be okay.


Anyway, she begins to fantasize about her and Philip back on the hill and things feel so vivid that she moans out loud. Jimmy is still awake and there’s an awkward moment.



A lot happened in Chapter 4 so I’m going to end things here. Next, Dawn has to tell Philip to cool things and she and Jimmy get into some school trouble!





VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 2


On to Part 2!


Again, this recap will contain SPOILERS so read at your OWN risk!

To read Part 1, go here.

This recap will consist of chapters 2 & 3.


During the first week of Sally Jean’s final month of pregnancy, she screams for Dawn to call for an ambulance. Jimmy hurries out to the pay phone on the corner to call. Dawn is worried, especially because her mother begins to look sickly. The ambulance comes and they cart Sally Jean away. Jimmy and Dawn have to call their father and go catch a bus to go to the hospital.


They get there and the baby is breech so the doctors have to turn it around before it can come out. Ormand goes with the doctor.


“It’s stupid,” Jimmy suddenly muttered, “stupid to have a baby now.”

“Don’t say that, Jimmy,” I chided. His words made my own fears crash in upon me like waves.

“Well, I don’t want a baby who threatens Momma’s life, and I don’t want a baby who’ll make our lives more miserable,” he snapped.


I do not blame Jimmy in the slightest. Ormand returns and the three of them sit waiting (no father allowed in the birthing room?) until the doctor comes to congratulate them on their new family member, a seven pound baby girl! The doctor warns Ormand that his wife had a difficult pregnancy and that they are building her blood back up.


Ormand thanks him and they all go to gaze at Baby Longchamp. Dawn is disappointed that the baby has their mother and Jimmy’s black hair and no freckles. It takes Sally Jean a long time to recuperate once she gets home. The baby girl is named Fern. No explanation is given for her name like Dawn’s was.


With Sally Jean being so weak, it’s up to Dawn to do a lot of the caregiving for Fern. Jimmy complains every time she has to disturb him to care for her. Their father’s moods get worse, too, making Dawn afraid that he might abandon them. Ormand Longchamp, father of the year.

Dawn expresses her worries about her mother’s declining health to Ormand. For whatever reason, Sally Jean won’t go see a doctor. Dawn suggests that they sell their family heirloom, a string of pearls they have, but Ormand reminds Dawn that Sally Jean would rather die than do that. Well then.


There’s a moment where Dawn thinks Jimmy is asleep so she gets dressed near him only to catch him watching. Geez, Jimmy, ever learned to avert your eyes? Then again, Dawn just stands there, intrigued by his gaze.


Sally Jean finally gets a part time gig cleaning even though her health is no better. One afternoon Ormand comes home early to tell everyone that the garage is being sold and that he has a better job now. Also,


“You two are gonna go to one of the finest schools in the South and it ain’t gonna cost us nothing.”


See, Ormand is going to be a “maintenance supervisor” at a fancy private school and part of the deal is for his kids to go tuition free. Dawn is awed but Jimmy hates the idea from the start, knowing that they will stick out. The fancy school has a pretentious name of Emerson Peabody.


“Emerson Peabody? What kind of name is that for a school? I ain’t going to to no school named Emerson Peabody,” Jimmy said.


I don’t blame him. Jimmy and Ormand get into it again but are interrupted by Sally Jean’s return home. She has a coughing fit that scares Dawn. But she’s very happy when she hears the news. Jimmy knows that he and Dawn are never going to fit in with all of those rich kids but Dawn tries to be optimistic about it.


A week later, Dawn picks out her best dress and pleads with Jimmy to wear his nicest outfit as well. They have to get up early to ride with their father across town to Emerson Peabody. The school is described in short but impressive detail–for a VCA novel, anyway.


Right away the kids have to meet with the principal, Mrs. Turnbell, who expects nothing but perfect behavior from the two of them. It’s clear that she is not at all happy with this arrangement. She isn’t very kind to Mr. Longchamp either. He is a lowly janitor, after all. She also seems to think Dawn has a strange name and refuses to call Jimmy anything other than James.


She rubs in the fact that they are getting in for free while other student have to pay so much money for the privilege to go there. Blah, blah, blah. Jimmy seems even more sour about Emerson Peabody now.


“Jimmy? Didn’tcha hear? It’s James. We’re in for it now.”


Dawn soon sees just how rich the other students are in their expensive clothes. The comparison of that to the girls at Winterhaven in the Casteel series is interesting. Dawn is starting the year as a sophomore and immediately clicks with a friendly be-speckled redhead named Louise. Louise talks a lot and soon Dawn knows a ton about her.


Dawn and Louise both have a gym class together. Dawn makes a great impression by naively ratting out a girl named Clara Sue Cutler for having a smoking cigarette inside of her locker. She yells at Dawn for ratting her out once the gym teacher has left the locker room and all of the other girls, including Louise, turn against her. I kind of can’t blame Clara Sue for being upset.


After class, Dawn is the last one showering and discovers that all of her clothes have been thrown into a toilet–and there’s urine in it. Even though I kinda felt bad for Clara Sue, this is pretty low. Dawn has no choice but to let her clothes be washed and wear her gym uniform for the rest of the day.


“But…everyone will laugh at me.”



If this was a Stephen King novel, there would be a much different ending for this book. Everyone finds Dawn’s uniform amusing (really?) and Jimmy is pissed when he finds out. To make matters worse, Mrs. Turnbell calls Dawn into her office to scold her for making enemies so soon and for being so classless as to wear her gym uniform to classes. Dawn is ordered to go wait for her clothes to dry, even though her dress comes out super wrinkled.


Louise later goes over to Dawn to tell her how sorry she is about what happened and how she had no part in it. She tells Dawn that she should have warned her about Clara Sue, who can make others do whatever she wants. They go into the cafeteria and Dawn decides to go over to Clara Sue’s table and tell her just what she thinks of her.

Clara Sue isn’t troubled by this at all and acts like they were just hazing her into the school or something. She invites Dawn and Louise to sit with them and asks Dawn about herself. All of the girls are baffled when they discover that Dawn has brought her lunch from home and has money for milk. Clara Sue laughs when Dawn tells her that her father is the janitor and that she and her brother get to go to Emerson Peabody for free despite them being poor. Dawn really needs to learn when to shut up.

Even this is too much for Louise to learn, who makes a flimsy excuse to leave the table. Clara Sue and her minions leave as well. Dawn glares at them and refuses to let them intimidate her. Thank God for that, at least.  Someone asks if there are any free seats and Dawn looks up at the most handsomest boy she’s ever seen. The boy introduces himself as Philip Cutler–Clara Sue’s older brother. When Dawn is hesitant, she admits all that Clara Sue has done and Philip apologizes for it.


Philip is in eleventh grade and just got his driver’s license. He asks Dawn if she would go for a ride with him after school. That escalated fast.


“I’ll show you the sights,” he added, winking.

Oh, I’m sure he will. Dawn has to decline because of her father and responsibilities at home. Dawn learns that Philip lives in the dorms but is from Virginia Beach and that his family owns the Cutler’s Cove Hotel near there. Dawn is impressed. She tells Philip about her father’s occupation but he’s unfazed. Jimmy then comes in and joins them, unhappy about everything.


Introductions are made before Jimmy goes to get his milk. Philip heaps sappy compliments on Dawn before his two friends come over to join them. After lunch, Philip walks Dawn to her music class and tells her more about himself. He asks if she will think about letting him take her for a ride tomorrow. When she notices Clara Sue watching, Dawn loudly says that she’ll think about it.


Dawn’s music teacher, Mr. Moore, is impressed with her music scales and muses aloud that he may have found their next solo singer for their upcoming concert. He’s impressed when Dawn admits that she has been teaching herself the guitar and asks her to bring it in the next day. He is the only teacher who seems to go out of his way to be kind to her.


Louise is waiting for Dawn after class, seeming jealous about Philip Cutler sitting with her at lunch. She warns her that Philip has a bad reputation but Dawn tells her that people should decide about other people for themselves. Louise apologizes for leaving Dawn at lunch and asks if she can join her tomorrow. Dawn is aloof about it, still hurt at the betrayal.


Louise tells Dawn that Clara Sue is going to be even more pissed when she hears about what Mr. Moore said because she sung the solo at last year’s concert and thinks she’s going to do the same this year as well. Dawn just can’t seem to catch a break!


Next, more school and boy drama!



VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 1


Last year I did a series of V.C. Andrews recaps for the last three books in the Casteel series. It was so much fun that I decided I wanted to do that again this year. The original idea came from the snarky Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina, and first two Casteel book recaps I saw here.

I can’t remember when I last visited the Cutler series but I do remember most of the major plot points. It will be interesting to revisit this world as a much older reader, though. I’m pretty sure I haven’t read these since I was in college.

These recaps are filled with SPOILERS so read at your own risk! These are more for longtime VCA fans though anyone is welcome to read!

Anyways, I present to you… Dawn! This recap will cover the first chapter.


First off, you have to admire the art that went into this cover. Is that red building supposed to be the hotel, though? A hotel with a weird flame tree and fence? Hmm. Here’s the stepback:

Now, the entire Cutler series was written by Andrew Neiderman, V.C. Andrew’s ghostwriter. Supposedly he wrote the series based on notes of hers. I’m not sure how true all of that is but I do remember this being one of the better ghostwritten series.


Here’s how the book opens: Momma once told me that she and Daddy named me Dawn because I was born at the break of day. That was the first of a thousand lies Momma and Daddy would tell me and my brother Jimmy. Of course, we wouldn’t know they were lies, not for a long time, not until the day they came to take us away.


One hell of an opening!




The story begins with Dawn Longchamp (fourteen) waking to the sounds of dresser drawers opening in another room. She turns to her sixteen-year-old brother, Jimmy, who sleeps in the same bed as she does to wake him but he’s already awake. Okay, already getting some Flowers in the Attic vibes here. Dawn asks Jimmy what is going on and he bemoans that they were going to get a puppy and plant a garden.


So apparently they are leaving and for whatever reason this is a surprise to Dawn. Jimmy tells her that their father got home early from work looking frenzied before he and their mother began to pack. And I guess Jimmy just went to sit on the bed while Dawn slept or something?


Jimmy says they might as well get up before their parents come tell them to and proceeds to get dressed. Dawn just lays there and watches him. Riight. She then begins to think of how her family is always moving, never staying settled for long. She then decides to get up and as she does, her nightgown dips low enough to reveal her bosom and she catches Jimmy staring at her. Oh Lord.



Embarrassed, Dawn fixes her nightgown and thinks about how she’s never told anyone that she and Jimmy sleep in the same bed because of how embarrassing it is. Their family is poor so they have to always share a bed. Dawn gets up, shivering at how cold the room is, and has the sense to go get dressed in the bathroom.

After that, she goes to pack right before her parents come out of their room with their own suitcases in tow. Dawn idly asks why they have to always travel at night and her daddy says it’s the best time to do it, glaring at her. Relax, Daddy. Ormand Longchamp is then described as being handsome with sleek dark brown hair and dark coal eyes.


“When the day came that I fell in love and decided to marry, I hoped my husband would be just as handsome as Daddy.”


Oh, you just wait, Dawn. Anyway, Dawn is ordered to help her mother pack up kitchen stuff and Jimmy begins to take the bags to the car. Jimmy is described as looking like his father in terms of his body and Dawn describes herself as having “China doll features” and not looking like anyone in the immediate family. They also don’t have many photos of family. The one photo they have is of the mother, Sally Jean, when she was younger and “fresh” looking.


Dawn figures all of the photos must have gotten lost over the years during their many moves. As precious as her mother’s photo seems to be, this seems unlikely but anyway. Momma and Jimmy are described as looking alike in their features–black hair, dark eyes, bronze complexions, and beautiful white teeth. Dawn has blond hair and freckles–which she pointedly says no one in her family has.


Dawn for whatever reason thinks of how her parents told them about her and Jimmy’s births. Dawn had apparently been born on the road before–you know–dawn. Oh, and the birds were singing. This fact will be very important later on. Dawn’s family is really superstitious, or at least her mother really is, and believes whatever a woman sees while giving birth will be what characteristics her child has.


“The worst thing was to have a mouse or a rat in the house when a woman was pregnant,” Momma said.

“What would happen, Momma?” I asked, filled with wonder.

“The child would be sneaky, cowardly.”


…right. Anyway, Dawn thinks to how she knows so little about her parents family aside that they were both brought up on small, poor farms in Georgia. There apparently wasn’t enough room for Ormand and Sally Jean Longchamp there once they married so they began their travels.


Dawn helps her mother pack up the kitchen, both of them sad about it. Jimmy lingers in the doorway to watch and is both sad and angry before Daddy comes in to make them hurry up. Dawn thinks of how fidgety her father is, how he likes to  frequent bars, and his strange, sulky moods. Her daddy finally tells them that it’s time to get going and he glares at Dawn as if it’s her fault. Foreshadowing! Sort of. Even Dawn is baffled by the glare.

The family heads on to the car to move onto their next location. The kids are surprised to learn that their next destination is Richmond, Virginia. Their father has a job waiting for him at a garage there and their mother is sure she can get a chambermaid position. They already have somewhere to live as well so Dawn knows that her father must have been planning this. This makes me wonder exactly where they stayed when they moved in the past. Were all of the other moves spur of the moment?


The Longchamps are so poor that they can only afford a one bedroom apartment, meaning Dawn and Jimmy will have to share a room and a sofa bed. This leads Dawn into thoughts about how they both get embarrassed when Jimmy accidentally touched her “where he wasn’t supposed to.” Dawn wishes that she could be like other girls her age with her own bed and privacy. This is so sad. The apartment is so bad to Jimmy that he remarks that he would rather sleep in the street.


A few months pass and one afternoon, Dawn’s mother comes home from work much earlier than usual. Dawn is hoping that her mother would bring something else for dinner because all they were down to now were leftovers. But their mother comes in crying and running to the bedroom and dinner is forgotten.


Dawn and Jimmy go to comfort her and find out what happened. Jimmy asks their mother if she lost her job and while she says that she didn’t, she admits that she won’t have it much longer. She breaks the news that she is going to have a baby. Sally Jean went to the doctor earlier that day and discovered she’s more than four months along but ignored the signs. Considering both of her children are teenagers, I can see that being plausible. Poor woman probably thought her periods had finally stopped.


Sally Jean keeps crying and says she is too old to have a baby. Dawn is worried and Jimmy is angry at their father because apparently it’s all his fault this happened. Dawn later finds him outside angrily throwing a ball against the wall in the alley.


“One thing we definitely don’t need right now if another child in the house. Look at what we’re eating for dinner tonight!” Jimmy yells.


I don’t even want to know what’s for dinner. A can of beans split between the four of them, maybe? Jimmy continues to go on about the things that a baby will need. Dawn tries to understand how this could have happened and Jimmy has to tell her that sex doesn’t always make a baby. Awkward.


“You’ll have to ask Momma about it. I don’t know all the details,” Jimmy said quickly, but I knew he did.


Ormand comes home and learns the news. He and Jimmy get into it before Ormand leaves the house, probably to frequent a bar and spend money they need on himself. I think I can see why Jimmy blames him for so much now. Oh, and apparently they are having grits and black-eyed peas for dinner. Jimmy is very unhappy about it.


Dawn gets to worrying about her dad and decides to go to the bar to get him later on. And of course, he’s lost track of how much he’s spent.


“I don’t like you going in a place like that. You’re smarter and better than the rest of us, Dawn. You deserve better,” Dawn’s father says.


Of course Dawn protests that she isn’t better than anyone but if you know the twist, you know exactly what Ormand means.


Jimmy is surprised that Dawn went to get their father. Before they go to sleep, they can hear their parents having sex in the other room. Dawn is kind of curious and terrified about it considering her mother’s condition. She asks Jimmy questions about it and he’s obviously very embarrassed because he keeps dodging them and finally tells her to shut up. Then Dawn’s leg accidentally grazes his and he pulls away so far he’s about to fall off of the sofa bed.


Pretty eventful first chapter–it’s 23 pages long!


Next, the Longchamps have a new addition to their family, Ormand gets a better job, and the kids get a once in a chance lifetime because of it!


VCA Recaps: Web of Dreams Part 5 (Final)

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 18—Epilogue.

Leigh bathes, dresses, and joins everyone for dinner. She is obviously not feeling it but of course Jillian ignores her lack of enthusiasm and relishes in slamming some of the dieters she met at her “wonder spa.”

Jillian tells Leigh that she has some of the things from Switzerland in another room and that she wants her to see them. Tony pulls Leigh back for a moment. He tells her that he doesn’t harbor any resentment toward her for what she said to Jillian and how they both understand how Leigh is “literally exploding into womanhood.”

Leigh tells him that eventually her mother will believe her. Poor thing. Tony goes on about teenage girls, blah blah blah. Leigh calls him despicable and goes to see her mother’s things. Of course Jillian continues to drone on about the stupid spa. Leigh attempts to talk to her mother again but gives up when Jillian starts to complain about her “starting all that again.” Jillian is even worse than Tony.

Jillian gives Leigh a watch that Leigh couldn’t care less about. Leigh continues to attempt to talk to her mother but eventually gives up and retreats into herself. She even ignores Jennifer and Joshua’s phone calls. Leigh begins to find solitude in nature.

Jillian returns to her social life and Tony keeps his distance from Leigh. In July he goes off to Europe. When Cleave calls, Leigh basically begs him to come see her, and without Mildred. Of course Cleave can’t leave his precious Mildred. I’m pretty sure he knows the truth about Leigh’s paternity somehow. Maybe Jillian told him so Leigh would have no one.

Still, Leigh looks forward to seeing her father even with Mildred only to get stood up—there’s an emergency on one of the liners. She runs up to her room and starts feeling bad. In the morning she throws up and realizes with horror that she’s missed her period. She knows she’s pregnant.

She waits a few more days but the sickness doesn’t go away. Finally she goes to Jillian to tell her the news, sure that it will make her believe her this time! Poor Leigh. Jillian seems skeptical at first and then blames Leigh for seducing her husband.

Jillian insists that Leigh must be jealous of her and that she tried so hard to bring her up right, and that GOOD GIRLS DON’T GO ALL THE WAY! Just like Jillian didn’t, right? She’s such a hypocrite! Leigh finally calls her out on it too, revealing that she overheard Jana discussing Leigh’s real father.

Of course Jillian refuses to confess to it.

“How dare you shout at me like this! I’m your mother.”

“No, you’re not. I have no mother and I have no father. You thought you could have it all, didn’t you? Only the finest! A handsome young husband, a luxurious estate, a designer wardrobe, and a SPECIALLY SELECTED MISTRESS FOR YOUR OWN HUSBAND!”

Damn, girl. She’s not finished though.

“Tell me, Momma, when did you first get the idea? On your honeymoon? When you returned to Farthy? When did you realize that your beauty wouldn’t last forever and would start FADING! That’s right, fading! With each passing day you grow older and older, Momma. But you’ve always known that, deep in your heart of hearts. I CAN’T STAND YOU ANYMORE! You don’t care about anything but yourself and your precious face. Well let me tell you something, Jillian Tatterton, the game is OVER! You’re going to be a GRANDMOTHER and the only person you have to blame is YOURSELF!”

Ah, I think Jillian’s revulsion to the word “grandmother” back in earlier books may have something to do with Leigh finally calling her out on her shit.

These are the last words Leigh says to Jillian as she returns to her suite and starts packing. She also takes Angel with her. Leigh decides that she’ll go to her grandmother since she knows what Jillian is really like. She also takes two hundred dollars from Tony’s office. Really, it’s the least he can do.

She goes outside to find Miles polishing the car and pretends that she has an appointment and that Jillian must have forgotten to notify anyone. Before they can leave, Leigh spots Troy out with his nurse and knows she must say goodbye.

They are just on their way back from the beach and Troy is excited to show Leigh a huge conch shell he found. Leigh tells him that she has to leave and won’t be back for a while. She promises that somehow, someway, she’ll be back. While this isn’t exactly true, I suppose Heaven returning to Farthy later on sort of fulfills her promise.

Troy insists that Leigh take the shell with her. Miles drops Leigh off at the train station and she discovers the train will have to make a stop in Atlanta before it goes all the way to Texas. She takes the train right away.

The next day the train stops in Atlanta and Leigh stays at the station counting what little money she has left. Suddenly someone says that they bet they can turn one of her dollars into a five-dollar-bill. She turns and sees a young man, around seventeen or so. Luke Thomas Casteel.

Leigh is somewhat wary but lets him have one of her bills. She watches, amazed, as he turns it into a five-dollar-bill. He says he figures she needed it from the way she was counting her money. When she says she can’t take money from a stranger, he introduces himself.

The two get to talking and Leigh learns that Luke has a part-time job at the local circus. She also tells him the surface details of where she is from and where she is going. When he realizes Leigh means to stay at the station and has no where to go, he invites her to go to the circus with him.

She accepts and they have a good time. It’s almost like a first date. Luke also becomes more self conscious when Leigh questions him about drinking beer. Luke gives Leigh a quick kiss on the lips. After finishing a show, Leigh realizes that she is going to miss her train.

Luke tries his best to get her to the station on time but they still miss it. When he suggests she call her grandmother to let her know she will be late, Leigh breaks down crying and tells him the real reason she’s running away. Luke acts way more upset about it than Jillian’s pinky finger.

He rents her a motel room for the night with two beds and stays when she insists he enjoy the room as well. Luke plans to take her to the station in the morning. Leigh has a nightmare and Luke comforts her. They end up falling asleep in each other’s arms and Luke tells her that he wants to take care of her.

In the morning Luke insists that he meant what he said last night and asks her to marry him. While I do think Luke and Leigh’s relationship so far as been cute, this seems a bit drastic, even given Leigh’s situation. Still, this is the best version of Luke in all of the books.

Luke and Leigh go to the courthouse to get married with most of the circus people there as witnesses. Everyone seems happy about the marriage except for the fortune teller, who looks worried as Luke and Leigh drive away afterward.

Irony of ironies, Luke is the one to give Heaven her full name and he suggests it as he takes Leigh to the Willies. They stop for food and Leigh gets onto Luke about drinking again. She also sends her mother a postcard telling her that she has married Luke. She also says she hopes Jillian is happy (sincerely) and that Jillian will wish the same to her.

Luke explains about the rich people of Winnerow when they pass by the town. Leigh is shocked by the cabin that Luke finally arrives at and meets a younger Annie and Toby Casteel. Annie seems unsure about Leigh and her “softness.”

Everyone has a good laugh at Leigh’s reaction to an outhouse and Luke promises to build her a really nice one. He also promises that soon they will have their own home.

Leigh learns to adjust to life in the Willies and finds Annie to be very easy to talk to as she helps her around the house. Annie and Toby insist on Luke and Leigh having the bed because “all Casteels are made in beds” but Luke tells Leigh that they can wait until the baby has come. Luke really does seem to love her.

Luke’s drinking continues to be somewhat of a problem. Leigh considers getting money from her trust or reaching out to her dad for help but Luke has strong pride and insists that he will make their dreams come true without any help.

When Luke first takes Leigh to church, she sees how the townspeople treat them and pulls Luke to the front, a bold move that pleases Annie very much afterwards.

They all go to a party after and Leigh reflects on how it’s even better than her birthday party because everyone seems to be happy with one another. She notices Sarah Williams, Luke’s future wife, dancing with him and starts to get jealous. Luke insists that he only has eyes for her. We know that’s not true considering Sarah gave birth to Tom only a few months after Heaven arrived.

On Christmas Eve, Luke gives Leigh a wedding dress and veil for Angel. The weather is beginning to get colder. In February, Luke and Leigh are on one of their nightly walks when she starts to feel Heaven kick. She also feels some pain but is afraid to worry Luke.

Leigh tells him that she thinks it won’t be much longer and gets a good glimpse of the star studded night sky so she can “feel as if she’s falling asleep in Heaven” later. Foreshadowing…

That seems to be the last of Leigh’s logbook minus a letter from a private eye that Tony had hired who tells him that Leigh was found to be living in West Virginia and that she died in childbirth. He mentions that the baby, a girl, lived.

Which is a total plot hole unless Tony wanted his daughter to fall in love with his little brother? That seems too messed up even for Tony. Or did Jillian somehow get a hold of the letter and hide it from him?

Luke Casteel Jr. calls to Annie and she tells him about how she has been reading her grandmother’s journal. She imagines she is hearing Troy calling for Leigh and also the sound of Chopin as she and Luke leave Farthinggale Manor.

Overall I loved this one, though I feel like the whole discovery of the logbook makes little sense, causes plot holes, and honestly would have been better left out. You don’t have to have a journal to tell your story and I don’t believe a 12-13 year old would have left such a detailed account anyway. Still, loved it. My third favorite in the series.

I hope you have enjoyed this recap. Since the V.C. Andrews Project has already done a recap of My Sweet Audrina, I will probably skip doing that one though I may do one for the new sequel, Whitefern, which I hear is terrible. But I guess we’ll see!





VCA Recaps: Web of Dreams Part 4

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 16—18.

Jillian goes overboard for Leigh’s 13th birthday party, wanting to impress Leigh’s friends from Winterhaven. Leigh only invites the girls who are still friendly with her, not caring when the others resent her even more. She also invites Joshua and William.

The day of the party arrives and it sounds pretty snazzy. Five piece band, caviar, momentos for guests, and a movie in the private theater that hasn’t even been released yet.

Leigh is annoyed when Jillian seems to brush off Joshua when she introduces him so she does it twice. And of course Jillian still doesn’t give a shit. Leigh shows Joshua her room and “Angel.” She promises to take him to see the English maze and cottage where she modeled later on.

During the movie, Leigh and Joshua sneak away to the maze and then out to the cottage. Leigh is disappointed to see that it is still set up like it was when she was modeling and has to cover a revealing painting of her that Tony did, one that seems new.

Leigh and Joshua end up making out on the couch. Sadly she keeps envisioning Tony’s hands on her so they have to stop. Just as Leigh is reassuring Joshua that it isn’t his fault, Tony bursts in and starts yelling at them.

Joshua is terrified and runs right out. Tony tells Leigh that he won’t tell Jillian but wants to talk about it later. Leigh agrees as she hurries to join Joshua. When they return to the movie, Jennifer and William are making out. Joshua seems very embarrassed about the cottage incident.

He is worried about Tony when he and Leigh part ways. After all of the guests have left, Leigh gets a package from her father (and Mildred). It ends up being a ballet dancer music box. Hmmm, is this a shout out to Flowers in the Attic, maybe?

Tony comes to her room as she is watching the dancer spin and thinking back to other birthdays with her father, happier ones. He is very disheveled. He tries to make small talk before he apologizes for scaring her at the cottage earlier. He also scolds her for leaving during the movie and that he didn’t want Joshua to take advantage of her.

When Leigh protests that Joshua isn’t like that, Tony says that Jillian wants him to help her protect and take care of Leigh. Tony then launches into how Leigh has a power over men just like her mother does. He even takes puts his hand over her breast and Leigh realizes that he is touching her just like Joshua did. She begins to wonder if he was watching them before he came into the cottage.

Tony tells Leigh that she must understand her powers and that she must permit him to let him help her. Leigh, unsure of what to say, tells him that she appreciates his concern for her. When he spots Angel, he talks about how he has captured Leigh’s beauty in it.

Leigh asks him if he is planning another doll and about the painting she saw in the cottage but he assures her it’s old. She isn’t so sure. When she asks him why the cottage is still set up like it was when she was modeling, he says he hadn’t gotten around to it but also likes going back to revel in the time they spent together, which is why he was so upset that she took a “stranger” there.

He pleads with her to ask before bringing anyone else to the cottage in the future. Once he leaves, Leigh calls Joshua to let him know that they didn’t do anything wrong. Afterward, Leigh falls asleep with Angel in her arms.

Jillian finally permits Leigh to stay at Winterhaven during more of the weekends so she can do more with Joshua, Jennifer, and William. Marie and the “special club” soften enough to where they are all talking again.

The portrait dolls become a quick success once they are released, all of the Winterhaven girls wanting their own. Tony does a lot of traveling in the winter. Cleave continues to disappoint Leigh. Tony puts a share of the profits off of the dolls into a trust for her.

In late May Jillian announces she is going a wonder spa in Switzerland to lose the rest of her weight (the measly four pounds?). Leigh is happy that she is allowed to stay at Winterhaven until the end of the school year.

Summer arrives and Leigh returns to Farthy. She and Tony have their first real argument over her not being allowed to invite any friends over until her mother is back. She even leaves the table during dinner and runs up to her room to make her point. Tony claims he doesn’t want to chaperone but I feel he has a more sinister reason for keeping her isolated from her friends.

Leigh begins to feel depressed over not being able to have a normal life. When she looks out of her window and sees Tony heading for the cottage, she becomes curious and decides to go see what he’s doing.

She quietly follows him and peeks into one of the windows of the cottage. The painting she covered is uncovered again and this time Tony has painted himself naked next to the naked portrait of Leigh. She is shocked when he emerges from another room completely naked.

Leigh is pretty upset when she reaches her room again. She is so upset that she takes a bath to feel less dirty. Afterward, she crawls into bed to sleep. She wakes up shortly later to the sound of heavy breathing in the darkness and suddenly sees Tony standing there still naked, staring down at her.

She tries to snap him out of it with questions about his presence there but he wants to “show her, teach her.” The scene is a little more detailed and lengthy than I care for so long story short, the bastard rapes her. He also calls her his portrait doll.

Once he is gone, she hugs Angel to her and returns to sleep. In the morning she wonders if last night was a nightmare but concludes that it wasn’t. Troy later comes in saying that she had promised to go with him on the beach later.

Leigh has little choice but to go down for breakfast. Tony acts like nothing has changed and suggests he may join her and Troy on their walk. Leigh gets upset enough that Troy’s nurse notices but Tony brushes it off and Leigh doesn’t want to actually say what happened out loud in front of Troy and his nurse.

She and Troy go on the beach and end up discussing clouds. Troy is worries about the wind blowing them away but Leigh promises it won’t. Thankfully Tony stays away.

When it becomes dark, Leigh becomes afraid because her bedroom doors don’t have locks. So she decides to go sleep in the only suite that has them—her mother’s room. To feel closer to her mother, she wears one of her nightgowns and sprays some of her jasmine perfume on before going to sleep.

Of course Tony has a key and he confuses Leigh with Jillian at first but when he realizes it’s Leigh, he assumes that she wants to be her mother and rapes her again. But before that happens, Leigh also tells him her mother is lying about her age, the only thing that would hurt her mother, but Tony says he already knows—that he looked into her past after he’d married her.

He is upset that Jillian betrayed him like that. I guess in a way he takes out his anger out on poor Leigh. Which is probably how this started to begin with. Though Tony also seems like he may have been off kilter from the very beginning.

In the morning Leigh returns to her own suite and tells her maid she is ill. She has little appetite when food is brought to her and stays in bed all day. Who can blame her? Jillian later returns and goes right to Leigh’s room because of how worried everyone is and gets angry with her for daring to get sick on her arrival!

It’s all about Jillian in Jillian’s world!

Leigh tries to tell her mother what happened with Tony. Jillian says that Tony told her that Leigh was making advances toward him. He also told her about Leigh pretending to be her in her suite. Leigh is frustrated when she realizes her mother isn’t going to believe her.

She realizes that even though her mother will get half of Tony’s wealth if they divorce, she won’t have her status quo being his wife and that’s what her mother really cares about. Jillian gets angry that Leigh told Tony that she lied about her age to him and doesn’t believe that he already knew. Jillian feels SO betrayed.

Jillian blames Leigh’s behavior on being a woman, on posing nude for Tony, for him being so handsome and available while she was away. She tells Leigh that she will have to learn to control her fantasies and drives.

She also insists that Leigh bathe, dress, and come down for dinner.  When she leaves, Leigh turns to Angel and cries that she wishes the doll could talk so she could tell Jillian as the doll is the only witness. But then she smartly comes to the conclusion that even if she could, her mother still wouldn’t believe her.

A lot happened in those two chapters so I’m going to end it here. I’ll probably finish up the rest of the book in the next recap! I’ve finished the book by now but I did really enjoy it, though it is very depressing and hard to read at times. Poor Leigh!

Next, Leigh discovers something terrible enough that she is sure her mother will have to believe her about Tony!






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.”


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.





VCA Recaps: Web of Dreams Part 2

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 6–11.

Jillian doesn’t come home for hours. When she finally does, she arrives looking perfect and happy. She chides Leigh for being upset over the divorce and explains why she wasn’t happy with her father. All shallow reasons like how much older he is, how cooped up she feels on board, how much she is missing out on society, etc.

When Leigh lets her know that she saw the invitations, Jillian breaks the news that she is indeed getting married—and to Tony Tatterton. On Christmas, and they are all going to be living at Farthy. Thinking back to when I was twelve, that is definitely not an easy thing for Leigh to swallow.

Jillian pleads with Leigh to be her “best friend” from now on. She isn’t saying it out loud but basically she’s over being a mother. Then, you know, she has to go into how she fell in love with Tony, because you totally should tell your daughter all about it. She claims they didn’t have an affair but she is such a liar about everything else that I don’t really believe her about that.

Also, Jillian makes her promise to never tell Tony her real age. Cleave arrives later on and tells Leigh that he has a room at the Hilton when she asks about where he will be staying. Jillian takes Cleave into his office for a private talk. Leigh is upset when Cleave later leaves without saying goodbye. Poor girl.

Leigh later gets a letter from Raymond, one of the boys she met on the cruise and shows the letter off at school. Thanksgiving arrives and Jillian takes Leigh to Farthy to celebrate it with Tony, Troy, and important friends of Tony’s. Two weeks later, Leigh and Jillian return to Farthy for a wedding rehearsal. Jillian regrets inviting some of her older friends and voices this out loud to Leigh.

Once at Farthy, Troy is excited to show off a snowman he has made out front. Tony shows Leigh her new rooms, where she will be getting ready for the rehearsal as well as living from now on. The rooms are beautiful but Leigh worries about betraying her father’s love. Tony helps her zip up her dress when she comes out looking for her mother.

After the rehearsal is over, Leigh lets Troy drag her into the maze to find hedge trimmings for his snowman. He shows her the cottage at the end and demonstrates that he knows how to make a fire. He is a very mature four year old. They stay long enough for the snow to cover their tracks and can’t find their way back through the maze again.

Leigh and Troy are frozen by the time they are found. Troy is whisked off to a bath and Tony suggests Jillian do the same for Leigh. Jillian is upset over Leigh embarrassing her. Even Tony notices how unconcerned she is over Leigh shivering and helps her up to her new bathroom.

He runs her a hot bath and convinces her to let him help undress her down to her underwear. Once she’s in the bath, he comes in with a robe and she feels very uncomfortable, hoping he can’t see anything. He even dips his fingers into the bathwater.

A bit later, Jillian storms in to rant some more about how embarrassed she is about what Leigh did. Who knew getting lost in a maze during a snow storm was so embarrassing? When Leigh mentions that Troy wanted to get hedge trimmings, Jillian complains about how spoiled and undisciplined he is. She makes Leigh feel bad enough about what happened (right before her wedding!) to apologize.

Well…you should be. This wedding is the most important thing that has ever happened to me…or to you, young lady.”

Due to the snow, Jillian and Leigh stay over. Jillian talks to Leigh about how she will be having her own rooms even when she’s married because women need their privacy for their beauty routines and letting men see them makes them less mysterious.

Tony later brings Leigh dinner and says he hopes she will learn to love Farthy as much as he does. He also gets her to let him kiss her good night. Later, Jillian comes by to tell her that they will be leaving in the morning after breakfast. She also tells Leigh that she will help her see that all of their days from now on will be exciting.

On the way home in the morning, Jillian talks about her honeymoon and also about Winterhaven, the private girl school Tony is going to get Leigh enrolled in. Poor Leigh is just having everything taken from her. When she gets home, she has a letter from her father. It makes her sad.

Later on Jillian reveals that Jana, her mother, has agreed to come to the wedding and will probably arrive in a few hours. Indeed she does come a few hours later. The first thing Jana does is take Jillian into Cleave’s office to talk. The door is left a crack open so Leigh can hear everything.

First Jana bitches Jillian out over her marriage to Cleave. Leigh’s heart breaks when she hears her mother confess that she never loved his. It shatters when Jana reveals that Jillian got knocked up by a man named Chester Godwin. She asks Jillian if Cleave know that Leigh isn’t really his child.

Jana is disgusted at Jillian not only marrying a much younger man but also that she is lying about her age to him.

“Disgusting. Another life built on lies. I have a good mind to turn right around and head straight home, but I came and I’ll stay for Leigh’s sake. That poor child having to be dragged through one thing after another by her selfish, vain, foolish mother.”

Her heart broken, Leigh vows to never tell Cleave the truth and that he will always be her father anyway. She then thinks back to her mother telling her how nice girls didn’t have sex until they got married. Suddenly she realizes just how big of a hypocrite Jillian is.

Jana is impressed with Farthy when they take her to meet Tony, something that makes Jillian happy. The servants wait on her hand and foot.

The morning of the wedding arrive and Leigh is sad that they will be leaving their Boston house and the servants she has grown to love. Cleave has found them jobs on his liner at least.

They arrive at Farthy and it looks beautiful but of course Jillian complains about Troy’s snowman still being out front. Witch. The wedding proceeds and Leigh spends a lot of it wondering how much her mother’s oaths really mean since she had broken them before with her father.

Later Troy shows Leigh all of the wedding presents and sadly confesses that he is unhappy about the wedding because he knows Jillian doesn’t like him.

“She looks at me with growls in her eyes,” he said quickly.
“Growls? What’s growls?”
He growled like a dog.
“Oh.” I started to laugh, but saw he was very serious.

Leigh makes excuses that Jillian just isn’t used to little boys. Troy doesn’t seem very hopeful but is happy that Leigh is his sister and here with him now.

Later Jillian takes Leigh up to her suite to show her a prenuptial agreement between her and Tony. Leigh is confused by the need for it. Jillian calls her stupid and advises her to never trust a man. She tells Leigh that she is showing her this so she won’t worry about their future—no matter what, they’re rich! How very Corrine Foxworth of her.

Jana heads for the airport and back to Texas but before she goes, she invites Leigh to come stay with her if she isn’t happy. After, Tony and Jillian head off for their honeymoon, leaving Leigh with just the servants and Troy.

Leigh fills her hours with Troy. For Christmas he gifts her a ceramic horse that he made with a girl on it made to represent her. Leigh gets a heart shaped locket with a picture of her and her father inside from Cleave.

On New Years, Troy tries to say up until midnight but falls asleep. Cleave calls to wish Leigh a happy new year. Troy wakes up in the morning sick enough that his nanny takes him to the hospital. When she returns, she tells Leigh that Troy has pneumonia.

Leigh worries about Troy. Jillian comes home from her honeymoon some time later but doesn’t seem concerned at all about her new husband’s little brother. She is tired from her honeymoon, from her new husband’s energy levels, and needs to sleep. Leigh can’t wrap her head around Jillian not being at the hospital with Tony.

Later on Leigh goes to the hospital to check on Troy. Tony seems surprised and as the evening goes on, takes her to dinner. He complains about how little Jillian wanted to do on their honeymoon. When they get back to Farthy, Jillian is awake and annoyed that Leigh left.

Once Tony goes away, Jillian complains to Leigh about how tired Tony has made her with his energy. She even talks about their sex life.

“He makes love like he’s raping me,” she explained.

She pleads with Leigh to be her best friend and to help her keep Tony occupied by doing activities with him that she has no desire to do. That doing so will help him not need her so much. She tells Leigh that she will need to spend her weekends home with him. Leigh is very unsure about all of this but reluctantly agrees.

I didn’t know what to say. What was I agreeing to do?

Troy continues to get better. Jillian’s vanity gets worse and she takes even more time with her beauty routines. One evening Leigh overhears Tony and Jillian’s first spat. They are arguing about sex. Jillian is claiming that it is threatening her health but Tony calls out bullshit on that.

When Leigh goes in to talk to her mother after, Jillian reminds her of her promise to keep Tony occupied. Leigh protests that Tony won’t want to be with her and that he married Jillian so that must mean he wants to be with her. Jillian says he just needs companionship.

Leigh also discovers that Jillian won’t be going with her to school in the morning—Tony will. She suspects that Jillian doesn’t want everyone to see that she has a daughter almost as old as she wants them to think she is.

In the morning Leigh wakes to find Tony standing and staring down at her.

After breakfast, they leave for Winterhaven. Jillian is still in her bed.

I’m still enjoying the re-read and it is definitely looking like Jillian is grooming Leigh to be Tony’s plaything. Or is it just me?

Anyway, next Leigh goes to Winterhaven and unlike her future daughter, makes a friend easily.