on October 25, 1998
The bad news is, "Seeds of Yesterday", the fourth and final installment of the Dollanganger series, can't hold a candle to "Petals on the Wind", the one book in the series that showcased V. C. Andrews' storytelling ability to its best advantage. The good news is, "Seeds" still outshines its predecessors, "Flowers", and "Thorns", which were respectively, a slow-moving exercise in inertia, and a rehash of the same.
Granted, the plot of "Seeds" verges on downright silly: Momma has left her immense wealth to her favorite grandson, Bart, who plans to restore Foxworth Hall in all its glory--and horror (ooh!). Although Cathy and Chris (who still stubbornly refuse to stop "living in sin" and thereby replaying that dreary old storyline) are reluctant to revisit their haunted past, they do so, for Bart's sake. Big mistake--the minute they set foot at Foxworth Hall, all kinds of disasters befall them--the reappearance of a seemingly benign yet sinister "long-lost uncle", a tragic accident, betrayal, and DANGER! Yet, for all of its hokey pretensions, "Seeds" has two factors in its favor: 1) Cathy once again emerges as a strong character, instead of the clueless ditz she was in "Thorns". 2) Bart is a fascinating study of a man who is still seeking his identity after his tortured past. In some ways, he is still the lonely, vulnerable 10-year-old from "Thorns", starved for love and the lion's share of attention. He is also the most fun character, since he is allowed to lash out at his family for their various transgressions, which is his way of turning his own self-hatred inside out.
There are still moments in the book when it would have made more sense to have V. C. Andrews tell the story in the ominscient third-person, because it would have added more detail, and developed Bart further as a character. Instead, because she has again chosen to have Cathy narrate the story, Cathy is more or less forced to eavesdrop to figure out what dastardly deeds are going on behind her back (Mata Hari had nothing on this woman). The other drawbacks are that once again, Chris is ridiculously benevolent, patient and optimistic, and does not find anything furtive about the mysterious uncle (after all of these years, does he STILL not have a clue?). Cindy, the adoptee, is the standard V. C. Andrews "Street Tart" character, albeit a less obvious one, since she looks "blonde and angelic". In any case, she's a mere repeat of Yolanda in "Petals", Vera in "My Sweet Audrina", and Fanny in the "Casteel" series. Jory is essentially the same character as Chris (I defy anyone to read the dialogue given to both characters and differentiate between the two). As Jory's "perpetually in denial" wife, Melodie had potential as a character, but V. C. Andrews doesn't utilize it; all we see is Cathy's point of view. How much more interesting it would have been to pursue Bart, Melodie and even Cindy on their own; instead, Cathy eavesdrops, as mentioned before, or Cindy relates the story, much in the same style as Chris in "Flowers". Overall, I would give this book lower marks than "Petals" for its villains (even at their worst, Bart and Joel can't hold a candle to Momma and THE GRANDPARENTS at their best). However, the plot moves along, largely thanks to Bart, and does not feel like a chore to slog through, as did "Flowers" and "Thorns".