f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: Review: Midnight Whispers
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Midnight Whispers

Midnight Whispers / V.C. Andrews
Published: 1992 (Pocket Books)
Pages: 440 pages
Originally read: 2001
Re-read: July 4 2011 - July 7 2011

Happy and innocent, Dawn's daughter Christie has grown up in the safest, most loving of homes...

Yet Christie can't help feeling as if a dark cloud hovers over Cutler's Cove...a cloud whose origins lie in her family's troubled history, and the many questions no one, not even Dawn, will answer. Only one person can always chase away her blues: Gavin, Daddy Jimmy's young and handsome stepbrother.

Then, in one harsh night, Christie's world is changed forever. She is shocked to discover her Uncle Philip's unbrotherly love for her mother but even worse is the way he now looks at Christie, his eyes bright with tortured passion. Fleeing to New York City, she finds her real father...a pathetic, helpless has-been.

Desperate and heartbroken, she turns to Gavin, who travels with her to The Meadows, the plantation where Christie was born. In Gavin's arms, in the first, tender moments of true love, Christie finds a refuge from her painful memories. But The Meadows is blighted by its own dark secrets — and all too soon Christie is torn from Gavin's embrace. Now as black storms of evil gather around her, Christie must struggle to break the cruel bonds of the past...to defy the curse that has haunted Cutler's Cove for generations....

The long story short: After her parent’s deaths and her uncle Philip’s betrayal, protagonist Christie Longchamp runs to the one place she thinks she might be safe.  Hiding on the run-down plantation where she was born, I expected Christie to mature; however, sheltered to the point of naiveté by her mother, Christie makes only irresponsible decisions.  A weak narrator to start, I never really felt connected to Christie despite her tragedies and triumphs. 

Final rating: 2 1/2 of 5 stars


(Full disclosure: there are a few spoilers in this review.  I normally try not to touch on anything the back of the book does not reveal but this book was very hard for me to read and to finish and due to some of the subject matter, I'm going a little more in depth than I normally would.)

After the untimely death of her parent’s, Christie Longchamp is thrust into a world she does not recognize.  (Truthfully, I shed more tears over Dawn and Jimmy’s deaths than I did for Christie over the course of her story.)  Following the “formula” V.C. Andrews tentatively established, and her ghostwriter capitalized on, Midnight Whispers follows the next generation of the Cutler family – Christie, and through her eyes, her younger brother Jefferson, and her step-father’s younger half-brother, whom Christie has a strong connection with, one that often amazes and confuses her.  After her Uncle Philip and his family move in to take over guardianship of Christie and Jefferson, Christie sees firsthand Philip’s strange behavior…behavior Dawn blindly never truly warned Christie about. 

I think this was one of my absolute biggest peeves in this book, and in this series.  As a mother, Dawn should have taken steps to either get Philip the help he needed, or to keep her daughter away from him.  Instead, it seems she thought she would always be there to protect her innocent daughter – until she wasn’t.

One night strips the last of Christie’s innocence, and she and her brother run away – first to one location, then another, finally calling on Gavin to help whisk them away, to a place where they can hide from reality instead of face it.  This was maybe the part I found the least believable.  Christie, at this point, has been sexually assaulted…yet less than a week later, she throws herself fully into the romantic relationship she hasn’t thus far indulged in with Gavin.   The first time I read this book that didn’t strike me as odd; this time, as an adult, I couldn’t wrap my head around her actions.  For me, Christie jumping into a relationship with Gavin almost cheapened what might otherwise have been a very touching young love.

I have a lot of issues with this book.  Andrew Neiderman (writing as V.C. Andrews) crossed a line when he took Philip’s character in the direction he did.  Before, I had some sympathy for Philip; after, I can understand why Christie ran away from him, in some ways.  The author took his character beyond redemption, which pains me, because I've written for Philip before in VCA themed roleplays.  I also absolutely loathed Fern’s character in this book.  I thought it was utterly a waste of pages, bringing her in at all, much less for the 100+ pages she was in the book.  Her character was given love and chance after chance at redemption, but all she was interested in throughout the this book and the previous one, was telling everyone how bad her life had been.

Overall, I disliked this book.  I thought a few times about not finishing it, but to respect my series re-read, I pushed through.  I did want Christie and Jefferson to find happiness, and was somewhat satisfied with how the story ended, but I felt Midnight Whispers was by far the weakest book in the series (I refuse to re-read the prequel so I won’t/can’t comment on it) and it was not in any way the story I imagined for Dawn’s daughter.