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Books  >>  Horror

V. C. Andrews

Twisted Roots

V. C. Andrews Twisted Roots
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Series:

DeBeers

Excerpt from book:

Chapter One

An Early Baby

I was too young to remember her before she died, but my mother had a nanny, who, according to the way Mommy talks about her, was more of a mother to her than certainly her stepmother was. Sometimes I think how weird it is that Grandmother Grace, Mommy, and I have each had at least one stepparent in our lives. Are some people meant to be brought up that way? I asked Mommy about that, and she said so many marriages end in divorces these days that it is not at all uncommon for a child to have stepparents.

"People marry and remarry the way teenagers used to go steady and break up to go steady with someone else years ago," she says. She's very bitter about it, although she would be the last one to admit to that. Psychologists, both she and Miguel remind me, are not supposed to be judgmental.

"We help our clients make those decisions on their own. We don't impose our values on them," she said.

However, I have heard her angrily remark many times that the marriage vows should be updated. "They should be rewritten to say, 'Do you take this woman to have and to hold -- for a while or until you get bored?' "

Sometimes she is so down on male-female relationships that I have to wonder if I will ever find anyone with whom I might be happy and spend the rest of my life. According to what he has told me and how he acts, my stepfather, Miguel, has no doubts about it. He seems to be very happy and very determined to spend the rest of his life with Mommy. I have never said anything to her about it, but I think he loves her more than she loves him. I know he makes her happy. He makes her laugh a lot, and I can see she enjoys her conversations with him, especially when they are discussing social and psychological topics. But sometimes, more often than ever, I think, she can be very distant. Her eyes take on a glazed look, and she stares at the sea or suddenly goes off to walk alone.

She steals away when Miguel or I least expect it, walking through the house on "pussy willow feet." I have watched her without her knowing, observed her on our beach, and have seen her moving slowly, as slowly as sand sifting through your fingers, idly watching time go by, her face sometimes taking on that dreamy far-off expression, her beautiful lips in a soft smile. It makes me think she hears voices no one else can hear, remembers a whisper, a touch, or even a kiss she has lost. Something wonderful slipped through her fingers years and years ago, perhaps, and now all she can do is resurrect the memory.

"All our memories are like bubbles, Hannah," she once told me. "They drift by and burst, and all you can do is wait for another chance to blow them through your thoughts so they can drift by again. Reach out to touch them, and they will pop and be gone. Sometimes I envy people who have suffered loss of memory and who are never tormented with their pasts. I even envy Linden, lost in some world of his own."

I hate it when she talks like that. It makes me think she would like to return to a time before I was born, as short as that happier period in her life might have been, and if she could, she would sell her soul to do so.

How can she be unhappy here? How could anyone? We live on an estate called Joya del Mar. We have an enormous main house with halls so long and rooms so large, you could bounce your echo along the walls. The property is vast, too. On it we have a beach house, our own private beach front, a magnificent pool, beautiful patios and walkways with enough flowers and bushes to fill a small public park. She doesn't have to do any household chores. We have a cook, Mrs. Haber, and a maid named Lila who has been with us nearly ten years. Twice a week a small army of grounds people manicure our property.

Professionally, Mommy is very successful. She hasThe perfect family...and the perfect nightmare.
TWISTED ROOTS
From the outside, Hannah Eaton seems to live a charmed life in wealthy Palm Beach, Florida, with her mother, Willow, a renowned psychologist, and her stepfather. But deep inside, she is miserable and lonely. She's been abandoned by her father, a pretentious lawyer whose family wants nothing to do with her. Now, the arrival of a new baby brother has consumed her mother, who is obsessed with caring for the sickly infant. And so, Hannah slips further into the shadows....
With the help of her boyfriend and her uncle, Hannah sets out for New Orleans to follow her dreams of singing. But life on the road holds many dark surprises -- and shattering realities that Hannah herself may not be ready to face....


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