Fate whisked Ruby from a simple life in the Louisiana Bayou. But her new riches bring more treachery than happiness…
Even after a year as a Dumas, Ruby still wonders at the splendour of the family’s New Orleans mansion, and rejoices in the love of the father she had never known. But true happiness in her new home is as elusive as d swamp mist. Ruby must carefully avoid a venomous enemy: her stepmother, Daphne, who cringes and sneers at her backwater upbringing. And Ruby’s every effort to befriend her twin sister, Gisselle — especially since Gisselle’s crippling accident — is answered with bitterness and vicious backstabbing.
So idyllic Greenwood — the exclusive girls’ boarding school that her father has chosen for his daughters’ senior year — seems to promise some peace from the conniving Daphne, and maybe even a fresh start with Gisselle. But Ruby’s kind isn’t welcome at Greenwood, and the legendarily strict headmistress, Mrs. Ironwood, plots with her stepmother to make her life miserable. Meanwhile, Gisselle is on a mission to break every school rule, leaving Ruby to suffer the humiliating punishments. But Ruby doesn’t lose hope — until a terrible tragedy leaves her alone in a world that never really wanted her. Ruby will have to summon every last ounce of her Cajun strength to reclaim her home, her future, and the happiness she once knew….
So – my revisiting of melodramatic books from my teen years continues with this second book in the Landry series.
These books are big, Southern US sagas with characters who are more stereotypes than real people, almost like they’re in a pantomime for adults. You know exactly who is good and who is evil, and the characters never deviate from those roles. The books are set many decades ago and totally dated, but that’s part of the charm.
I swear, I remembered the twins in this book as fair-haired, but apparently that was just me projecting my teenaged self onto them.
I was all over these as an adolescent, and remember this series particularly appealed to me because our heroine, Ruby, is an identical twin. Twin drama! Swapped identities! Stolen identities! One is an angel and one is the devil incarnate (and boy does she never stop complaining!).
Then we have the EVIL stepmother character who seems to spend her entire life plotting to ruin Ruby’s – for no particular reason.
Of course, despite her angelic qualities, nobody will ever listen to Ruby, and so she is constantly being blamed for her sister’s behaviour – that is, when people aren’t trying to lock her up in various institutions. She is the ultimate Mary Sue, and exactly the reason teen girls went crazy over these stories.
Honestly, the reason I kept reading was because I want to get to the next book, where the characters are finally out of school and living adult lives. I’d forgotten how bloody young they all were in the early books.
Virginia Andrews and – after her death – her ghost writer V.C. Andrews… Well, I hate people applying the word “trashy” to books, but I cannot think of anything more appropriate in this case.