If There Be Thorns – full of pricks

In the third installment of this . . . this . . . thing, the story is told by Cathy’s two sons, Jory and Bart, in alternating chapters. The boys have believed that Chris is their stepfather, Paul’s younger brother.

The family lives in California, going back East to visit Corinne in the institution. They live next door to an abandoned mansion that the boys sneak into and play in. Eventually, a woman moves in with an old, ugly butler and servants. The woman wears only black and has a veil covering her face. She invites Bart over and spoils him, giving him expensive gifts. She tells him that she’s his grandmother, although he doesn’t believe it at first. The woman, of course, is Corinne, and the butler is John Amos from the Foxworth Hall days. He begins to instill the virtues of Bart’s great-grandfather, Malcolm, and gives him his journal to read.

John tells Bart who he really is, and the truth about his parents and why they should be punished. Bart begins to believe he’s really Malcolm and starts doing crazy things. Jory finds out the truth about his parents from Cathy’s book; she starts writing when she has to give up dancing. He forgives her, although Bart does not. Eventually, his mother goes to confront the woman next door and realizes who she is. They tussle and then John Amos cracks them over the head with a shovel and hides them in the cellar. The place catches fire and Corinne helps Cathy out of the house, but not before her clothes catch fire and she dies. John dies in the fire, too. He married Corinne for her money, but apparently he wasn’t in the will.

I have no memory of this book at all, even though I know I read it. Just didn’t stick as much as the first, I guess.


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