Monday 27 January 2014

Recap: Garden of Shadows By Virginia Andrews, Part 3

Read Part 1.
Read Part 2.

Malcolm's father Garland arrives at Foxworth Hall after three years of travelling Europe with his 19-year-old wife Alicia. Soooo that means she was 16 when they married. And Garland was 55. Alicia later explains that she's actually known Garland since she was six - he was a friend of her father's - and he began taking her for walks and kissing her ("NOT a peck on the cheek", if ya know what I mean) when she was 14. But it's OK, they were in LOVE. It wasn't an unequal dynamic AT ALL. Especially not because Alicia's family was basically dependent on Garland for their welfare (her dad couldn't work and G helped him out). Yep. It's not squicky at all.

 BRB I need to take a bath I feel really dirty.

OK I'm back. So the two couples finally meet and Olivia gets a shock at how young Alicia is, Malcolm gets a shock when he sees she's heavily pregnant, and Garland and Alicia get shocks when they find out Malcolm is married with two children. Apparently he didn't think it was important enough to tell his own father.

Fast forward to dinnertime and Garland and Alicia are really affectionate and Alicia doesn't have fine manners (she talks and giggles a lot and eats with her mouth open!) which quite shocks Olivia's sensibilities, and she expects Malcolm to snap at any minute, but (un)surprisingly he seems quite taken with Alicia. He's nicer to her than he ever is to his own wife. Olivia is already incredibly jealous of Alicia's beauty, tiny hands and peaches and cream complexion (add that to the drinking game), so Malcolm's behaviour doesn't exactly help. Nor does the love and passion Alicia and Garland so openly exhibit - she's offended but also at the same time really envious that she's never experienced that herself. There's a moment when Olivia stands outside their bedroom door listening to them laugh together that is really very sad. I feel bad for her.

Then she goes and fantasises about Alicia having a miscarriage. Seriously, Olivia?

Of course, she's not so petty as to wish the baby didn't exist because of money - she's not like Malcolm! - no, she wants the baby dead because it might be better looking than her own children.

Let me repeat that. She fantasises about the death of an unborn baby because it might be better looking than her kids.

And there goes a lot of my sympathy for Olivia. OK she is a victim of abuse and probably pretty traumatised by this point, but I don't think that justifies wishing for the death of an infant, especially for such an absurd reason. And she doesn't just wish for it, she actually attempts to make it happen. She suggests Alicia explore the attic, taking her through THE room and telling her to go up the stairs. The light doesn't work because OLIVIA UNSCREWED IT EARLIER and Olivia basically shoves her in before closing the door after her. But she warns her that it's probably not a good idea before she disappears to the other side of the house where she won't be able to hear any screams, so therefore if anything happens she isn't to blame because she DID try to tell her. She goes off to read but poor Olivia can't concentrate  because all she can think about is Alicia tripping and falling and, I quote, "perhaps banging her head against one of those trunks or armoires, and lying there in the throes of a miscarriage." Oh, Olivia.

Unfortunately for our heroine Alicia is just fine. When Malcolm and Garland get home from work, they rush up to the attic after finding out that's where she is, and discover her trying on the dresses of Sluttiest Slut Who Ever Slutted, a.k.a. Malcolm's mother Corinne. Garland laughs it off but Malcolm just gets a daydreamy look in his eyes. Uh-oh...

Two weeks later, much to Olivia's annoyance, Alicia gives birth to a beautiful, peaceful, almost supernaturally aware baby boy, named Christopher Garland. Garland, being an actual nice father and husband, spends more time at home with Alicia and the baby, which annoys Olivia because she is "forced to witness their love". Like the daily afternoon delights they partake of. Olivia doesn't understand how anyone could be so "hot-blooded", so one day she eavesdrops on them and hears Alicia's multiple orgasms and Garland's begging for reassurance that he's not an old man (HAWT). That's all it takes to get Olivia hooked, and soon listening to (and imagining) their sexytimes becomes the highlight of her day. One day she even watches them do it by the lake, and then goes back to her room and cries for an hour because she feels so cheated. OK I am beginning to feel really sad for her again, miscarriage incident notwithstanding.

Later that night Malcolm tells Olivia his father has revealed his plans for his will: the house and business are all Malcolm's, but Alicia and Christopher are to get five million dollars between them, with Malcolm as administrator. He doesn't trust his father and asks Olivia to tell him if Alicia reveals any secrets about money or inheritances. She is shocked he wants him to spy and he makes a snarky quip about how she already spies on them. Oops.

Soon the focus is on Malcolm's issues again, as his Oedipal complex rears its ugly head when Alicia decides it would be a great idea to move into the SWAN ROOM and not change a thing from when her husband's first wife lived there. It comes out that Malcolm blames Garland for Corinne leaving, and Garland blames Malcolm. Healthy family relationships right there.

Malcolm also mentions in passing how disgusting things are happening in the SWAN ROOM and Olivia, curious as to how he knows this, and probably wanting to revive her own spying, goes to check out Malcolm's trophy room, which is next to the SWAN ROOM. She discovers a hidden peephole that was "perhaps dugout by a five-year-old boy" and it seems even as a child Malcolm was a pervy lech. And we get this quote from Olivia, on not telling Malcolm what she's discovered: "what would be far worse would be my own embarrassment in letting him know that I knew he was more interested in his father's and Alicia's lovemaking than he was in our own."

Olivia starts to suspect Malcolm has a thing for Alicia (you think?!) and one day, to get to the bottom of things, she follows him as he follows Alicia down to the lake. She hides in the bushes and sees Malcolm being a really pervy lech by taking off his clothes and threatening to get in the water, where Alicia, in her underwear, is yelling at him to stay away. Turns out he frequently makes passes at her, which shocks Olivia and no one else. Alicia manages to run away, threatening to tell Garland if it ever happens again (she hasn't before now because she doesn't want to upset him). Malcolm follows after her a little while later, muttering to himself about sluts and revenge like a cartoon villain. He then proceeds to insult or ignore Alicia all the time, and Olivia almost feels bad for her, except she's mad at her for being so "beautiful and tempting" and I am feeling ragey. She takes delight as Alicia becomes more depressed and there goes all my sympathy again. Olivia is slightly redeemed when she admits to regretting such selfish emotions in hindsight, because they brought "demons" into her house. But only slightly.

Next time: Malcolm becomes even Worse as the Worst of the Worst.


  1. Total sidebar: you always have the best gifs.

  2. Woah shit just got real! I am almost tempted to grab a copy and readalong with you...almost.

  3. Omg i need me a copy makes the first part more understandable.