Mother of Dolls (Garden of Shadows – A Book Review)

Garden of Shadows (The Dollangangers #5)
Author: V. C. Andrews
Published: 1986

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt


Olivia dreamed of a sun-filled love, a happy life. Then she entered Foxworth Hall…

Before The Dollangangers came to the doorstep of Foxworth Hall, Olivia Winfield, a spinsterish woman, hoped to find love one day. She seeks a love filled with passion and dreams. When all seems lost, she meets Malcolm Foxworth and believes she has finally found joy. He is smart, intense, and handsome, but the moment they marry and she comes to Foxworth Hall, it all changes.

Malcolm is disturbed by the ghost of his mother. Jealousy and obsession spread through the house and Olivia’s hopes dwindle until there is nothing left but the love for her two boys and very beautiful girl, but even that is threatened by Malcolm’s dark wishes for them. In this prequel to Flowers in the Attic, the dark, haunting secrets began.


Reviews to The Dolls here:

Flowers in the Attic

Petals on the Wind

If There Be Thorns

Seeds of Yesterday


This book really changed up my feelings about the Foxworths and the Dolls. This book changed everything about its predecessors. I. WAS. SHOOK. I know that while reading the last two books of this series, I felt like it had begun to decline, but this one definitely amped it all back up. I couldn’t put this down. I know people say that a lot, but seriously, this book had me hooked on every dark twist and disturbing reveal.

Olivia Winfield, the evil grandmother of Foxworth Hall that is partly responsible for imprisoning the four Dolls in the attic for years is our main character. This is her story and let me tell you, I was stunned. Discovering how she came to marry Malcolm Foxworth and became a mother was nothing like I imagined. I assumed she was naturally cold and cruel, but she wasn’t. Olivia wasn’t actually the devil at all in the beginning. Like most women, she wanted love and to raise a wonderful family. Inch by painful inch, Malcolm stripped that away from her. From cheating to assault, Olivia’s hopes withered. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Foxworths is here.

This view of Foxworth Hall was terrifying. This beautiful house is not just a house. It’s historical. Everything I ever had questions about was answered within its walls. How did Olivia become afraid of the attic? How did Corrine come into the world and why did Olivia feel such disdain for her? When did John Amos arrive at Foxworth Hall? One of the most important and vital bits that rocked me to the core was that The Dolls were not the first to be locked up in the attic.


There were a few characters that made an appearance that have only been mentioned before. Malcolm’s father, Garland and his beautiful wife Alicia came to Foxworth Hall. Both of them were nothing as I imagined. So in love, but quickly contaminated by Malcom. The kids: Malcolm, Joel, and Corrine. Their dreams were painfully taken away. Each of these characters’ stories were eye-opening and I mean that in the sense that it was eye-opening with fear. From everything that’s told in the previous books about them it’s all different. Olivia sheds so much light and shadow on everything about this family and how it became so dark, most importantly she gives the truth. And it was DARK. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough.



This was such a great novel and it really brought the Dolls’ story full circle. The questions that idled in my mind about The Dolls and Foxworths were answered. I still wish I knew a little bit more about certain parts because I did feel unfulfilled here and there. Overall, this really completes the series and is a must-read.



“Life is very much like a garden, Olivia. And people are like tiny seeds, nurtured by love and friendships and caring. And if enough time and care are spent, they bloom into gorgeous flowers. And sometimes, even an old neglected plant left in a yard gone to seed will unexpectedly burst into blossom. These are the most precious, the most cherished blossoms of all. You will be that sort of flower, Olivia. It may take time, but your flowering will come.” (Mr. Winfield to Olivia, p. 6)

“When you search the shadows to find that truth, often you find things more horrible, more painful than you would have imagined.” (Mr. Winfield to Olivia, p. 52)

“You can’t command nature, Malcolm. Nature is neither your servant, nor mine.” (Olivia to Malcolm, p. 85)

“Life makes you strong. If you don’t let it make you strong, it will kill you…” (Olivia to Alicia, p. 166)

“There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” (John Amos, p. 347)


More to come soon…



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