All that glitters isn't gold....
Wealth. Extravagant parties. Celebrity status. These are things Willow De Beers could only dream of -- until now. After discovering deep family secrets in her adoptive father's journal, Willow bids farewell to her North Carolina college town and sets out in search of her birth family amid the ritzy glamour of Palm Beach.
Using an assumed name and pretending to conduct a study of one of the nation's wealthiest communities, Willow takes Florida's gem city by storm and quickly encounters Thatcher Eaton, a young lawyer who sweeps her off her feet. But as Willow spirals into a passionate love affair and becomes intoxicated with the lifestyle of the rich and famous, the dark truth about her birth family threatens her fabulous new life, pushing her to the brink of insanity....
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February 01, 2002
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Excerpt from Willow by V.C. Andrews
I recognized the dean of students' secretary, Mrs. Schwartz, standing in my classroom doorway. She was shifting her weight nervously from one foot to the other and rubbing one palm against the other as if she were sanding down a block of wood. She gave each of my classmates a flashbulb smile as they entered, then quickly turned back to the hallway. I didn't know for certain yet, but I had a hunch she was waiting there for me. As usual, she was dressed in her navy-blue suit with her lace-trimmed white blouse and stiletto shoes -- practically her work uniform.
"Oh, dear," she said, reaching out for me as I approached. She seized my hand and drew me closer. "We have received a rather frantic call from your aunt Agnes Delroy. Apparently, she was unable to reach you at your apartment last night or this morning and has been burning up the telephone lines between here and Charleston," she ran on, obviously infected by my aunt's histrionics. Aunt Agnes often had that effect on people.
I could not tell her why I hadn't been able to receive Aunt Agnes's call. I had spent the night at Allan's apartment, and that wasn't anyone's business but mine. I was positive, however, that Aunt Agnes had been suspicious, especially if she had tried late in the evening, and had overdone her exasperation over failing to reach me. My father's fifty-one-year-old sister was the sort of person who expected that anyone she called or beckoned was just waiting to serve and fulfill her requests. She and I never got along, anyway. She never came out and said it in so many words, but she considered an adopted child somehow inferior, despite my achievements, especially a child whose mother was a patient in a mental clinic.
But even if my adoptive mother had given birth to me, Aunt Agnes would have been critical. I always knew she believed my father had married beneath the family. My adoptive mother came from one of those old Southern families that had lost most of its wealth but desperately clung to its heritage. That was not good enough for Aunt Agnes. Money, heritage, position in society, and certainly power were the pillars upon which she built her church, and if one was weak, the church would collapse.
My father tolerated Aunt Agnes rather than loved her as a sister and once told me that her husband, Uncle Darwood, probably had welcomed the Grim Reaper with open arms, seeing death as an avenue of escape, even though it wasn't any sort of pleasant death. He was a very serious closet alcoholic and had drowned his liver with all his unhappiness.