posts on 11/4/2008 6:03:07 PM
Dear Alba I am not sure even the worst circumstances could cause someone to torture and murder their own children. I am surprised that Jenny agrees with your description of Corinne since we both seemed to hate Corinne the most. Olivia did nothing to change her situation. Instead she fully embraced the horror of the Foxworths and sought to be their leader. A key example is her attempted murder of Alicia and unborn Christopher. How would her trapped circumstances lead her to this? If she really wanted out she would be conspiring to justifiably kill Malcolm in a similar manner. She could also have befriended and united with the friendly Alicia to stand against Malcolm. Olivia was a sadist. She wanted Malcolm around because she enjoyed sparing with and tormenting him. She claimed to love her sons Mal and Joel but in fact they were mere weapons to be used against Malcolm. In the end she claimed she wanted to sympathetically spare Malcolm the pain of knowing Christopher and Corrine had four children. Yet in the same pages she did not want him to know of the children for fear that he would have love for them. Likewise Corrine was truly a sadist. If she just wanted the money she could have killed them MUCH faster. Instead she enjoyed controlling them. I do agree that Cathy inherited her some of mothers traits such as being selfish. This ended up hurting Cathy a lot throughout her life. She was so blinded by her selfishness she did not see the anguish she was causing others until it was too late. She later regretted many of her selfish acts. AS FOR RUBY, I agree Alba. Ruby was the only heroine I did not forgive. After being so brave and caring so much for others I was really shocked when she killed Paul. She had no intention of making her marriage work from the beginning. Likewise whats his name Beau knew full well that his marriage with Gisselle would be miserable. They both used their loveless marriages as an excuse to be together. They should have just been together and saved poor Paul. The way Ruby left him was so very heartless. They way she just threw off her wedding ring. They could have talked and agreed on what was best. She could have had Pauls love and support by having him take care of her and Pearl as sister and niece. It was also so cold the way she denied the blind boy she had helped when he came to visit her in New Orleans. Clearly he knew from her voice she was Ruby and not Gisselle. I did not like the villianization of Mrs. Tate. Her adopted son was murdered. Only someone as selfish as Ruby would be surprised. And she merely wanted to raise her granddaughter Pearl whom had spent far more time with her than Aunt Gisselle. It was not out of revenge. The scene where Jeanne and Ruby talk shows the Tates thought Gisselle was just being her selfish self. They could not imagine that Ruby of all people had murdered Paul whom loved her more than himself.
posts on 11/4/2008 2:28:14 PM
What did you guys make of Ruby? I really liked her up until All That Glitters, when I thought she was hideous. She married Paul, despite knowing the truth, cheated on him and then left him. Then she had the nerve to get angry when he was verbally lashing out at her, and when Madame Tate told her a few home truths. Fair enough Madame Tate shouldn't have taken Pearl but I really didn't like the way Ruby seemingly had no remorse for her part in Paul's death.
posts on 11/2/2008 2:25:32 PM
Alba I think that is perhaps the best description of Cathy and Corrine and Olivia I have read here and I totally agree.
posts on 11/2/2008 2:22:35 PM
I think Olivia was evil and a sadist - she wanted to play God and relished in upsetting Alicia. But I think a lot of her actions stemmed from the fact that she was expecting a lot more from her marriage and was bitterly disappointed when she realised what a sham it was. So, she took pleasure in making people as miserable as she was. The thing that makes me question her, is at the end of FITA when Chris tells Cathy that it was Corrinne who put arsenic on the doughnuts - the grandmother just carried them up to the attic and had warned them all along not to eat the sweets anyway. That made me wonder if she did at least have a shred of remorse and humanity.
However, I don't believe Corrinne was evil. I think she was selfish, foolish and desperate and grew bored of being a mother when she saw how easy her life could be without the children. She was hideously self centred and to be honest, quite dim. Her lies at the end of the second book about Malcolm beating her when she returned to FH show how she was willing to badmouth anyoone and do anything just to save herself and get what she wanted.
I also think there are parallels in Cathy's beahviour and Corrinne's. Cathy was ruthless when she grew older (for example, marrying Julian to further her own career, even when she knew it would destroy Paul) and tempting Chris and then turning on him, to make herself feel better. But she was a flawed heroine, which made me identify with her much more than say, Heaven, who I felt was just a bit too perfect.
posts on 10/6/2008 10:03:07 PM
As promised here are the highlights of GARDEN OF SHADOWS. I have added the key points at to when and where the story is taking place, the family trees, a description of Foxworth Hall, and the ages of the characters. Note the massive inconsistencies in ages. I have narrowed down the year to probably 1920 or possibly 1919. 6. Olivia is 16 when her mother dies. Page 6. Olivia is 16 when her mother dies. Pages 10, 11, 12. Malcolm Neal Foxworth meets Olivia Winfield in New London Connecticut. Malcolm has graduated from Yale. He has cerulean blue eyes and flaxen blond hair. The Great War is over. Page 13. States Edith Whartons Age of Innocence is a new novel. It was published in 1919 or 1920. Page 17. There is an upcoming presidential election. 1920? Page 28. At their wedding cousin John Amos is 18. His and Olivias mothers were sisters. Page 33. At the wedding John Amos scowls at Malcolm. Page 37. States A. Malcolm [sic, Mitchell] Palmer is Attorney General, and 5 congressmen were expelled for being members of the socialist party. These seem to detail the events of 1920. And the so called Palmer raids. Page 39. Charlottesville is an hour away. There is a small village nearby. Page 40. QUOTE Cluster of large homes nested on a steep hillside… high on the hillside. UNQUOT Page 43. Foxworth Hall has a long entry hall with high ceiling peppered with portraits of the Foxworths. The foyer was large enough to be used as a ballroom. Two curved staircases met to form a balcony on the second floor and merged as one to the third level. 3 giant crystal chandeliers hung from a gilt carved ceiling 40 feet above the floor. The floor was made of mosaic tiles. Page 44. Right of the foyer was Malcolms 2 story study office library. Main hallway above join to form at the rotunda. Their bedrooms are in the warmer Southern Wing. 14 guest rooms in the Northern Wing. Page 45. Main hallway. First door on the right is the trophy room. Further down on the right is the Swan Room marked by two double white doors. However later it is established that the two rooms are next to each other. Page 68. Last door in the North Wing is the bedroom. All furniture in the room is described. It is cluttered with furniture including the highboy and a table and chairs. Olivia adds the Goya paintings later. Page 69. The attic is described. It has 4 sets of dormer windows. Page 70. Items in attic are described. Talks about armories and bird cages and Corrines painting. Dust could not touch it. Page 73. Olivia does not tell where the main attic staircase leads to. When Olivia questions the odd attic, Malcolm casually comments that some cousins of his were locked up there. He calls them embarrassments to the Foxworths. Page 95. The Southern Wing bedrooms have their own baths while the Northern do not. Garland and Alicia will be moving next to Olivia. NOT the Swan Room. This is possibly the other end of Olivias room. Garland and Alicia married just before he went to Europe. Garland is 55, before he left for Europe.
posts on 10/1/2008 7:48:29 PM
Dear Jenny I completely that Corrine was the instigator of the entire imprisonment of the children. According to Olivia she did not even know of Christophers death until Corrine wrote. Olivias response was never detailed by either but there was clearly an agreement between the two of what would happen to the children. I did not believe when I first read or remembered later Corrines claim in FITA that Malcolm added to the letter after Olivia that he was glad she had no children and therefore she was forced to lock them up. Corrines stories about what was really going on throughout FITA were half or whole lies. And yes I agree for this reason and others I hated Corrine more than Olivia. While Olivia claimed to love the children she only loved them as possessions. She loved controlling them and using them. For example she encouraged Joel in his music, but this just seemed to be so she could use Joel as a weapon against Malcolm knowing he too was trying to control Joel and hated his music. She always claimed how much she loved Christopher and he was her favorite. If she was capable of a single ounce of love for him she would not have kept the little boy away from his mother Alicia. I do realize that Olivia may have been somewhat bound by the social circumstances of the time but surely being a social leper would be preferable to living in the evil of Foxworth Hall. Olivia did not fight the Foxworth evil she embraced it by taking control of it as much as possible. GOS page 180 quote. Please dont hate me, Olivia, she begged. I did hate her; I couldnt help but hate her. I would always hate her and women like her. Unquote. Olivia was just a plain evil person from the beginning of the saga to the end. She chose to hate and torture Alicia rather than befriend and help her. If she had been a loving friend they could have loved and raised Christopher together. But it was control that Olivia wanted. Having a psychotic rapist like Malcolm for a husband certainly did not help Olivia. We will never know if she had had a loving husband would have led to her being a good person. It might have. One of the things I love about VCA villains is how they can change. They can start out fine and become evil or be born bad and become good like Fannie Casteel. With Olivia we will never know, but to do the truly psychotically evil things that Olivia did in life I feel she was and would always be pure evil.
posts on 10/1/2008 3:40:41 AM
I disagree with your comments about Olivia. She was evil all the way thru. She had a terrible marriage to Malcolm and it turned her into a very bitter sad woman. I believe she did love her children, even Corinne, but was incapable of showing it completely. How could she have took them away? She lived in a time when you stayed with your husband no matter what. Malcolm was the catalyst for all that happened not Olivia. Whilest I am not saying I agree with what she did, Corinne was the instigator. Olivia didnt force them to come back, Corinne wanted to and knew the circumstances of what would happen. She was the true evil one. Even Christopher poited out at the end of FITA that the grandmother brought the sweets but warned them all along not to eat them.
posts on 9/30/2008 9:00:14 PM
I am very torn over whom was more evil, Olivia or Corrine. Olivia was less complex. She was pure evil from beginning to end. She enjoyed harming people her entire life, a true sadist. I never sympathized with her a single bit. She was completely incapable of ANY good at all. In GOS she consistently claimed to love and care for Mal, Joel, Corrine, and Christopher most of all. No. She enjoyed controlling and manipulating them. If she loved them she would have set them free. She claimed to be always looking out for Mal and Joels interests, but she was in fact using them as pawns to harm Malcolm. Olivia was a complete sadist and nothing more. Corrine was more complex which in many way makes me hate her more. While at times she seemed capable of love, in many ways she was only loving because it benefited her. From the start of the childrens confinement until its end she visited the children as if she was a neighborly aunt visiting her relative just for fun. The expensive things made her not her children feel better. Case in point when she returned from sailing with a tan she was blissfully happy. How could any parent be happy visiting their children in an attic? By the end she was this was too. The only change was that the children knew mama was beyond redemption. Corrine was in many ways more evil because she tortured the children she raised for 14 years. I agree with Jenny that Corrine knew what was in store for the children from the very beginning. That is why she cried when she first received a reply from Olivia and why she said on FITA page 40 that they should walk outside while they can. Although Olivia did not expand on it in GOS clearly the two villainesses had conspired ahead of time what would happen. Clearly Corrines actions in ITBT were based only on her selfish interests. What good could she bring to her children or grandchildren? I was so glad that once Cathy knew of her existence she unflinchingly attacked her physically. Bart did describe some interesting behavior from Corrine. She attended Cathys ballet performances and cried over their family picture. But was this self torture merely a masochistic pleasure for her? Or was she truly sad for her actions? If she was sorry she was obviously not sorry enough to do anything about it. Again she chose evil. How could she spend a single penny of the fortune knowing where it came from? A remorseful person could not. I wanted a worse death for both of them involving, the attic, the dark, and the rats. And or power tools.
posts on 9/30/2008 3:58:34 AM
That last sentance is the one that I will agree with you whole heartedly Christopher. (Yay!) She chose the path she took and she knew what was in store for her children and she still chose the money. End of. No more reasons. She was more eveil than Olivia because Olivia didnt force them to stay. She didnt even want them there. But Corinne? No, she shouldnt have took them there. Thats where it all started. Actually getting on that train in the first place because she knew what would happen. And leaving with Christopher was a cop out too. I really dont think she cared about anything as nmuch as herself and her need for the comforts.
posts on 9/29/2008 10:02:24 PM
Dear Lena I think the key reason I and others rate the Casteels as one of the least favorite series is that the story moved very slowly. It also involved too many characters failing to follow thru with some of the most interesting ones. The books seemed to lack coherent endings. I felt no real romance between Heaven and any of her lovers. And yes Jenny is right, they lacked any real sense of incest or forbidden love. GATES OF PARADISE was just tacked on with the fabricated incest of Luke Jr. and Anne Jr. falling in love. They lived happy normal lives believing they were siblings. Why would they fall in love? The other incestuous siblings fell in love because their lives were so miserable they could only bond with someone whom uniquely understood their experience. I like Misti enjoyed WEB OF DREAMS the best. I cried the last 100 pages. It was amazing how different the Casteels world of the Winnerrows was. They were all happy. Luke was Leighs savior. It showed how the wealth of Fathinggale Manor could not buy happiness. Dear Jenny. I am noting the MANY errors Neiderman made in GOS and will document them fully later. It is hard to distinguish Olivias errors in her version of events from Neidermans. I suspect the truth about Corrines childhood may rest somewhere in the middle. Corrine may not have been so completely abused but I suspect her life was not as pleasant as Olivia made it out to be. Corrine seemed very eager to escape the wealth of Foxworth Hall with Christopher. She may have been treated very coldly. In the first few chapters in FITA Corrine seemed to know the fear and horror of Foxworth Hall and the attic. She seemed to sympathize greatly with the children. Of course not hardly enough for any good mother as Cathy notes on page 90. Quote. Inside I was screaming with joy. Momma was going to take us out of here. We were leaving! Good-bye, room! Good-bye, attic Good-bye, all those millions I dont want anyway! But, as I watched, as I waited for Momma to spin on her heel and head for the closet, for our suitcases, I saw instead something that was noble and fine in our mother crumble. Unquote. This was the scene that proved Corrine knew the difference between good and evil and chose evil of her own free will.
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