Petals on the Wind was the first follow-up book to the massively successful Flowers in the Attic. And like its predecessor, Petals was picked to become a big screen adaptation. It was meant to happen about 25 years ago. It finally will happen this weekend.
POTW picks up right where Flowers left off, with the three surviving Dolls on a bus headed south. They plan to go all the way to Florida.
They won't ever get there. Carrie is violently sick on the bus, and they're kicked (literally) to the curb. Also on the bus is Henrietta Beech, and though she can't talk she takes matters into her own capable hands.
The three sickly youths are taken to the home of Dr. Paul Sheffield, for whom Henny works. He ends up taking them in, all three, and our jaded heroine Cathy thinks she knows why.
Soon enough she begins her campaign to seduce him. It's for Chris's benefit as well as her own, so he can move on and look at her as a sister again.
After the attic? Fat chance of that. Cathy persists anyway, and in her self-destructive fashion begins to ruin everything she touches. Her thirst for revenge becomes a festering poison, but it doesn't diminish her sex appeal one whit.
She snares Paul with little effort, but without trying captures another's heart as well: Julian Marquet. He is dark and broody, so different from blonde, sunny Chris. After a visit from a malicious future in-law, Cathy abandons her plan to marry Paul and weds Julian instead.
Like so much of what Cathy does, it's a mistake. Their marriage is volatile and unhappy, and Chris is always there just waiting to pick up the pieces. Julian comes to tragic ends, and Cathy finds herself free to pursue what she loves most: revenge.
She'll have to do it while raising Julian's son, but why should that stop her? So she returns to Virginia to seduce her mother's husband and make Corinne Foxworth pay.
It all ends quite badly, as you might imagine, with yet another fatherless child to care for. Cathy finally makes good on her promise to marry Paul, too late to save him. It ends for Paul, too. But there is Chris, as always...waiting.
After its 1979 release, Flowers in the Attic became a full-length film. It wasn't very good, and neither the fans nor the critics were impressed. A Petals sequel was planned, however. It even had a script.
Kristy Swanson, who played Cathy, didn't much like it. She was prepared to play the part anyway, but no one ever called her again. Like so many adaptations, this one fell apart. Until now.
As a follow-up to their hugely successful Flowers remake, Lifetime will at long last create the PITW movie. It premieres Monday night, but don't expect to see the same book you remember.
Lifetime will start the show about 10 years after the book. The three Dolls are grown up, and Paul Sheffield isn't even in the cast list. Much of the story will be cut out to focus on Carey's relationship with Chris. Bart and Julian will both make an appearance. And unlike the once-planned sequel, Corinne Foxworth will return to the cast. That's the good news. The bad news is that the role is still being played by Heather Graham.
But I can't help but to be excited about the long-awaited adaptation of one of my favorite books. So this Monday I'll be live tweeting the movie. Join me if you like, and help me point out all the flaws.
To celebrate Petals on the Wind weekend, I'm giving away my own series about twisted family connections, ugly lies and wealth. Deck of Lies: The Full Deck is free until midnight Monday, so go download your copy right now!