This portrait of the woman who took us to the heights of a secluded attic and the depths of our own dark psyches reveals details of the famously private V.C. Andrews—featuring family photos, personal letters, a partial manuscript for an unpublished novel, and more.
Mr. Neiderman’s personal stake in Andrews’s name and reputation complicates his role as a biographer. It is presumably in his interest to maintain the author’s mystique while also squelching rumors ... But what Mr. Neiderman lacks in objectivity he mostly makes up for in access. He wrote the book with the cooperation of Andrews’s surviving relatives, who have entrusted him with insights, anecdotes and letters that can’t be found elsewhere. This material plugs many large holes in our understanding of this fiercely private writer ... Mr. Neiderman does not attempt to explain the appeal of Andrews’s novels, nor does he seem to talk to many people beyond her family. In this brief, breezy and somewhat scattered book, he scrimps on details about Andrews’s evolution as a writer, and fails to mention her initial struggle to find a publisher for her breakthrough debut. Given Mr. Neiderman’s boasts of writing as many as five V.C. Andrews novels in a single year, it is perhaps unsurprising that the prose here feels rushed. But the woman who emerges from these pages is as riveting as her books.
Using flowery, dramatic language that is the hallmark of Andrews’ novels, Neiderman presents a woman who never let her disability get her down. The second half of the book is the text of an unfinished novel, which will be a thrill for Andrews’ fans.
Combining a novelist’s eye for detail with personal knowledge gleaned from his years as V.C. Andrews’s ghostwriter, Neiderman unpacks the famed gothic writer’s notoriously private life ... Neiderman also offers insight into Andrews’s carefully guarded privacy, which he believes was largely inflamed by an unflattering 1980 People interview that 'capitalized on her disability and portrayed her as an eccentric recluse.' Fans will be transfixed.