Does Lifetime's 'If There Be Torns' Follow The Book? Here's How It Compares To V.C. Andrews' Novel

Oh how far the Dollanganger siblings have come. Controversial couple Chris and Cathy survived Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind, the first two TV movies based on the books of the same name by V.C. Andrews, and the series' next installment premieres on Lifetime this Sunday. If There Be Thorns follows the book it's based on pretty closely. In both the book and movie, Chris and Cathy are now married and living the seemingly perfect life with sons Bart and Jory — until Bart befriends their new neighbor who just happens to be his grandmother Corrine (played by Heather Graham) in disguise.

Naturally, Corrine has a very destructive influence on the young Bart, who feels left out in his own family. Meanwhile, Jory is exploring his teenage desires with a girlfriend and Cathy obsesses about adopting one of her young orphaned dancing students, Cindy. Corrine eventually reveals to Bart that she's his estranged grandmother and gives him the attention he craves, but all with the goal of exposing the fact that Chris and Cathy are in an incestuous marriage that they've kept secret from their children. Bart often says his family has a "no secrets policy" — oh, just wait until he finds out the truth.

The movie is pretty close to the book — well, as close as you can get when turning a 384-page saga into a 90-minute TV movie. Here are If There Be Thorns' major storylines, and how they were adapted from page to screen.


In the novel, Bart feels out of place in his own home, so he secretly seeks solace with his grandmother Corrine, who wants to use the young boy to convince Chris and Cathy to let her back into their lives. In addition to her influence, Bart's gears get churning when he begins reading the misogynistic journal written by great-grandfather Malcolm Foxworth. He acts out by trying to drown Cindy in a kiddie pool. He later discovers his parents' big secret.

Similar stuff happens to Bart in the movie. He starts acting out (pool incident included) and weirdly quoting Malcolm's journal. In the movie, Corrine herself confesses to Bart that she's his grandmother pretty early on and tells him that his parents are siblings. The family starts noticing the change in Bart's behavior and Jory even has suspicions that Bart may have killed their dog.


In the book, Jory is a handsome aspiring ballet dancer at age 14. In the movie, the eldest son is definitely older than 14. As played by Jedidiah Goodacre, Jory looks more like a strapping jock than ballet dancer, but hey, dancing is athletic so I'll give them that.

But he's definitely not 14. Jory looks very much 16 — or 26, but that's common on TV. He also has a sexual relationship with girlfriend Melody, who is trying to decide on a college. Like in the book, Jory in the movie also becomes suspicious of Corrine's influence on Bart, as well as the secret about his parents' relationship.

Chris & Cathy

Like in the book, Chris and Cathy adopt a young daughter named Cindy in the movie, who Bart resents. Still, the couple has a stable marriage — you know, considering the circumstances. But Corrine's new involvement with Bart while living next door has the potential to ruin everything for them.

How will it all end? One week after the premiere of If There Be Thorns, the fourth and final movie in the series, Seeds of Yesterday, will air on Lifetime, so tune in on April 12 to see where these paths lead the Dollanganger family.

Images: James Dittiger (3), Joseph Viles/Lifetime