With so many books being published every year, it is so easy to forget about publications from a few decades ago. This is exactly the case with this book! With adverts bombarding us with information about recently published books – think Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – it’s no wonder that old or contemporary classics get pushed to the backs of bookcases or left to donate to charity shops. Therefore, it’s about time we rediscovered some of the once sought after and frequently discussed novels to ensure they do not stay forgotten. Let’s give the once forgotten novel pride of place on our bookshelves!

The fact that Virginia Andrews’ Flowers In The Attic was published in 1980 does nothing to make it a dull or boring read. If anything, the horror is made all the more disturbing when read in a modern context. It is no less memorable than any other novel. In fact, this novel is one so dark that it will be impossible to forget.

This was a recommendation from a family friend and I began the story not believing it to be my sort of thing, especially as my summer holiday reading has consisted of mainly romantic or light-hearted fiction. I was gripped immediately and was unable to put it down much longer than to refresh my cup with tea. I was incredibly surprised that my taste in books was far broader than I had believed.

“However, events take a dark and disturbing twist when the mysterious death of their father forces them to flee their home”

Flowers in the Attic at first starts off with a relatively normal setting: the American upper class suburbs with the average, but well off Dollangangers with their white picket fences and nuclear family setup. However, events take a dark and disturbing twist when the mysterious death of their father forces them to flee their home in search of their estranged grandparents’ house. What promises to be only a short stay whilst their mother seeks out her inherited fortune leads on to be many years of imprisonment in a forgotten attic! Without revealing too much more, expect psychological torture and loss of innocence, but also a story of survival as the children deal with situations you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

“The ending was so shocking that I had to read it twice, so many levels of disturbing…”

Beautifully written yet ominous in content, this novel is one not to be missed. Although perhaps not suitable for readers who prefer a classic tale of boy meets girl, or a coming of age adventure. Only to be tackled with a cup of your favourite tea under a blanket, but perhaps not right before bed. Perfect for anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel that doesn’t reveal all its secrets at once, the plot twists and secrets are numerous as you progress through the pages. The ending was so shocking that I had to read it twice, so many levels of disturbing…

“It can be the discarded or outdated novels that have the most to offer”

It is important that we do not let the vast amount of recent publications of new and exciting novels let us forget the older or discarded ones to be found in charity shops or reminders of decades gone by. Although new publications and fresh storylines are always to be celebrated, it can be the discarded or outdated novels that have the most to offer. Especially when they are partially based on true stories and testimonials. So go on the hunt for older and slightly damaged books, as these really are forgotten gems!

Lizzie Robinson

Image credit: Lizzie Robinson

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