Lifetime continued their adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ “Flowers in the Attic” novels with “If There Be Thorns.” Initially published by V.C. Andrews in 1981, Lifetime brought the third book to the small screen on Sunday – with a couple of changes that readers will notice.
“If There Be Thorns” tells the story of Dollanganger siblings/ lovers Cathy (Rachael Carpani) and Christopher (Jason Lewis). Now a married couple known as the Sheffield’s, the pair move to California to raise Cathy’s two sons from previous relationships – Jory (Jedidiah Goodacre) and Bart (Mason Cook). However the return of Cathy and Christopher's mother, Corrine (Heather Graham), threatens to unravel the “perfect” life they created after the horrors that took place in the Foxworth Hall attic.
Check out the major differences between Lifetime’s “If There Be Thorns” and V.C. Andrews’ 1981 book:
[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!]
The “If There Be Thorns” novel is written from the perspective of Bart and Jory. Both boys are slightly younger in the book than they are in the movie. However there are more differences with Bart than Jory. In the books Bart is very immature, uses his imagination to play and hates bugs. In Lifetime’s movie he is simply a misunderstood kid with an obsession with bugs.
Another major change goes back to the “Petals on the Wind” movie. The second Lifetime flick decided to write off a character named Paul Sheffield. In the books Paul becomes the guardian of Cathy, Christopher and Carrie after they run away from Foxworth Hall. Although almost 20 years older than Cathy, Paul develops a romantic relationship with her. The pair marries after she had her second son, Bart, however Paul dies shortly after due to a bad heart.
In the books Bart is told that his father is Paul. Cathy keeps his real father – who was her mother Corrine’s second husband – a secret from him. He eventually finds out the truth from Corrine and her butler, John Amos.
Lifetime’s movie switched it up so that Bart knew who his real father was. However, Bart only knew that he died in a fire – not that his father was his grandmother’s husband.
2. Cindy and Bart
Lifetime accurately depicted when Bart tries to drown Cindy (Bailey Skodje) in her kiddy pool, but they cut the “beauty parlor” scene out of the movie. In the books, Bart cuts off his adopted sister’s hair when no one is around.
3. Cathy’s Accident
“Flowers in the Attic” fans know that Cathy’s life revolves around dancing. Even after her career in New York ended she continued dancing by teaching classes to small children. However, her passion for dancing resulted in her seriously injuring herself. While on stage with Jory during a recital, Cathy trips over the laces of her shoes and collapses on the ground. Due to an already injured knee, Cathy was rushed to the hospital and told she could never dance again.
The movie is slightly different. Although Cathy had pre-existing injuries, a loose lace didn’t cause her to hurt herself. She spotted Corrine in the crowd and became so disoriented that she accidentally fell off the stage.
4. Cathy’s Book
After ending her career dancing, Chris encouraged Cathy to start writing a book about the events of their past. Cathy’s book was never mentioned in the movie.
5. The Attic
The attic will always be a big part of Cathy and Christopher. However the movie and book chose to focus on it differently. In V.C. Andrews’ “If There Be Thorns,” Cathy subconsciously sets up beds in the attic for her sons to stay up there. She also encourages Christopher to put a troubled Bart in the attic for a few weeks in order to “teach him a thing or two about obedience.” Although Cathy resents her mother, Chris warns her in the books that she was starting to act like Corrine.
Cathy doesn’t set up the attic in Lifetime’s adaptation, but she and Chris do use it to punish Bart. Christopher throws him up there after one of his evil “Malcolm” stints.
6. The Mysterious Woman
In the books Jory warns Christopher about the mysterious woman that Bart is spending time with. He believes that she’s turning Bart into a monster, and doesn’t realize that it’s actually John Amos who is feeding him evil thoughts. Christopher doesn’t put two-and-two together that the mysterious woman is actually his mother, Corrine. It’s not until he sees her elegant and rich jewelry that he figures out the veiled woman in black is his mother. However in the movies he does figure it out and pays her a visit to stop her from poisoning his family.
7. Corrine’s Face
Corrine hides behind a black veil in both the book and movie. There is one big difference though when she removes the veil. Lifetime’s “If There Be Thorns” only shows Heather Graham’s character well-aged with wrinkles. But in the books she actually has scars on her face “as if a cat had scratched her.” She tells Christopher that she did that to herself so she would no longer “look like Cathy.”
8. Apple The Dog
In the books Bart’s cruel and “evil” evolution is shown through a dog named Apple. Bart originally begged Corrine for a puppy, but she couldn’t deliver him one. Instead, she got Bart the dog. He loved the dog until he was hospitalized after getting an infection. In Bart’s sick head, he wanted Apple to only love him – and that meant that no one else could take care of him. When he got out of the hospital, he fully expected to find the dog dead. Instead he discovered that someone had been feeding it. Bart punished the dog and took away its food, water and bed of hay. When Jory went to check on Apple, he found the dog had been impaled with a pitchfork.
Apple does not exist in the movie, but Lifetime’s version did leave in the plot about the Sheffield’s family dog, Clover. The dog was beloved by Jory, and ended up dead after almost biting Bart.
9. Madame M.
Cathy and Christopher had to move to California in order to start their life together, and Corrine wasn’t the only person who knew their dark secret – Madam M, Jory’s grandmother, also knew.
Madame M. knew the siblings before they became lovers. In the book, Cathy and Christopher tried to hide their relationship. Madame M. thought that Paul was still alive and that Christopher simply lived with the family. Since Paul never made it into the movies, Lifetime’s story line became a little more twisted. Madame M. knew about Cathy and Christopher’s forbidden romance and had blackmailed them.
10. Bart’s Attack
Another one of Bart’s twisted attacks was cut from the movie. In the book, Bart pulls a knife on Cathy and Cindy. He attacks his mom and adopted sister, but Cathy manages to knock the knife out of his hand. She locks him in his bedroom, and Bart threatens to burn the house down. Fortunately someone stole the lighter and matches that he had hidden in his room.
11. “If There Be Thorns” Ending
The ending of the “If There Be Thorns” movie and book slightly differ. In the movie John Amos knocks Corrine and Cathy out. He drags her into a barn and sets it on fire. However in the book John Amos keeps the two women prisoners in the basement of Corrine’s home. He lies to Christopher and says that he married Corrine and that she flew to Hawaii. It’s Cathy who accidentally sets the fire after refusing to forgive her mother.
Christopher manages to find Cathy and Corrine in time, but John Amos hits him over the head. Jory fights John Amos and drags his parents out of the building while Corrine searches for Bart. However Cathy regains consciousness and goes back in after Bart. It was Corrine who saves Cathy and dies inside the building with John Amos.
What did you think of the differences in the “If There Be Thorns” Lifetime movie and the 1981 V.C. Andrews novel? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.