Lifetime’s movie version of “Petals On The Wind,” the V.C. Andrews sequel to “Flowers In The Attic,” premiered on Monday, May 26. The book, which was originally published in 1980, told the story of the Dollanganger children’s life outside of the attic of Foxworth Hall – a place they were captive for years by their own mother and grandmother.

Four months after the success of Lifetime’s remake of “Flowers In The Attic,” the network adapted the second novel for the small screen. However, the movie and book have some major differences. Check out the big changes between V.C. Andrews’ 1980 book and Lifetime’s 2014 adaptation:


1. Paul Sheffield

The “Petals on the Wind” novel began with the three remaining Dollanganger children on a bus to Florida. However their plan was derailed when Carrie’s health began to deteriorate from the arsenic poisoning. With little money in their pockets, Cathy and Chris didn’t know what to do. But fortunately a kind woman named Henny took them back to the house of the doctor she worked for – Paul Sheffield. Paul took the three children in, caring for them and financially supporting them as if they were his own.

Eventually the doctor developed a romantic relationship with Cathy. The pair was engaged to marry, but Cathy broke off their engagement after learning about Paul’s “horrific” past from his sister, Amanda.

Lifetime’s 2014 version of the book completely skipped out on Paul’s story line – which was interweaved throughout the entire 1980 novel. In order to avoid the character, the movie kicked off with the Dollanganger kids at a funeral 10 years after the events of “Flowers in the Attic.” The funeral was for Paul, who was acknowledged to be their guardian after they escaped Foxworth Hall.

2. Henny 

In the V.C. Andrews novel, Paul’s live-in help was Henny. Although not related, the pair considered each other family, with Henny even calling Paul her “doctor-son.” Unable to speak, Henny communicated with everyone through written notes.

The new movie chose to give Henny the ability to speak, but that wasn’t the only big change. In the books Henny passed away before Paul. However in the Lifetime movie she outlived Paul and continued to live with the Dollanganger kids at Paul’s home.

3. Julian And Cathy’s Dancing Career

Fans of the series know that Cathy was always obsessed with dancing. In the books Paul enrolls Cathy in classes and helps Chris begin prepping for medical school. It’s while at her ballet classes that Cathy meets Julian, her teacher’s son and a dancer in New York. Since Cathy is in high school in the books, Julian takes the time to woo her and convince her to join him in New York. And although Cathy initially tells him no, she eventually caves and agrees that the only way to follow her dream is to go to New York.

The pair have an on and off relationship in the books – with Cathy falling madly in love with him while they dance, but hating him when they’re off the stage. As a team they achieved success in the dance world, and Cathy ultimately ended up marrying him after believing that Paul lied to her about his ex-wife. 

In the movie Cathy doesn’t meet Julian until after Paul dies. She doesn’t fight off his affection like she did in the books, and agrees almost immediately to follow him to New York to dance. However the movie doesn’t show their success in the dance world or their marriage. Instead viewers are treated to one performance of “Romeo and Juliet” in which Cathy only landed the role of Juliet to Julian’s Romeo when Julian slipped glass into Yolanda’s slipper.

4. Christopher And Cathy’s Relationship

Petals On The Wind (L to R) Rose McIver (“Cathy”) and Wyatt Nash in Lifetime's "Petals On The Wind." Photo: Lifetime

Those who read “Flowers In The Attic” are familiar with Christopher and Cathy’s incestuous relationship. In the V.C. Andrews sequel Cathy fights Christopher off, telling him that she doesn’t have the same feelings that he has for her. That doesn’t stop Christopher from trying to make moves on her though. Throughout the book he tries to convince her to end her relationships with other men and run off with him to start their own family.

In the Lifetime movie Christopher’s actions are pretty spot on. However, Cathy is much more susceptible to his advances than in the book. The pair has sex after she returns from her first date with Julian, but Cathy breaks things off when she tells her brother that she’s moving to New York to dance with Julian.

5. Christopher’s Love Interest

While Cathy moves on romantically in the books, Christopher can’t overcome his obsession with his sister. Although he admitted to going on random dates with women – including Cathy’s arch nemesis, Yolanda – nothing serious ever developed.

That’s far from what happens in the movie though. While interning at a hospital, Christopher meets Sarah, the daughter of the doctor he’s shadowing. The pair ultimately became engaged to wed, but on the night before their wedding Sarah walked in on Christopher kissing Cathy. Her discovery lead to rumors being spread around town about their incestuous relationship.

6. Julian’s Accident

petals on the wind Will Kemp as Julian in Lifetime's "Petals On The Wind." Photo: Lifetime

Like the book, Julian did die in the movie. However his death was slightly altered. In the movie Julian was caught getting handsy with Carrie by Chris. The two men got into a fistfight, and when it was finally broken up Julian ran off to his car. Cathy jumped in the car after him and as he drove off she revealed that she was pregnant with his child. But before Julian could respond, a car slammed into Julian’s driver side door – killing him instantly.

In the books Julian had been in the car with Yolanda, Cathy’s old roommate who he was having an affair with. Yolanda was killed instantly when they got into the accident, and Julian was seriously injured with doctors fearing he’d never walk again. Not wanting to live without dance, Julian ignored Cathy’s pregnancy news and ended up committing suicide in his hospital room.

7. Carrie’s Death

Carrie developed a relationship with a boy named Alex in both the book and movie. In the movie Alex was a minister and met Carrie while at church choir practice. But in the book Alex was an electrician who was considering becoming a minister.

Because of the grandmother Carrie was deathly afraid of religion. When Alex proposed in the book and told her she would become a minister’s wife, Carrie had a major freak out. Cathy tried to talk her out of her fears, but Carrie believed her entire life to be sinful. Unable to disappoint Alex, she poisoned herself by sprinkling arsenic over a batch of donuts. She ended up extremely sick before slowly dying in the hospital.

Like the book, Carrie ate an arsenic covered donut. However the poison had an immediate affect on her, leading Cathy and Christopher to find her body in her bedroom.

8. Cathy’s Hatred For Corrine

petals on the wind (L to R) Dylan Bruce (“Bart”), Rose McIver (“Cathy”) and Heather Graham (“Corrine”) in Lifetime's "Petals On The Wind." Photo: Lifetime

Cathy was obsessed with getting revenge against her mother throughout the entire V.C. Andrews book. Her desire to destroy her mother’s perfect life ultimately ruined all her relationships, as it was the only thing she could focus on.

The movie differed in the fact that Cathy tried reaching out to her mother and became upset when Corrine failed to acknowledge her. Her real obsession for revenge came after Carrie’s death – leading her to seduce her mother’s husband, Bart.

9. The Grandmother

In the books Cathy wanted revenge on the grandmother just as much as Corrine. After learning that the grandmother couldn’t talk after a stroke, Cathy paid her a visit and turned the whip and wax (as substitute for tar) on her.

That was slightly altered in the movie. The grandmother was still able to speak, but her mind was not as it used to be. Focusing on moments from the past, the grandmother kept accusing Corrine of poisoning her children. And needless to say, Corrine wasn’t happy with her mother’s openness about their sinful actions.

What did you think of the differences in the Lifetime movie and 1980 V.C. Andrews novel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or send a tweet to @AmandaTVScoop.