Petals on the Wind follows Cathy, Chris and Carrie Dollanganger after they escaped from the evil grandmother’s house. If the reader tried to make excuses for Chris and Cathy in Flowers, you run out of excuses in this book.
The book picks up where FITA left off – escaping on a bus, Carrie growing ill. Luck smiles on them when a mute woman convinces them to come with her to her house, where she lives as a housekeeper for a doctor. Of course, the doctor – Paul – takes them all in, and becomes their guardian. Paul seems to have an endless supply of money; he has a backyard full of marble statues and buys the children everything they need. Of course, he sends Chris and Carrie to private schools, which provides him with plenty of time with just Cathy. Cathy is constantly fighting Chris off and trying to seduce Dr. Paul. Paul is paying for her ballet lessons and a dancer she meets there is chasing after her. Everyone loves Cathy!
The book just builds the ridiculous on top of the ridiculous – Cathy and Paul have an affair. Cathy elopes with the dancer, who dies after abusing her. Cathy and Chris get it on. Cathy is hellbent on getting revenge on her mother and so she seduces her mother’s husband. Meanwhile, Carrie never grows and Chris mopes around after Cathy. There is even a scene where Cathy whips her grandmother while wearing a tutu!
Eventually, everyone pretty much dies and Cathy and Chris end up together, raising the 2 sons Cathy had with the other men as their own. Because that will end well.
Cathy is one of those characters who are so perfect all men fall in love with her. Carrie doesn’t want Cathy to meet her boyfriend for fear he’ll fall for Cathy, too. It drives me a bit crazy when this kind of woman exists in books or movies or tv because it never actually happens in real life.
While completely ridiculous, the book is a fast read – I flew through it because I wanted to see what further trouble Cathy was going to seduce her way into. Which is more than I can say for the next book in the series, If There Be Thorns.