An elderly man loses his grandson in the same ER where a young boy is dropped off and left for dead. Moved by the plight of the traumatized child with no home and no memory, he takes the boy to his vast estate to recover and raise alongside his granddaughter, who becomes enraged at her grandfather’s actions and ashamed of her “secret brother.” But while the boy doesn’t remember where he came from or who his family is, their presence lingers in the shadows like ghosts of the past. A past he might be better off leaving in the darkness.
Secret Brother is an epic failure. There’s few things right with this story and hundreds of pages of things that are wrong. The truth is, it’s really distracting to continue to see V.C. Andrews name on new releases, especially when she has been dead for nearly thirty years. It doesn’t help that the ghost writer has failed at bringing anything new to the table with the exception of this far-fetched idea that Corey survived being poisoned. I say this is far-fetched because Cathy finds his body in a trunk years later. It’s preposterous to think it was a fake child skeleton.
Anyways, much like the Secret Diaries books, this book is centered around a spoiled and annoying teenage girl. Though unlike Kristin in the previous books, Clara Sue Sanders has an excuse for most of her behavior. Immediately after the death of her little brother (literally minutes after), her grandfather turns all of his attention and resources to a little boy who has been dropped off at the hospital. This kind of behavior is bound to incite a harsh reaction from a teenage girl who is distraught in the aftermath of her brother’s untimely demise. I can’t blame Clara for her anger towards her grandfather. After all, she’s basically left to heal from her brother’s loss on her own and once her brother begins calling the “poison boy” by her brother’s name, it’s really hard to not sympathize with her.
That being said, only the first couple of chapters are decent. Because, though the title implies the book is about a “Secret Brother”, the truth is, it becomes more focused on Clara’s budding relationship with a boy from school. However, unlike the Secret Diaries books, she eventually begins to snap out of her self-centered state of mind and even manages to kick the boy to the curb in order to help young “Count Piro” (as she calls Corey, since she refuses to call him William).
If the story wasn’t connect to the original Dollanganger series, it might be a decent enough book. But the connection with the series is what hurts this book the most. There are timeline inconsistencies and the fact, as a reader, you know who the boy is and everything he’s referencing in the brief moments he remembers things, cause the book to be frustrating to muster through. It should have been more involved in Corey’s recovery or had nothing to do with the original series. Period.
Note to author (aka the ghost writer who is continuously making a mockery out of V.C. Andrews name): If you are going to reveal new secrets to be uncovered, you should really learn to deliver on what you promise.