- Date: November 1979
- Type: Book
The Dollanganger family live an idyllic life full of sunshine and love. Chris Jr., Cathy, and younger twins Carrie and Cory adore their parents Corrine and Chris Sr., who are beautiful, loving, and perfect. A local joke has them nicknamed the Dresden Dolls from their fair complexions, light blonde hair, and blue eyes that are startlingly similar to those of their parents, with Chris resembling his father most strongly, and Cathy their mother. When their father is killed in a terrible road accident, Corrine explains that they have to leave their home and the bulk of their possessions as these were not fully paid for. Corrine has no skills suitable for the workforce, and decides to relocate her children to their grandparents house, where they will be able to stay. Corrine was cast off by her extremely wealthy parents for marrying Christopher and she has to beg for their help, which is given on the condition that for the first night, the children are hidden from their grandfather. The old man is very ill, and the shock of knowledge of the children would apparently kill him. Smuggled into the northern wing of the giant mansion, the children are hidden in a bedroom on the top floor with two double beds and an attached bathroom, plus a cupboard that conceals a doorway into the attic above. Their grandmother is very fierce, formidable, and strict, while their mother seems utterly cowed by her surroundings. Once locked into their room, Chris and Cathy have to take care of their four year old twin siblings. The next day, their mother reveals more of the truth - she was cast out because Christopher Sr was her half uncle, which counts as incest. Her deeply religious parents vowed never to help her again. Now her father relents, although he has the grandmother whip Corrine from her head to her heels. Corrine explains that she is only being forgiven because he has no other issue - her two brothers died years before - and so she will inherit all his massive fortune when he dies, which she keeps saying will be very soon. Until then she must keep the children hidden, and begs them to understand and submit. Adoring their mother as they do, the children agree to stay locked up in the attic.