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The True Story of How V.C. Andrews’ Casteel Family Saga Came to Be – GoodHousekeeping.com

  • As a part of their Book to Screen movie series, Lifetime is airing five-brand new movies centered on V.C. Andrews’ book series about the Casteel family.
  • , the first movie of the series, will debut on July 27 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
  • Stars across all five films, which air through August 24, include Julie Benz, Kelly Rutherford, and Jason Priestley.

If you grew up reading V.C. Andrews’ books, then you know that the late author leaned on major family drama to write best-sellers like and . The same is true for her Casteel Family series — — which airs as a five-part movies series on Lifetime starting July 27.

Although many people think Andrews’ storylines were too crazy to be true, she said otherwise. “Do you read the newspapers? The things that are done to children, that’s where I get them [ideas] from. They really happen,” Andrews confessed in her final interview before her death in 1986. (Note: Andrews died before completing the Casteel Family series, which is why ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman wrote the final three books.)

The Casteel Family saga, in particular, follows Heaven Casteel after her dad separates her and her siblings in different homes. Ann Patty, the editor who worked on several of V.C. Andrews’ books, confirmed to The Complete V.C. Andrews that the out-there story about Heaven was based on reality: “ was indeed based on a true story. The person in question submitted her manuscript to Humphrey Evans (the agent who discovered V.C. Andrews). It was unpublishable, but when Humphrey told me about the story, we realized, though the writer couldn’t write well enough, Virginia could. The story was bought for Virginia, and the woman visited Virginia and they made tapes, from which Virginia wrote the novel, based on the woman’s story. The tapes still exist. It is true only Heaven was based on it, but this woman really was sold by her father.

Now that you know the truth behind the Casteel family, brush up on the storylines before you watch the rest of the Lifetime series:

Heaven

Ryan Plummer

Meet the Casteel family, a disregarded family living in poverty-stricken West Virginia. Heaven Leigh Casteel (played by Annalise Basso) is determined to redeem her family name, but everything changes when her stepmother leaves and her father Luke (played by Chris McNally) sells her and her four siblings to different families. Heaven is sent to live with Luke’s ex Kitty (played by Julie Benz), who torments her.

V.C. Andrews Heaven premieres on July 27 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.


Dark Angel

Lifetime

After Heaven finds a new life in Boston with her estranged grandmother and grandfather (played by Kelly Rutherford and Jason Priestly), she discovers even more secrets about her family’s past.

V.C. Andrews Dark Angel premieres August 3 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.


Fallen Hearts

Cate Cameron

Now happily married, Heaven decides — thanks to some convincing by her grandfather — to continue living at their Boston mansion. All seems fine and well … until it doesn’t.

V.C. Andrews Fallen Hearts premieres August 10 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.


Gates of Paradise

Cate Cameron

Now Heaven’s daughter gets the spotlight: Annie (played by Lizzie Boys) finds herself orphaned and missing her family, especially her half-brother Luke (played by Keeenan Tracey Star). Once she finds refuge in a hidden cottage, Annie starts to wonder about her past.

V.C. Andrews Gates of Paradise premieres August 17 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.


Web of Dreams

James Dittiger

The mysteries of the Casteel family are finally revealed: Web of Dreams tells the story of Heaven’s mother (played by Jennifer LaPorte) and father (played by Max Lloyd-Jones) as they prepare for Heaven’s birth.

Web of Dreams premieres August 24 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.



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Associate Lifestyle Editor As the Associate Lifestyle Editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, Amanda oversees gift guides and covers home, holidays, food, and other lifestyle news.

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