If There Be Thorns Timeline



March 1983  • The Sheffield family (Chris, Cathy, Jory, and Bart Jr.) is living in Fairfax, Marin County, California.  • Chris catches Cathy dancing in their attic, which she has furnished with twin beds and a picnic basket.  • Jory overhears a disturbing conversation.

May 5, 1983 – Thursday  Cathy insists on honoring the twins’ birthday, as she does every year.

May 7, 1983 – Saturday  Work men arrive at the abandoned mansion next door and begin renovation work.

May 8, 1983 – Sunday  The family picnics at Stinson Beach.

May 9, 1983 – Monday  The work men tell Bart and Jory that the mansion next door has been purchased by a “rich dame.”

May 27, 1983 – Friday  • School ends for the summer.  • Cathy speaks to Chris about her dance student, Nicole, who was in a horrible car accident. Nicole has a little girl named Cindy who looks like Carrie.

June 15, 1983 – Wednesday  A mysterious veiled woman dressed in black moves into the mansion next door. She brings many servants with her, including an old butler.

June 16, 1983 – Thursday  Jory observes the mysterious woman sitting in an uncomfortable hard wooden rocker. He sees her without her veil; her face is covered with scars. He thinks how much she looks like Cathy would in thirty year’s time.

June 17, 1983 – Friday  The woman next door calls over the wall and invites Bart to visit her.

June 18, 1983 – Saturday  Bart visits the woman next door.

June 20, 1983 – Monday  Bart has now visited the woman next door three times in five days. The woman, revealed to be Corrine, is affectionate and pampers him. She will soon tell Bart to call her Grandmother.

June 21, 1983 – Tuesday  Bart comes across the butler, John Amos, in Corrine’s favorite room. He tells Bart to come to him when he wants the truth. He reveals that Corrine really is his grandmother and was married to his real father. He also tells Bart about his great-grandfather, Malcolm Foxworth. John Amos gives Bart a red leather journal and says “if you want to save your everlasting soul from the fires of eternal hell, you will read this book and grow strong and powerful like your great-grandfather. The women will never rule you again. You will rule them.”

June 22, 1983 – Wednesday  • Jory overhears Cathy and Chris arguing about Cindy, whom Cathy wants to adopt. Cindy’s mother has already signed guardianship papers.  • Cathy blames Chris for everything. Chris attempts to leave but Cathy stops him. • Jory overhears Corrine sobbing next door and crying “Christopher”.

June 23, 1983 – Thursday  Jory finds Bart sitting on Corrine’s lap. Later, he visits her and feels pity.

June 24, 1983 – Friday  • Nicole dies in the early hours, and Cathy and Chris bring Cindy home. • Jory begins to remember the past, especially a man named Bart Winslow.

June 25, 1983 – Saturday  Jory bursts into Corrine’s mansion and drags Bart home.

June 26, 1983 – Sunday  • Bart has visited Corrine a total of twelve times. Corrine asks Bart to stay away from John Amos, but Bart considers John to be his friend. She also doesn’t want him to tell Cathy and Chris about her or his visits. Corrine gives Bart a St. Bernard puppy named Apple. Corrine reveals to Bart that she once had two sons.  • John Amos tells Bart that “Malcolm will never rest easy in his grave until all the Devil’s spawn are sent down to roast over the fires of hell!”  • Bart, heavily influenced by the journal, wants to be more like Malcolm and less like Bart.

July 1983  • Jory discovers Apple and Bart in Corrine’s barn.  • Bart questions Corrine as to why he cant tell his parents about her.

July 13, 1983 – Wednesday  Jory’s dog Clover goes missing.

July 16, 1983 – Saturday  Jory visits Corrine again. She shows him her portrait and tries to tell him the truth, but he doesn’t believe her.

July 23, 1983 – Sunday  • Bart works on building Clover a dog house, despite the fact that Clover is still missing.  • John Amos continues to tell Bart more stories.

July 25, 1983 – Monday  Bart punctures his knee on a rusty nail, but ignores it.

July 26, 1983 – Tuesday  • While hiding in the garden, Bart finds Clover dead inside an old hollow tree.  • The infection and pain in Bart’s leg spreads, and he pretends he’s dying.

• Jory finds Bart under a bush, his leg swollen and his face hot with fever, and carries him home. Bart is taken to the hospital with suspected gangrene. His condition worsens when he has an allergic reaction to the penicillin.

July 28, 1983 – Thursday  • Bart spends his 10th birthday in the hospital.  • Jory finds Apple in the barn, chained up and starving.  • Jory spies on John Amos and Corrine lounging on the patio. John, sprawled on a chaise lounge sipping beer, tells Corrine that Bart might lose his leg or die.  • Jory comes out of his hiding place and tells a distressed Corrine about Bart’s condition, and how he found Apple suffering in the barn. He tells Corrine to leave Bart alone.

August 9, 1983 – Tuesday  After two weeks, Bart is released from the hospital.

August 15, 1983 – Monday  After six days of being kept indoors, Bart manages to sneak out and discovers that Apple has been fed while he was away.

August 16, 1983 – Tuesday  Bart visits John Amos.

September 1, 1983 – Thursday  Bart tries to drown Cindy.

September 2, 1983 – Friday  Cathy and Chris take Bart to see a psychiatrist.

September 4, 1983 – Sunday  Inspired by Malcom’s journal, Bart hacks off Cindy’s hair.

September 5, 1983 – Monday  During a ballet performance, Cathy falls and injures her knee so badly she’s told she can’t dance again.

September 8, 1983 – Thursday  Cathy begins writing her book.

September 9, 1983 – Friday  • Jory tells Cathy and Chris about the woman next door. Chris visits her to warn her to stay away and discovers she is in fact Corrine. He doesn’t tell Cathy about her, despite Corrine begging him to give her Bart.  • Bart begins to tell Corrine things as “Malcolm.”

November 1983  • Bart reads Cathy’s book and learns everything.  • Madame Marisha visits Cathy and discovers the truth. They argue, and Jory overhears everything.

November 24, 1983 – Thursday  Madame Marisha has Thanksgiving with the family.

November 27, 1983 – Sunday  Bart is becoming more and more confused, unable to distinguish between himself and Malcolm.

December 22, 1983 – Thursday  • Bart threatens Cathy.  • Cathy goes next door and discovers Corrine; she attacks her.

• John Amos reveals he is Corrine’s husband, before knocking out both women and locking them in the cellar.  • Chris and Jory look for Cathy, but are unable to find her.

December 23, 1983 – Friday  • John Amos begins to pack up the house.  • Jory is suspicious of Bart and begins to follow him, but loses him.  • John Amos serves Corrine and Cathy their last meal.  • John Amos tells Chris that Foxworth Hall will be rebuilt.  • Cathy attacks Corrine and knocks over a candle, setting the mansion on fire. Chris saves them both, but John Amos knocks him out with a shovel. Jory pulls Chris and Cathy to safety. Corrine attempts to save Bart, and knocks John Amos out with a heavy glass ashtray. Cathy returns to the house and comforts Bart, snapping him out of his trance. Jory pulls Bart from the burning house, but Cathy becomes trapped. Corrine saves Cathy, but is unable to escape the burning house herself.

December 30, 1983 – Friday  At Corrine’s funeral in Greenglenna, Cathy finally forgives her.

January 1984  Corrine leaves the entire Foxworth inheritance to Bart, with provisions for Jory and Cindy. She stipulates that the money must be held in trust by Chris.


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