Dawn is the first book in V.C. Andrews’ Cutler series. The book exhibits various strengths and weaknesses. Judged within the Cutler series as a whole, Dawn is a strong beginning to a new series.
The novel starts strong and the story is gripping. I immediately wanted to get to know the main character and understand her life. Her family had an interesting dynamic that I wanted to find out more about.
Dawn is the type of character who wants to be nice and help others, but she is stubborn and doesn’t want to back down to anybody, whether it is Grandmother Cutler or Clara Sue. She has goals, but she is naïve.
Dawn is a predictable book, especially in comparison to the rest of Andrews’ works. Each series is formulaic, so if the reader is familiar with other books by Andrews, this one will seem quite familiar. The book has a very similar plot to the book Heaven, except that this one was written by Andrews' ghost writer. It can also be compared to the ghostwritten book Ruby, considering the family relationships and Dawn’s rags to riches lifestyle.
The relationships are not complex. None of the characters are very deep. Jimmy and Dawn have the most complex relationship: many readers will find disturbing, and it is a major plot point. The motive behind Grandmother Cutler not feeling warm toward Dawn is a bit more complex than any of the other characters’ motivations; however this is not fully explored in this particular book.
Overall, the series provides a look into a dysfunctional family that puts on an air of superiority to run their business. Dawn’s character gives us an inside view of the family. Despite many weaknesses, the book offers the genuine entertainment that many readers felt was missing from earlier V.C. Andrews books.