If you loved Ruby, the first installment in Lifetime’s movie series event adaptation of VC Andrews’ Landry books, chances are you’ll like this one, too. Pearl in the Mist brings back all the major characters, which allows us a strong connection to their stories from the get-go. On a personal level, I enjoyed this sequel even more than the first. Redirecting the action to a stodgy boarding school gives the film a unique vibe that justifies spending another hour and a half in this world. It’s a world of racism, a double dose of incest, scheming twins, hot groundskeepers, and death—in other words, it’s quintessential VC Andrews.
Nearly a year after baptism by fire into her new life as a Dumas, Ruby (Raechelle Banno) is still in awe at the generosity of her father (Gil Bellows), and the grandiosity of their New Orleans mansion. Ruby’s relationship with Beau (Ty Wood) is stronger than ever, even if things remain strained with twin sister Giselle (Karina Banno). When Ruby and Giselle are both sent off to strict boarding school, Greenwood School For Girls, Ruby is thrown into unknown territory. The harsh headmistress, Mrs. Ironwood (Marilu Henner), schemes with Ruby’s stepmother (Lauralee Bell) to make her life a living hell. Giselle will stop at nothing to get Ruby expelled from the prestigious academy. When tragedy strikes, Ruby is changed forever.
Ridiculous dialogue like “if boredom is a major, I’m gonna get straight A’s” and “I’ve had many dealings with swamp people, and I’ve never met one I can trust” made me laugh out loud. The light, soapy tone will please fans hungry for the Landry series. Unlike the Dollangager series, which made the decision to change out major cast members to signify the passing of time, the Landry series sees the majority of the cast coming back in a big way. The returning characters are fantastic, and the new ones are equally as compelling. The amped-up sibling rivalry this time around was so much fun to watch. Karina gets a meatier role, and she amps up her character’s bitchiness to wonderful effect. Lead Raechelle plays Ruby in the midst of a sizzling love triangle, and against all odds, she is not unlikable. My favorite of the new characters is mysterious stranger Louis Clairborne (Richard Harmon), a blind and lonely piano player who sets his sights on Ruby.
The bottom line: if you enjoyed Ruby, Pearl in the Mist gives you more crazy, campy excitement. My jaw dropped more times in this film than the first, so take that as you will. The Landry series, which stands tall as VC Andrews’ second-best selling book series, no doubt pops on the page. Lifetime continues the trend of delivering stellar contributions to the Andrews brand. I’ll be counting down the days until I can absorb the final installments in this gripping and preposterous event series. Pearl in the Mist airs Sunday, March 21st, on Lifetime.