Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Story
You can read about the twins’ maternal family tree here.
Theodore Wakefield lives in England and is the son of the Earl of Wakefield. He feels lucky to be the second born son because he doesn’t want his brother James’ fate. James is being forced into an arranged marriage with a woman named Katarina. James shows no kindness to Katarina and Theodore accuses him of being too afraid to stand up to their father and refuse the marriage. The brothers argue, and James becomes angry and rides off on Theodore’s horse, Raven. James tries to jump the horse, but Raven veers away from the wall and throws James into it, killing him. After the funeral, the Earl tells Theodore he will take James’ place as heir and marry Katarina. Theodore refuses and decides to run away to America. Before he leaves, his mother slips into his pocket the family signet ring. Theodore hops a ship to America.
One day, Theodore sees a young blond woman jump overboard to save a little boy who has fallen into the water. She starts to go under and Theodore rescues her. They have dinner together later that night and Theodore gives Alice a small rose carved out of wood. He and Alice fall in love and plan to marry in America. After their arrival in the New World, however, Theodore is suspected of carrying typhus and is quarantined on Ward’s Island for weeks. When he is finally released, he has no idea what to do or how to find Alice. He buys a train ticket to Cleveland, figuring it’s as good a place as any to start his new lonely life.
In 1876, Theodore joins the circus as a horse trainer and becomes the Magnificent Theo W. Eight years later, he becomes close with one of the trapeze performers, Dancing Wind, a sixteen-year-old half-Indian girl. (By my count, Theodore is thirty-six at this point.) Dancing Wind is in love with Theodore, and it seems he may be starting to return the feeling, but a little girl named Jessamyn runs into the horse tent one day before the show starts and Theodore realizes the girl looks just like his lost love. Jessamyn says her mother is Swedish, and Theodore is excited at the prospect of meeting Alice again at the show that night.
Dancing Wind is crushed that he would forget about her so easily, and she wants nothing more than to make him notice her again. She tries to do a dangerous stunt on the trapeze that night, but she slips, ripping through the net and falling to the ground. Theo runs to her side and finally realizes he loves her. When autumn rolls around, Dancing Wind, now crippled and unable to perform, decides to leave the circus. Feeling that she trapped Theo into loving her, she decides to leave him, too. He sees her on the ground as the train is getting ready to leave, and offers to help her up. She tells him she’s not going, and he says he won’t either. They decide to get married in the spring and travel to California to find Dancing Wind’s tribe.
They never do get to California because Theo is worried the journey would be too much of a strain on Dancing Wind’s health. They settle in Nebraska and make a farm. Four years later, Dancing Wind is pregnant. She goes into labor on their wedding anniversary. The birth is very difficult, and after giving birth to twins and naming them James and Sarah, Dancing Wind dies.
The Wakefields have moved to Vista, California. In keeping with the idea that twins have to be complete opposites, Sarah is wild and James is serious. At sixteen years old, Sarah falls in love with Edward, one of the cherry pickers on the Wakefield farm. She brings him home for tea so her father and brother can meet him, but Theodore is cool and aloof. Sarah asks him later if he doesn’t like Edward, and Theodore says he would rather see her settled with someone who is able to keep her in the manner to which she has become accustomed. Someone like George LeMaitre, a boy from a rich family and someone Sarah isn’t interested in at all. She decides to keep seeing Edward in secret. As a present for her seventeenth birthday, Edward gives Sarah a ring.
An influenza epidemic sweeps the town, and James dies. Theodore tells Sarah she’s the only family he has left in the world, which makes Sarah feel guilty for lying about Edward all these months. She comes home from school one day to find her father has read her journal. He tells her she must stop seeing Edward, or she can leave. That night, she packs a bag and goes to Edward. They run away to San Francisco and arrive on April 18, 1906. They plan to marry that day, but it’s still too early to find a justice of the peace. They check into a hotel, but pretty soon the ground starts to shake. When the earthquake is over, Sarah and Edward are trapped in their hotel room. They perform their own little wedding ceremony and call themselves married, then they have sex. They are eventually rescued, but then Edward goes back inside to help the other men. He dies when an aftershock throws him off a ledge.
Sarah goes home, and Theodore welcomes her back with open arms, happy she didn’t also die in the earthquake. A couple months later, Sarah finds out she is pregnant. This isn’t exactly welcome news, considering she and Edward never did get legally married. She tells her father, and he sends her away for the remainder of her pregnancy. He doesn’t want anyone in town to know about the illegitimate child. She goes to Mendocino, where Theodore has rented a house for her. She gives birth to a boy on New Year’s Day. She names him Edward, but calls him Teddy. She writes to her father, who comes to take her home. Sarah is surprised when he says only she will come home with him, not the baby. She refuses and decides to fend for herself. She’s worried about how Teddy will feel if he finds out his parents weren’t married, so she decides she will pretend to be his aunt, and he will never know she is his mother.
Seventeen-year-old Ted and his “aunt” Sarah live in Chicago, and Ted gets a job working as a waiter at a jazz club. He befriends Tina Stark, the daughter of one of the musicians. Tina likes the way Ted talks about music and she encourages him to write about it. He gets published in the newspaper and starts thinking he’d like to write full time and not go to college. He tells Sarah his decision. She wants him to go to school as planned, and they have a fight. A few days later, Ted comes home to find Sarah holding an envelope. She says her father has died. Ted is confused, since he has always been told his grandfather died a long time ago. Sarah finally tells him the truth about his lineage. It’s too much for Ted to take and he wants to get out of the house. He’s been accepted to a college in Rosse, Ohio, so he packs his bags and leaves that night.
Ted thrives in college. He joins a fraternity and becomes good friends with Harry Watson. Harry has a pair of sixteen-year-old twin sisters and one of them, Samantha, is dying to meet Ted. Ted goes home with Harry for Christmas, and though he had intended on getting to know Samantha, he ends up falling for Amanda instead. Amanda doesn’t want to hurt Sam’s feelings, so over the next few months, they write letters to each other in secret. Ted decides to take a trip to Detroit and take Amanda to a jazz club, but when he gets there, it’s clear she never got his letter. Samantha tries to make out with him, and he has to tell her he’s in love with Amanda.
That night, Amanda wakes him up and tells him they need to go back to the jazz club, but when they get there, Ted gets arrested for running bootleg liquor. He spends the night in jail, and then the Feds let him go because they couldn’t make the charges stick. Ted gets in his car and heads for Chicago, not even stopping to get his things from the Watsons’ house. He is heartbroken at Amanda’s betrayal. It never occurs to him to think he might have been set up by the scorned twin. When he gets to his mother’s house, Ted decides to travel west and learn more about his grandparents.
Ted tracks down his grandmother’s tribe’s reservation in Oregon. When he goes to talk to the chief, there’s a young blond woman already there. After learning about Dancing Wind’s family, Ted goes outside and finds the blond woman waiting for him. She’s a reporter named Julia Marks, and she asks for Ted’s help in breaking the story she’s working on about the government reneging on promises they’d made to the Awaswan tribe. A man named Frank Foster has the only copy of the treaty, and Ted helps Julia get it from him so she can present it to Indian Affairs in Washington. A few days later, they’re both ready to leave Oregon. Ted doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life now, but Julia has fallen in love with him and asks him to come with her to Washington. He agrees.
On the train, Ted tells Julia about his bad lineage, but Julia doesn’t care; she likes him for who he is. She tells him she likes him very much, but Ted tells her about Amanda, and explains he isn’t looking for romance. After a week in Washington together, though, Ted falls for her. They get married and move to New York, and in 1927, Julia tells Ted she’s pregnant. Their son, Robert, is born healthy, and while Julia is in the hospital, Ted reads in the paper that Samantha Watson has died giving birth to her daughter. He feels like a lucky man to have a healthy wife and baby.
By 1937, Julia has made a name for herself as a journalist, and she is asked to go on assignment to Germany. She stays two months and writes home often, and finally she writes to say she is coming home. Ted and Robert go to New Jersey to await her arrival on the Hindenburg. It bursts into flames and Julia dies.
Not long after his sixteenth birthday, Robert goes to the army recruitment office and lies about his age so he can go fight. His father is unhappy about it, but gives him the Wakefield ring, which has been passed down through the generations, and tells him to come back safely. Robert is assigned to a ship in the South Pacific. The mission is to liberate a POW camp of nurses on Mindanao Island, and Robert will be listening for radio communications from their contact, a woman who goes by the name Pacific Star.
Pacific Star is Hannah Weiss, and she has been in the camp for a year and a half, under the guard of Japanese soldiers. Once a week, the guards let them outside to wash their clothes. One of the other prisoners distracts the guard while Hannah contacts Robert’s ship. After eighteen months of weekly communication, Robert and Hannah finally meet when the camp is liberated. A month later, Japan surrenders and the war is over. Hannah and Robert get married on Robert’s ship. They settle in Sweet Valley, California, where Hannah’s brother and his wife live, and there they eventually have a son, Ned. Ned and his cousin, Rachel Weiss, are born around the same time and grow up together.
Ned, Late 1960s
Rachel is sixteen, and is constantly being pestered by Hank Patman, who won’t take no for an answer. He only backs off when Ned comes around and threatens him. One day, Ned meets a migrant worker who is only sixteen but doesn’t go to school. Ned finds out the migrant workers aren’t allowed to go to Sweet Valley’s public schools and he wants to do something about it. He tries to get a petition together and have it endorsed by the student council, but Hank Patman refuses to get behind it.
Ned and Rachel go off to college, and a girl named Becky Foster is dying for Rachel to introduce her to Ned. Becky is a total square, but shows up in Rachel’s room one day dressed like a hippie, calling herself “Rainbow.” Ned finally notices her that night at an activist meeting, and he feels a connection with her when he finds out they’re both part Awaswan. After a date with him, Becky boasts to Rachel that she’s snagged Ned. When Rachel asks her why she wants Ned so bad anyway, Becky says she plans to graduate from law school, and it will sure be convenient to have a boyfriend who can help make sure she does so with honors. Rachel tries to tell Ned, but he doesn’t want to hear it. Then one day at a rally, Ned and Becky are handcuffed and taken to jail. Becky lets her true colors show and she tells Ned she was just using him to get ahead. When they get to the station, she tells the cops her father is Judge Foster, and they let her go. Ned feels like an idiot.
Senior year, Ned is on the beach one day when he sees a beautiful blond woman start to drown. He rescues her, but then Hank comes out of nowhere and pretends he doesn’t know Ned. Ned realizes there’s something between Hank and Alice and that Hank is treating him like a stranger in order to blow him off. Ned assumes Alice is just wonderful and is only dating Hank for fun because someone like her couldn’t possibly be serious about someone like Hank. Then he finds out they’re engaged, and he and Rachel think Hank is manipulating her the way Becky tried to manipulate Ned.
Depressed, Ned makes arrangements for the summer. After he graduates, he plans to travel to England and see the place where his great-great-grandfather came from. The night before he is to leave, Alice comes to his house, still wearing the wedding dress in which she was supposed to marry Hank. A few years later, Alice and Ned get married.
I guess that’s the Hindenburg crashing over there, right next to Dancing Wind falling from the trapeze bar. Under that, Robert is chatting on his radio to Hannah, and under that, I guess that’s Ned and Alice looking all scared of the cops with their tear gas. Over on the right, only Theodore and Sarah seem important enough to share the limelight with Liz and Jessica.