Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review: The Legacy by Katherine Webb

In 1903, New York heiress Caroline marries a cattle rancher and moves with him to rural Oklahoma, where she finds herself wholly out of her depth. Unable to adjust to the isolation of the vast prairies, Caroline grows increasingly frightened and unhappy. Driven to the edge of reason she commits a terrible crime from which she flees, all the way to London, to start a new life as the wife of English aristocrat Henry Calcott. She moves to Storton Manor in Wiltshire, but soon finds that the repercussions of her actions have crossed the Atlantic with her, and will not be so easily forgotten. In the bitter winter of 2008, following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, where they spent the summer holidays as children. As she begins to sort through her grandmother's belongings, Erica is inundated with memories of her childhood, and of Dinny, a local boy whom she idolised. She also remembers her spiteful cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart. Convinced that she should remember what happened to Henry, Erica sets out to uncover the truth. She is reunited with Dinny, and finds herself as drawn to him in adulthood as she was as a child. Haunted by emotions and suspicions, Erica delves deeply into her memories, revisiting the people and places that shaped her childhood, and bringing to light a truth more shocking than she had ever imagined

The Legacy is two novels in one.  The author, Katherine Webb, switches back and forth from present day to the past; weaving a complicated tapestry of familial history and deceptions.  The reader learns of lies from both time periods and as the story unfolds, learns how past errors have complicated present day issues.

The characters showed depth, as the story evolved, their personalities changed based on how the events affected them.  I enjoyed seeing an author tackle character development in this way, the changes were there, but the other characters weren't always aware of the circumstances.  This showed especially well with Caroline, who was cold and shut off in her later years and her family never knew why.

The story is unique. The author teases the reader by revealing only bits of information towards the mystery in each chapter.  I found the switch in time periods each chapter a bit jarring and had to take a bit to remind myself what had transpired two chapters ago in the time period I was now entering again.  Still, it was an interesting novel and well worth reading.  It will be available on September 1!

*Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.

I give this book 3 Bookworms.

Paperback:  496 pages
Publisher:  Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10:  0062077309
ISBN-13:  978-0062077301

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