The prologue in 1905 sets the scene on this totally absorbing journey of how the past can send ripples along time in a family to affect the present. It hooks you in straight away with intrigue, leaving you wanting to find out why this is happening and what bearing it has on the story of four generations of Calcott women.
Erica and sister Beth return to Storton Manor in the winter after the death of their grandmother Meredith. Meredith has set terms for their inheritance of the Manor - they have to live there to inherit. We find out straight away that there are memories that Erica can not recall surrounding the disappearance of their cousin, Henry. We find out that Beth is mentally unwell and had been hospitalised. It is the first time they’ve stayed at the Manor without their parents and everything is in a state of disrepair and neglect.
We then return to 1902 in New York City, following Caroline (who is great grandmother to Erica and Beth) as she starts her journey of being presented to society as a debutante.
The story is told by alternating chapters. The present time is written in the first person from Beth’s perspective where we read about the triggers she experiences that takes her back twenty three years ago to Henry’s disappearance. Erica also stumbles on a photograph of Caroline taken before she came to London and married Henry Calcott and leads to her searching through the Calcott family history to try to solve an enigma. Caroline’s story is written in the third person and charts her life from New York City to the frontier land of Woodward County and prairie life and finally to England.
I enjoyed this balance of one era being told forwards in time while the other is narrated with flashbacks and reflection of the past.
When Erica finds the photograph of Caroline, in the early 1900’s we are reading about Caroline’s life before she married Henry Calcott. The intrigue of wanting to know what happens in Caroline’s life to lead her from what we know to what Erica knows is a strong pull. Also, the Caroline of the early 1900’s is so different from the Caroline that Erica’s mother talks about in the present time that you want to keep reading to see what trauma happened to provoke such a change in character.
The intrigue of uncovering the secret family history is linked with the intrigue of Henry’s disappearance and the effect it has had on Beth. The Dinsdale family, travellers allowed to camp on part of Storton Manor (both in the past and present) are key characters in the lives of the Calcott women.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tension of each era building in intensity and then being left with a cliff-hanger. I was so absorbed in what was happening I just couldn’t put my Kindle down!
The Legacy is journey of secrets, mystery, intrigue, family and love. It is a story of how one woman’s actions followed her down through the years and affected future generations. It held my interest from the first word until the last and for this reason, I am giving this novel my highest, four-fairy rating.
I requested to read The Legacy via Netgalley. Thank you to the publishers HarperCollins for giving permission for me to read this uncorrected e-proof copy.