Title: The Legacy
SubTitle: A Novel
Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
Pub Date: 09/01/011
Following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, a grand and imposing house in Wiltshire, England, where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through her grandmother’s belongings, she is flooded with memories of her childhood—and of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart.
Erica sets out to discover what happened to Henry—so that the past can be laid to rest, and her sister, Beth, might finally find some peace. Gradually, as Erica begins to sift through remnants of the past, a secret family history emerges: one that stretches all the way back to Oklahoma in the 1900s, to a beautiful society heiress and a haunting, savage land. As past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two terrible acts of betrayal—and the heartbreaking legacy left behind.
I would like to start this review by saying how perfect the cover image of this book is. The image of two girls - one obviously older than the other - with the older girl showing how protective she is of the younger. It perfectly presents a part of the book - it is just brilliant. But now onto the content...
I loved this book. For me, it was one of those books that you have to just read and read so that you can see the whole picture, but when you finish it, even though you feel satisfied, you find that you miss the story. In telling the story of a legacy of hatred - or hostility - you have to tell the story from the perspective of the present, the not so distant past, and the very distant past.
This is a multi-layered story that is written from two people's perspectives. We are told Caroline's story in one chapter, then Erica's story in the next - alternating till the end of the book when we see the truth behind this legacy of hatred. At times I found the alternation a bit frustrating, because I was wrenched out of Caroline's life and into Erica's present, when I just wanted to know what was happening in Caroline's world! Jumping from Caroline's life, into Erica's present and her flashbacks of the past, is the very feature that makes this book - we see the stories unfolding at the same pace and can therefore put the pieces of the puzzle together. It is absolutely marvellous. A gripping story told in a gripping manner, that ends with the possibility of there being more, but ending on a note that leaves the reader satisfied.
About the author
Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire, England. She studied History at Durham University, has spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives in Berkshire, England. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, potter, bookbinder, library assistant, and formal housekeeper at a manor house, she now writes full time.