Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Legacy - Katherine Webb

I've not been reading much recently, it seems like life takes over sometimes. But truthfully there's nothing better than snuggling up with a good book, and my mum lent me a few whilst I was down in Cornwall with the boys. She keeps a notebook where she writes down all the books she reads for her bookclub and their house is full to the brim of books, so it's brilliant to go down there and pick out a few choice reads. I hope that one day we might be able to have our very own 'library' in a spare room which I can alphabetise to my heart's desire - a room with bookcases all around the walls (my dream is something like the one from Beauty and the Beast - we can all have dreams, right?)

The first from the pile mum gave me was 'The Legacy' by Katherine Webb. Two sisters inherit a manor house from their unlikeable aunt - but they can only keep it if they live together. The book jumps between Beth and 'Rick' (Erica) in the present day - following their experience as they delve into a half-remembered past over Christmas - and Caroline, their great- great- grandmother in the 1900s.

Erica, the narrator of the modern half of the novel is a likeable and believable character. She is fighting to get Beth, her sister to tell her the truth about the disappearance of their cousin Henry who disappeared when they were children visiting the house. Her desire to uncover the mysteries of the house and their family history stems from a need to try to 'fix' Beth who is suffering from depression, and who has attempted suicide, risking losing custody of her son Eddie.

The mysteries and twists are gradually uncovered in both narratives, gradually drawing the two stories together. It doesn't take a genius to see the truths, but they are quite cleverly woven into the story, and I particularly liked the fact that Erica never *quite* finds out the truth - the reader does, as we see both ends of the story, but Erica has to try to fill in the gaps for herself. This makes it rather more believable than if the author had somehow had her find out everything, whilst still allowing the reader to have full closure.

I really enjoyed reading the book, it transports you to another place and time well - I particularly liked the sections about the America Prairie, and Caroline's story is, at times, heart wrenching. The setting of the manor house is close to where we live, near Devizes, so it was nice to be able to picture the countryside and the house too. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of mystery and tension, but it's also a very easy and pleasant read.

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