Original date of publication: 2010
My edition: 2011 (Harper)
Why I decided to read: Amazon.com recommendation
How I acquired my copy: Amazon, January 2011
The Legacy is one of those time-split novels, which jumps back and forth between the present day and 1902-5. In present-day England, Erica Calcott returns to Storton Manor, the place where she grew up, after the death of her great-aunt. Erica’s sister (and Erica herself) are both haunted by a secret dating from their childhood, which rises to the surface after Erica runs into an old childhood playmate. The story jumps back in time to Erica and Beth’s great-grandmother, Caroline, newly married and living on the Oklahoma frontier.
Normally I groan when I see one of these books in stores: “oh, no, not ANOTHER” time-split novel!” I think that the market is oversaturated with them. But I actually enjoyed this one, although I could more or less predict Erica and Beth’s story. The story moves quickly, and I was equally interested in these women’s stories—although I for one couldn’t stand Caroline; I thought she was incredibly selfish and mean (in the sense of little) for doing what she does. Erica is a little flat as a character, though, and I thought her “investigation” of her great-grandmother’s story wasn’t really an investigation. Every time the story jumps back to Caroline, it seems as though Erica automatically knows by osmosis or something what happened all those years ago.
But I really did enjoy the story; there were a number of plot twists that I thought were unique and original. It took me a little bit of time to get into the story, but when I did so I found myself really enjoying it. The author’s prose style isn’t really developed yet, but I thought her use of the present/past tense for each of her heroines was clever. In all, I thought this was an enjoyable book about the power of memory to play tricks on us, and about different people remember different things about the past.