Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

Title: The Legacy
Author: Katherine Webb

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1900s / New York City / American West/ Ranching / Family / Contemporary / UK / Estates)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Paperbacks (8/30/2011)
Source: TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did -- I couldn't put it down!
One-sentence summary: One family, two terrible secrets, and a young woman obsessed with solving both.
Reading Challenges: British Books, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do, but it doesn't fit the story for me. I think the cover looks like some Southern-sister fic rather than a historical set in Oklahoma or a contemporary novel set in rural England (this novel has both).

I'm reminded of...: Lauren Groff, Amanda Prantera

First line: Gradually, Caroline returned to her senses.

Did... I stay up late two nights in a row because I couldn't stop myself?: YES. I had to know!

Did... I develop a bit of a crush on the male love interests in this book?: YES, both the historical and contemporary romantic figures -- such dreamboats!

Did... I flash back to my childhood years in South Dakota during the sections set in Oklahoma?: YES. The wind, the loneliness, the giant sky -- I can't imagine moving there on my own, when it was even more isolated and rural. Those sections were very evocative for me!

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Definitely borrow -- an engrossing read for a week (unless you find yourself staying up late one night because you can't stop!).

Why did I get this book?: Weirdly enough, the title, followed by the description.

Review: This book kept me up for two nights because I had to know to know how it ended. I had to know the answer to the two mysteries. Sort of literary thriller-ish, the story alternates between two women and two mysteries that tie together in the end.

My favorite character was Caroline, the early 20th-century American beauty who marries an Oklahoma rancher for love, and eventually ends up in England, reluctant matriarch to the Calcott family. I loved her and her mystery and I was desperate to learn the truth in her story; when I did, I gasped. It was perfect -- deliciously horrifying and wonderfully dramatic.

The other story follows Erica and Beth Calcott, Caroline's great-granddaughters, who inherit the family estate. It holds bad memories, both of their unfriendly grandmother and the mysterious disappearance of their cousin when they were children. Beth, who suffers from serious depression, is happy to retreat and hide while Erica is determined to shed light on that time.

There were moments when the story dragged for me, mostly during the contemporary sections, when it felt like Erica was spending a lot of time wandering and looking at things. I skimmed a bit, now and then (mostly during the wandering and looking), but for the most part, the story had me riveted and the writing style grabbed me. There's a little Gothic drama, some romance, and a lovely twisted mystery that totally surprised me.

This book would make a great book club pick -- it's dramatic and full of questionable life choices. I spent a night yammering to my wife about the twists and postulating on what I would have done (I'm not sure I would have done any better). Summer might be over but this is a great escapist read, appropriately moody for the fall, easily done in a week or so. Get it and have fun!

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I'm excited to offer a copy of The Legacy to one lucky reader! To enter, simply fill out this short form. Open to US/CA readers; closes 9/16. For another entry, be sure to comment on my forthcoming interview with Katherine Webb.


  1. It DOES sound like a really good pick for a book club. I've been reading a lot of family drama, lately which I traditionally haven't done.

  2. This has some family drama, but it's more mystery than, like, insidious parental secrets, so I loved the vibe -- it was dramatic without sort of soul-sucking, if that makes sense.

  3. I've had my eye on this one! Glad you liked it!

  4. I love the cover! Another I hadn't heard of before you came across it, this HAS to be added to the TBR. You're killing me, Audra.

  5. @Jenny: I think you'd really enjoy this one!

    @Jessie: I know, I feel so mean but it's hardly my fault such great books are coming out! ;) It's def worth adding to the TBR -- super engrossing!

  6. This is one that I wanted to get the chance to read before it came out, but the stars did not align to make that happen. It sounds very good, and like something I would enjoy though, so I have entered your giveaway, and am thinking about picking up my own copy if I am not a winner this time around. Thanks for the glowing and exciting review!

  7. The cover does throw me off a bit, but the premise sounds really interesting.

  8. All these great fall releases are doing a number on my TBR pile too! You're right about the cover seeming more appropriate for a Southern women's fiction book. It's nice but doesn't draw me in near as much as the synopsis and your review.

  9. This sounds so good! And it kept you up late, so that says a lot.

  10. This sounds like a great book! I like the cover!


  11. Sounds fantastic!! I am such a city girl but ironically I have really enjoyed books that take place in the mid west like Oklahoma, etc. (is that the midwest??)

  12. This is new one for me but it sounds good. I like the cover and the colours :)

  13. Sounds good, and I like a good family mystery. And reading about them always makes me wonder what is going on

  14. You had me at, "Did... I stay up late two nights in a row because I couldn't stop myself?"

    Books like that are what keep me reading. :)

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  15. I look forward to your interview with Katherine Webb. Thanks.

  16. I love reading interviews with the author of a book I'm interested in. It makes the read so much more exciting for me. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  17. I have been looking at this one for awhile now but wanted to see some reviews first - glad to hear it was awesome!

  18. It sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. I really like these books with the two parallel story lines and the mysteries that intertwine. Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. @Serena: I like them when I'm done with the book and everything is tied up but during my reading, sometimes it makes me want to scream! I just want to know!! ;)

  21. I'm really excited about reading this one. I'm hoping to work it in this month. I love your enthusiasm for it!

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already have a copy.

  22. I really want to read this one. The story seems really intriguing to me :)

  23. This has gotten good reviews and sounds like a great book. Woould really like to read this.