Release Date: August 30, 2011
Caroline grew up orphaned and unloved in her Aunt Bathilda’s household, but she had all the privileges and luxuries early 1900s New York City offered. She was expected to marry money and position. When she married Corin Massey instead, her aunt refused to announce the wedding much less attend it. Corin Massey was a rancher from the Oklahoma Territory, and the life to which he brought Caroline was as far from high society as the moon.
But Corin Massey loved Caroline. He and everyone else on his ranch treated her patiently and kindly. If only it weren’t so hot and dry. If only the land weren’t so vast and impersonal. Caroline’s efforts to fit in just didn’t work. Neither did her efforts to have a baby with the man she adored. The ranch’s Ponca Indian family had a baby so easily while Caroline grew thinner and drier and sadder . . .
A century later, on an English estate, Erica and Beth Calcott deal with the consequences of what happened in Oklahoma, with the choices made by a grief-maddened great-grandmother, and they don’t even know it. They only see the effects on their grandmother, Meredith; their cousin, Henry Calcott; and their one-time friend Dinny, son of a family of travelers. Erica and Beth have their own puzzles to solve, their own horrors to face, and only Erica, the younger of the sisters, has the courage to unravel and face what needs bringing to light, even if it means destroying her chance of love and happiness. For her sister’s sake, she’ll do whatever has to be done.
The Legacy is British author Katherine Webb’s debut, a novel of love, loss, and betrayal—jaw-dropping betrayals of kindness and trust, committed a century apart for quite different reasons. Erica is the more impulsive, even reckless, in her determination to remember what happened to eleven-year-old Henry during the summer when she was eight and Beth and Dinny twelve. She almost can remember, but pieces won’t lay the mystery to rest. In spite of Dinny’s and Beth’s warnings to stop trying to remember, Erica barges ahead in search of the whole story.
Perhaps only in novels are characters doomed to repeat their ancestors’ mistakes. But truth is always stranger than fiction, and everything is connected. Every action and person, every cause and effect. I loved this novel and these characters. They came alive with details, action and dialogue. I wanted to shake Caroline—I wanted to take care of her. While Erica could’ve used a good shaking sometimes, I always felt she’d be okay. And I knew if anyone could help Beth’s depression, born in that summer when Henry disappeared, Erica was the one. The pacing was near-perfect as I strained with her toward her total recall.
The conclusion—haunting, cruel, and quietly triumphant—left nothing more to be desired.