Release Date: January 24, 2012
Softcover Edition; 400 Pages
Source: Review Copy from Kate @ Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.
4 / 5 Stars
For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name - no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways - and the once prosperous farm.
Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died - alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.
Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family... and her own part in their mottled history.
The Legacy of Eden is one of those books where you have to be curious enough about the destruction of a family and waiting patiently to discover the reasons for it, as you learn about the lives of various generations of the Hathaway family who have grown up on Aurelia. It's kind of a morbid fascination really, as you read with this feeling of impending doom as well as this feeling of intrusion into a family's personal affairs, kind of like taking a peak into the medicine cabinet or looking through someone's drawers because you can't help yourself, simply because you need to know what really happened. And as the reasons and answers are slowly revealed, you just want to discover more, and keep snooping. Shameful, really, but you can't help yourself.
The story is told through the eyes of Meredith Hathaway, the grand-daughter, and its her perceptions and feelings that you feel throughout the novel as it's narrated to you. While somewhat slow at times, and very descriptive in nature, for me, I found the hindsight reflections to be quite interesting as we always tend to look back at events and wonder how things would have turned out if we had done just that one thing somewhat differently. The story is rather easy to follow as it's written chronologically, with some jumps back and forth in time to the present, but they were done rather well and didn't interrupt the flow of the novel. I can't say that any one of the characters were my favourite as I found most of them unpleasant at times, but their stories and their lives were very compelling and I was drawn to the story nonetheless. What didn't matter to me is who came out in the winner's seat at the end.
Lavinia is by far the most interesting character in this novel though, and even though she herself makes a reference to 'snakes' in her house, it's by that metaphor as to how I perceive her myself. She reminds me of snake, someone who is manipulative, vindictive, and just waits to strike at the ideal moment, destroying everything around her. I read her machinations with interest, and with dread, knowing what was going to happen, knowing that she was going to destroy everything she had built up simply through her own manipulations. The carefully crafted narrative certainly does credit to the build-up of tension that surrounds Lavinia and the downfall that is surely going to happen. While this story is not a happy story, there is still a compelling element to it that makes you want to continue reading.
The Legacy of Eden the story of several generations caught up in a web of deceitful lies, secrets, manipulations, jealousy, anger, and forgiveness. With a compelling storyline, and a host of intriguing characters, it's the story of a family shaped by the machinations of a woman who wants it all, but in the midst of trying to keep it all, she manages to destroy everything and everyone around her. As the story was told through Meredith's eyes, you do have to wonder at the truth behind they story you are given, and I would very much like to know Lavinia's side of the story. The Legacy of Eden is a compelling read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys novels about family legacies and the secrets that can destroy.
Giveaway: I have one (1) copy of The Legacy of Eden to give away to one lucky reader.
1) Open to US/ Canada only.
2) Contest ends 08 March 2012.
3) Comment on this post with your email address in order to be entered.
“I’m going back to the farm. To sell it, to take what’s left of your stuff and hock it at the nearest flea market.”
“Oh, Meredith.” She sighed. “You’ll have to do better than that. Have you learned nothing? In terms of revenge we both know you can do so much more.”
I shook my head and rubbed the heels of my hands into my eyes until the light grew red.
“You’re not here,” I said again, but even so I could feel the light pressure of her hand on my wrist.
“Neither are you,” she whispered.
I opened my eyes and lifted my head. There: the fields on fields of cereals and golden-eared corn from my memory, from my dreams. They lay before me, an ocean of land, the colors all seeping out in a filter of gray.
Exasperated, I finally asked her the question I knew she had been longing for. “Why are you even here?”“Darling.” She chortled, suddenly filled with unexpected warmth. The silk of her green dress grazed past my arm as she came to stand beside me. “We never left.”