Some books just grab me by the collar when I look at the cover, and that was what happened with The Legacy of Eden – though strangely when the book landed on my doormat the cover looks entirely different! I think the striking woman against the blue will appeal to a slightly younger audience than the golden house against the cornfields that appears on my cover.
In the opening paragraphs of the book an unknown voice is reliving a tragic event, an event that took place many years ago, an event in which a choice was made that has haunted them ever since:
“I have relived that night so many times. It is my burden to carry. Once I dared to believe that I was different from my family, that i was the one who did not fit. But, as my grandmother Lavinia, the catalyst for my family’s mottled history, once said, “Blood will out.”
Perhaps you would have made a different choice that night. If so, your heart would not be heavy with such deep regret. But then in order to do so yours would have to be a different story, a better history.
Mine is not. But then knowing who I am, who my family was, how could anyone have expected it to be anything else?”
From here we are introduced to Meredith Pincetti, the narrator of this tale, who was once a Hathaway, but has spent the last seventeen years trying to forget her family and forget her past. It is the death of her cousin, Caledon Hathaway Jr, that forces her to revisit her childhood home, the once prosperous farm estate known as Aurelia, and to uncover the family secrets that are imbibed in the walls of this now crumbling farm.
The Legacy of Eden is Nelle’s first novel and if this is a hint of things to come she has definitely made my ‘must watch author list’. From the opening line I was hooked, I wanted to learn more about the mysterious Aurelia. It’s so much more than just a farm, it’s almost living and breathing and it holds the key to so many of the family’s darkest secrets. I wanted to learn more about Lavinia Hathaway, the matriarch of this once-great family, a woman whose influence was often un-noticed but shaped the lives of those around her. And of course Meredith. I wanted to know what had happened on that dark night so many years ago that had prompted her to leave her family home far behind, flee to another city, and spend her nights haunted by the ghosts of her past.
Nelle really doesn’t disappoint with this family drama. I spent my time with this book immersed in Aurelia, sitting at the table alongside the Hathaway’s as I watched their history unfold before my eyes. Flinching as their secrets were revealed, and looking in awe and disbelief at Lavinia as I wondered how such a powerful woman could destroy the lives of a the family she claimed to hold so dear.
[cta]If you want to escape your own troubles for a while then I highly recommend you treat yourself to a copy of The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy.[/cta]
The Book Trib Scavenger Hunt
“I am a firm believer in what the eye doesn’t see, can’t be real. That was why, much to my mother’s deep disappointment, I became a lapsed Catholic.
But this time I flipped back the covers and stared. I drank it in. The photos had grown dull with age. The colors, which were once vibrant blues and reds, were now tinged with brown and mustard tones. I slipped my fingers across the pages, watching the people in them age, cut their hair and grow it out again. From over my shoulder, my father leaned down and stared at himself as a young man on his wedding day. The light behind my parents was a gray halo surrounding the cream steps of the New York City courthouse.
They had married in November, just before Thanksgiving, and you could see behind the tight smiles, as they stood outside in their flimsy suits and shirts, how cold they were.
“Phew, wasn’t your momma a dish?” he said.
And she was. She wore her hair in the same way she would continue to for the rest of her life: center part, long and down her back. A perpetual Ali McGraw.”
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