Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy (Book Review)

Title: The Legacy of Eden
Author: Nelle Davy
Publisher: MIRA Books

About the Book:  "To understand what it meant to be a Hathaway you'd first have to see Aurelia."

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.

My thoughts:  Lavinia is the matriarch of the Hathaway family and she is bound and determined to create a legacy of land and family even if it costs her members of that family.  Her own rise to matriarch is made with calculation and scandal, but once ensconsed there, she plans on staying there.

The story goes back three generations, well really four generations, but the "family" and Aurelia begins when Lavinia marries Cal.  They take over running the farm, with Cal's sister, Piper, and begin it's prosperous rise.  Leo, Cal's other brother, upset over the way the inheritance from their father played out, has left - to never look back.  This is just the beginning of those who choose to leave, or are sent away.

Lavinia fears no one when it comes to making decisions for what she feels is best for her family.  With manipulation and cunning, she sets out to rid herself of any opposition, be it blood relation or otherwise. 

The story is told by Meredith, and it was confusing for me to follow in the beginning.  It would jump back and forth from how she heard the story, whether from her father when she was still in the womb, or from her grandmother as she lay dying, or from her own experiences. I eventually made myself a family tree so that I could keep the branches straight.

When Cal Jr. dies, the lawyers begin to look for surviving members of the Hathaway family.  Finally finding Meredith, she eventually feels she should return to Aurelia, just for those items that were her parents'.  She does not want to go, as she doesn't want to awaken any more ghosts from her past than she already has.  But go she does only to find another sister felt compelled to return as well. 

This is one of those books that needs to ruminate awhile to get the full effect. I am sure that if I were to write a review a week from now, there would be different aspects to the story that would have surfaced.  There is so much said between the lines that I think this would be a great book for a book club to discuss. 

Now, having said all that, I found the setting of Iowa a little strange.  I grew up in Iowa from 1966 - 1986, in a farming community, and I never knew of any farmer who named their farm, or went to such lengths, in a way that Lavinia did.  Maybe that was the point though. . .

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Meryl L. Moss Media in exchange for my unbiased review.~

There is currently a scavenger hunt going on for excerpts of The Legacy of Eden.  You can find all the information here.  Please come back and visit me on the 18th, when I will have my own excerpt posted here!

The Legacy of Eden
Publisher/Publication Date: MIRA Books, Feb 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2955-8
368 pages

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1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Since the book needs to ruminate a while, it would probably make a great book club read.


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