Gosh, rich families have a lot of baggage – “The Legacy” by Katherine Webb

December 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm 3 comments

English: Manor Hotel, York Looking down from c...

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“The Legacy” Katherine Webb, Published in 2011

This one was a little tough.  After about 80 pages (yeah, I am serious) it does start to pick up and makes for somewhat interesting story.  But, I wouldn’t suggest moving this to the top of your list or anything.  If you want a heartbreaking family story with a little bit of mystery and intrigue I am pretty sure you can find one elsewhere that is much better.

There are two stories that weave in and out of each other in this novel. The first takes place at the turn of the century (1902) and follows the story of Caroline, who leaves her stodgy life with her aunt to marry a man who owns a ranch out West.  Caroline finds her new life on a ranch quite different from her life in New York City – I believe this is mainly because she has no one to dress her and it gets pretty lonely on the range (where is Deadwood when you need it?).

The second story is set in the present and focuses on two sisters.  After their grandmother’s death, Erica and Beth Calcott have returned to her large English Country Estate, Storton Manor.  The Manor is their inheritance (their legacy if they will)  if they both live there together as their grandmother’s will requires. Erica and Beth are both stuck in a rut in their lives – Erica has no permanent job or place to live and Beth suffers from severe depression.  All of this seems to stem from the summer 25 years before when they were staying at Storton Manor and their cousin Henry suddenly disappeared.  Erica believes if she can only piece together what happened she can help Beth, and maybe herself, start over. But as she tries to solve that mystery she finds herself trying to figure out why her grandmother and her great-grandmother were such tough women.  It does not seem to cross her mind that sometimes old people can just be cranky.

Webb tries to address issues of generations, customs, expectations, depression, racism, as well as relationships between women in families.  There is a heavy focus on how our ancestors and our past both define who we become – this is our legacy to face or avoid. It is a lot to tackle and I think it makes the novel a bit awkward and way too long.  And while I think Webb is trying very hard to paint her women characters with depth, frankly I just didn’t like any of them and was less invested than the long story requires. The mysteries of both Caroline’s life and Erica and Beth’s fateful summer are not really that compelling and since I was already not really invested I thought “eh, okay” while I feel like Webb was yelling “Surprise!!!”

All of that said, if anyone, including family members, would like to go ahead and bequeath me an English country estate, I am all in.

For other reviews please check out (please note, most reviewers liked this book a lot more than me): 

Life in Review: “The Legacy” by Katherine Webb by Life in Review

Review: The Legacy by Katherine Webb by Cafe of Dreams Book Reviews

Review- The Legacy by Katherine Webb by Novelicious


Entry filed under: December 2011 reads. Tags: , , , .

“There are still so many stories to be told” – “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann I always knew Wickham was bad news – “Death Comes to Pemberley” by P.D. James

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nella  |  December 19, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for this review – I also wouldn’t mind inheriting an estate (although they are terrible expensive to run).

  • 2. Emily C  |  December 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    So I guess with my request for the bequeathing of the manor I should also request the money to run my country manor as well.

  • 3. The Summer Reading Finale | Reading Through the BS  |  September 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    […] sounds absolutely cheesy but it is definitely worth the read.  I did not love Webb’s book “The Legacy” but in this book I feel like she has found a great story that showcases her writing […]


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