I’m a sucker for books with creepy houses, especially of the large and historic variety. So it was a no-brainer that I would pick Katherine Webb’s The Legacy up as it seemed in the vein of Kate Morton or Karen White.
Erica Calcott and her older sister Beth grew up under the stern eye of their grandmother at the imposing Storton Manor. Now that she’s died, they are surprised to find themselves the heirs to the estate, under the condition that they must live there to keep it. However, Beth is reluctant to return due to a family tragedy when they were young – their cousin Henry disappeared, possibly died, from Storton’s grounds. Emotionally fragile and depressed since then, she is coerced into going over and packing up grandmother’s belongings by Erica, who hopes that being there will allow Beth to come to terms with what happened and help Erica herself remember what she has forgotten.
Sadly, while a mildly interesting read, this book didn’t deliver on its promises. The dark family secret wasn’t so dark or exciting, yet neither Erica nor Beth had really recovered or developed since it occurred. They were both bland characters and I wasn’t emotionally invested in their situation, particularly with regards to Erica’s ridiculous pining after their childhood friend. However, there’s also a extended side plot about the secret baby that may or may not have belonged to their great-grandmother. I was significantly more enthralled with that thread than the modern story-line, despite the fact that I had guessed the climax accurately, and felt disappointed when the narrative switched from past to present.
If you’re looking for a light historical fiction read, this could be enjoyable. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly memorable among others of its type.