William Shakespeare wrote, “What’s past is prologue,” and so it is with sisters Ericka and Beth as they spend a Christmas break together in the family’s manor house bequeathed to them — with strings attached. The manor has been with the family for generations, finally becoming home to their Aunt Meredith, who seemed to care little for the sisters and harbored a deep seated anger for unknown reasons.
Set upon acres in the English town of Wiltshire, the manor shares its space with a band of gypsies who come and go, but call the area their own. The small portion of the land was given to them in perpetuity because the father of the clan fought beside and saved the life of the landowner. This situation causes no small amount distress for Meredith, and she forbids her nieces and their cousin Henry to go near them. When Henry suddenly disappears and is not found again, the gypsies are blamed, but proof of their complicity is never uncovered. It is under this cloud that Ericka and Beth return. Beth suffers bouts of depression, and Ericka hopes that this trip might help uncover the truth of the past and help her recover. During the course of their stay, Ericka discovers an old chest in the attic filled with letters and memorabilia of her great-grandmother Caroline. It is through these artifacts that she discovers shocking truths from the past — truths that will become her legacy, and maybe define her future.
The Legacy is a deeply moving and suspenseful look at how misfortune and misdeeds can reach across generations, shaping those who follow.
William Morrow/HarperCollins; ISBN 978-0-06207-730-1; $14.99.