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21 November 2015

Review: 'The Hidden Legacy' by G.J. Minett (2015)

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why…

Bearing the scars of a recent divorce - and the splatters of two young children - Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she's invited to travel all the way out to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman's will, she can barely be bothered to make the journey.

But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage, worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There's just one problem - Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash. 

Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past…

Two years ago I read my first Diane Chamberlain novel, 'Necessary Lies' (click here to read my review) and it really made quite an impression. So whenever I see a novel that is being advertised as 'perfect for fans of Diane Chamberlain', I find that enough reason to give the book a chance. This also happened when I was contacted about 'The Hidden Legacy' by G.J. Minett. The e-book version of the book was published by Twenty7 on November 5th and the description of the story straight away intrigued me. To add to this, the book also won the 2010 Chapter One Prize for unpublished novels, so there was enough to have me interested and I couldn't wait to check out the book for myself!

Ellen Sutherland has enough to deal with in her life now she's a newly-divorced mother of two with a full-time job. When she, completely out of the blue, inherits a lovely cottage in the countryside from a woman named Eudora Nash, someone she has never met or even heard of, Ellen can't help but think it must be a joke. It doesn't take long, though, for Ellen to realise it is anything but, and with the help of her best friend Kate she tries to discover where the inheritance came from and why she is somehow linked to this old woman she didn't even know existed. It quickly appears that there's a red line leading her back to certain things that happened in the 1960s and Ellen comes to realise there is much more to her past than she initially thought.

I completely understand why this novel won the 2010 Chapter One Prize for unpublished novels, because the first few chapters of this book are some of the best I've read. I love the feeling when you start reading a novel and you're just so gripped by it and can't wait to turn to the next page, to read the next chapter, and that was definitely the case with 'The Hidden Legacy.' I was straight away intrigued by Ellen, this mysterious inheritance, and how all of this would link to the 1960s playground murder which the book opens with. I really enjoy time slip novels and figuring out how different time periods are connected and this book just kept me guessing and guessing, right until the last few chapters.

The chapters in the book are quite long and divided into separate parts, told from different points of view. We mainly see things from the perspective of protagonist Ellen, but we are also given the chance to climb into the minds of other characters. The author took their time telling the story, providing the reader with in-depth characters and a convincing atmosphere, but at the same time this also resulted in the story slowing down quite a bit in certain places. However, overall I think this is a fantastic debut novel and I'm already curious to read the next one. 'The Hidden Legacy' is a really intriguing, suspenseful, well-written debut novel that deals with topics such as secrets, family, and trust; a read that took over my life while I was reading it and one that comes highly recommended!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I think this one is right up there in my favourite reads of the year - so well plotted with all those secrets!