Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

After inheriting Storton Manor from their grandmother, sisters Erica and Beth Calcott go back to a place that has haunted them since the day of the disappearance of a friend years ago. In poking through some things, she finds a photo of her great grandmother Caroline with a baby -- one which surely must have been born before Caroline's known marriage.

In a parallel story covering the early part of the 20th century, we learn that Caroline, a woman from New York, married an Oklahoma rancher, and traveled west to meet him and live. We learn of the trials and tragedies of the short time she spent out west before she left the area and what prompted her to hide that part of her life from her descendants.

I really enjoyed the Oklahoma portion of the novel far more than the contemporary portion and would have liked to have seen it be the star of its own novel. The contemporary sections were not as engaging, and the manner in which they were presented sometimes made it hard to determine if it was 20 years ago or present-day since the characters involved were the same. It is also clear that there were repercussions of Caroline's past in the manner in which she treated those around her, including her own daughter. As a genealogist, I was also disappointed that Erica, as she began her search, did not try to research American records to determine if there had been a previous marriage and to see where this might have taken her. There were certainly enough clues interspersed throughout the narrative that would have led me to several sources which would likely have told more of Caroline's story for her descendants. I certainly appreciated Erica's consulting with a relative who had done some family history research, but it was clear that the author did not seem to understand genealogical problem solving.

Recommended for persons who can appreciate the historical aspects of the story without being too disappointed in the disjointed nature of the contemporary story. This review is based on an Advance Readers Copy of the book offered by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. 3 stars.

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