Title: The Legacy of Eden
Author: Nelle Davy
Publication Date: 31 January 2012
Format: E-Book - EPUB
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC from NetGalley
For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name - no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways - and the once prosperous farm.
Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died - alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.
Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family... and her own part in their mottled history. (Goodreads Synopsis)
This was a really enjoyable read. I was drawn in by the characters right from the turn of the first page and I found the story compelling. I worked out the 'crux' of the story fairly early on, but I don't think the author intended to hide it as this was a piece about characters and seeing how their actions and decisions lead them to their ends.
The book features a fairly large cast of characters but all came across well, showing growth and change as the tale progressed. The house itself is almost a character too with a life of its own and that worked really well in holding the story together.
The book is constantly jumping from past to present, from actual events to remembered accounts. In the hands of some writers this would be problematic, but Nelle Davy handles it well and I never found myself confused or unable to keep up with the timeline.
Although this book does not have the major impact of similarly schemed stories (such as the recent Ghost on Black Mountain), it is a good, well written piece and is more than worth investing your time in. Recommended for readers of literary fiction who like thought-provoking family dramas.