Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy

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 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 in Aurelia, Meridith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family, and her own part in their mottled history.

Meredith has created her own life, without a past. She's changed her name and the way she lives. She wants to forget it all, but that is hard to do when she receives a letter from a lawyer. She calls her sister but she is shocked and angry that Meredith is even contemplating calling the law firm. But Meredith isn't finished with her past and so she calls. The law firm is willing to sell the property and the land but they want someone in the family to come and inventory - see if they want anything. Meredith is that person and she agrees. But as she comes to that revelation, she begins to see the ghosts of her ancestors and speaks to them. Is she going crazy or is she coming to her own self-realization?

Her memories take the reader back into the past of Ann Marie Parks, who would later become Meredith's grandmother. Ann Marie is a cold woman but she has a reason for everything she does, and her actions have dire consequences. The reader begins to become acquainted with the family; her grandfather Cal, her sisters Claudia and Ava, her Aunt Piper and Julia. The farm, once golden, is harboring deep dark secrets and Meredith slowing reveals them, and the part she played in them.

The Legacy to Eden is a mixture of an epic family saga and a gothic mystery, with tendrils of shadow looming waiting for the reader to open the drapes and let the sunshine in to reveal the secrets. The characters are all diverse and Davy does an impeccable job of slowing peeling back the layers of each one to give more clarity to the reader. I found myself immersed in their world and turning the pages, wanting to know more. A highly recommended read!

Nelle Davy was raised in London, England, in an Afro-Caribbean household. She is an undergraduate of Warwick University and has a master's degree from Trinity College Dublin in creative writing. She is married and still lives in London, where she works in publishing. The Legacy of Eden is her first novel.

*Don't miss your chance to participate in the Hathaway History Scavenger Hunt! Minding Spot will be a stop on February 10th!  All Participating blogs can be found here.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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