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The Hidden Legacy: A Dark and Shocking…
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The Hidden Legacy: A Dark and Shocking Psychological Drama

by G. J. Minett

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This book has the feel of a classic, something quiet and remarkable about it. I am impressed it is G. J. Minett's debut. The opening is one of the best I have read, shocking incident that lays the foundation for the book.

Ellen is the main character and a strong willed one, I respected and really enjoyed. She is told a beautiful cottage has been given to her from the will of a lady she has never heard of. Ellen begins the journey of trying to find out why while we read and slowly discover the hidden legacy right to the end.

Ellen's mom has Alzheimer disease and is unable to answer Ellen's questions. She goes into the unknown with her best friend Kate which made the journey more believable.

The story was told by different time periods and multiple characters, mostly from the current 2008, 1974, 1966 when the intro incident occurred etc, I found this at times to be a little puzzling but it did still move the story along. I enjoyed all of the characters, even disliking the reporter, but he was still a great character. The intricate details of a will and the secrets numerous characters wanted to understand and be revealed was the essence of this beautiful mystery.

But it's the lack of detail that's the problem. He's at that stage in life where he doesn't want mysteries any more - what he wants is answers. Kindle 66%

I prefer more seating on the edge of my seat thrillers, but this mystery you had to take your time and cherish the moments. If you enjoy historical novels and mysteries, I highly recommend this one to you. ( )
  marcejewels | Jan 8, 2017 |
recommended by Moira at Clothes in Books blog
  sarahemmm | May 9, 2016 |
1966 John Michael Adams becomes “Every Parent’s Nightmare” following a shocking attack on two young girls.

1974 Peter Vaughan makes a trip which will have life changing consequences for all concerned.

2008 Ellen Harrison receives a letter informing her she’s been bequeathed in Eudora Nash’s will, a woman she has never heard of.

The book pursues these alternating story strands until the dramatic end, with the only initial link being the shady journalist Frank O’Hallaran.

This book draws you in from the first page and keeps you hooked until the last heart stopping gasp at the end. As the stories unravel, they raise as many questions as they answer so that just when you think you’ve grasped the link, another spanner is thrown in the works that puts you back to square one.

The story is well told, the characters believable and despite the horror of some of the actions, they are also sympathetically drawn with a balanced portrayal of their actions. The description page turner is often over used, but for me this was definitely true and if this is a debut novel then I’m already looking forward to the next one.

I happily recommend this book, it has everything, drama, mystery, secrets, lies and tension by the bucketful.

I received an advanced review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
( )
  Jilldoyle | Mar 27, 2016 |
This is a tale which has been done before - many times. Ellen receives a letter, out of the blue, from a solicitor, telling her she has been left something in a will. Who and why? It started OK, it was easy to read and engrossing but there then followed too many backwards and forwards, making it a confusing read on a kindle. This would work better as a physical book and the reader could flick back easily. On the whole an intriguing, atmospheric story, one with plenty of secrets - a great debut novel and I look forward to the 2nd. ( )
  boudicca123 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Secrets. All families have them.

If you could choose, would you want to know your family secrets? Or would you rather seal any hints in a box you never open? This is Ellen's dilemma.

-- What's it about? --

Mother of two, recently divorced Ellen Sutherland is stunned when she's left a valuable Cotswold cottage in a will. Who was Eudora Nash? Why would someone Ellen has never heard of choose to leave her anything, let alone her home? Ellen's family background has always contained some blanks, things her mother refused to discuss; now her mother is living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia, and Ellen has a chance to find out the secrets that have been hidden from her all her life. But does she really want to know? After all, once you know something, you can't unknow it.

But Ellen isn't our only protagonist. In 1966 John Michael Adams walked into a school playground and set fire to two teenage girls. One died. The media decided he was evil personified and hounded him relentlessly (think of the treatment meted out to Thompson and Venables). One journalist in particular thinks he can play God, but there are consequences he didn't anticipate when he tried to open old wounds years after the event.

-- What's it like? --

Quietly engrossing. There's a dramatic opening chapter, in which we witness John Michael Adams' shocking act, without being privvy to his motivation. The closing moments of this chapter are stunning - it's not surprising to learn that it won a competition - and this act hangs over the entire book in much the same way it hangs over the lives of the characters involved: ever present and in constant danger of stifling all hope of better things.

Minett writes in some detail about moments that don't necessarily contribute to the plot and, while I quite liked these little domestic flourishes, I can think of some readers who would lose patience. If that's you, you might not like the gently evolving denouement either. I did, and felt the whole book was a snuggle-up-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-some-biscuits-and-a-blanket type affair.

From chapter two onwards we primarily follow Ellen's perspective, which, given her steady and thoughtful character, creates quite a sedate pace for a book billed as a domestic thriller. Don't mistake me; this is subtly, quietly gripping, and I read the whole book in a matter of days, often staying up far too late to read 'just one more chapter', it just doesn't 'fit' in my mind with other so-called domestic thrillers (I'm thinking primarily of 'Gone Girl' and 'Before I go to Sleep'). This is possibly because the danger Ellen courts is external - essentially, it's the attention of the media and narrow-minded neighbours - and internal - her own peace of mind, sense of self and ordered existence - rather than 'domestic' (after all, she's already ditched the useless hubby, and he's more likely to forget to water her plants than set her up for murder). Furthermore, rather than the huge sudden shock twists you might find in that genre, almost everything here is well signposted or very guessable and so you discover the connections slightly ahead of Ellen, allowing you to focus on her response rather than your own.

-- What's to like? --

I really enjoyed following events from Ellen's perspective. She's a clever, in control woman who sees through tricksters and manipulates them just enough to gain the information she needs. Her relationships with her children, best friend and co-workers are all convincingly realised and developed with what I thought was just the right amount of detail.

The central concepts are fascinating: would you want to know all your family's secrets? How do you respond to a man who murdered a child when he was a child himself? In the latter case, Minett gradually feeds the reader information that encourages us to recognise the pressures acting on JMA as a young teenager, but there's no way to escape that initial, terrible act. How, then, do you ever move forwards?

I cannot emphasise how much I appreciated the fact that there's no romantic angle here. Instead of attempting to shoehorn a fledgling romance into what is primarily a journey of self-discovery, Minett is content to show us Ellen interacting with her children, her ex-husband (and no, she isn't still pining over him) and her best friend. I love that this is a portrayal of a genuinely independent modern woman and wish there were more authors willing to resist the lure of bunging a bonus romance into any book featuring a single woman.

-- Final thoughts --

This is a great story of a personal journey featuring an intelligent, capable and likeable protagonist. There's drama that keeps you gripped but it's never over-the-top or ridiculous, the story centres on intriguing and difficult questions without generalising or sermonising, and the ending leaves plenty to think about. Don't be swayed by the domestic thriller label into expecting a heroine who'll suddenly start breaking into houses or risk being murdered by her nearest and dearest; do read it if you like the idea of secrets gradually revealed (the comparison to Lianne Moriarty is apt) and lives irrevocably changed; it's beautifully handled and enjoyable to read.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  brokenangelkisses | Oct 26, 2015 |
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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 ...Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she's invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman's will, she's far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile. 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.… (more)

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