Title: The Legacy of Eden
Author: Nelle Davy
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Genre: Gothic Mystery
Source: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations
Rating: 4 out of 5
Meredith Pincetti has spent the last few years trying to forget everything to do with her past. But now, it has come back to haunt her. When she receives a letter from a lawyer stating her cousin, the caretaker of her family’s home, Aurelia, has died, it brings the past rushing back. Now, Meredith must return home to the place she once loved, a place that has so many bad memories, and face it once and for all.
The Legacy of Eden is a novel with a very gothic feel. Everything centers around the family’s home of Aurelia. It seems cursed, as though the house is wreaking revenge for the crimes of Lavinia Hathaway, Meredith’s grandmother. Lavinia was a strong matriarch, watching over her family and sidelining those she believed to be a threat to it. In many ways, the rest of the Hathaway family is still paying for Lavinia’s single-mindedness and strong will; she was the cause of her family’s destruction.
At the beginning of The Legacy of Eden, Meredith is the type of woman who is lost in a crowd. Unsure of herself, she is a simpering mess who seems to be cowering from the world. But as the novel progresses and Meredith returns to Aurelia, she begins to deal with the painful memories that have emotionally crippled her. While the journey isn’t as dramatic as one would hope, it’s clear that she is taking the first steps towards the healing process, towards coming to terms with her broken past.
The novel uses time jumps in order to flesh out the past while still telling Meredith’s story. Davy uses the technique well, and she brings Lavinia’s heyday to life. The novel retains its dark, gothic atmosphere from beginning to end. It makes for a close, almost uncomfortable read, as readers know that the story is heading somewhere tragic, and indeed, it would be hard to argue that the Hathaway family wasn’t cursed by the end of the novel.
Gothic novels set in the modern-day are difficult to find, so The Legacy of Eden was a treat. Davy paces the novel well, revealing key plot details in order to heighten suspense, so the reader stays interested from beginning to end. The character of Meredith leaves something to be desired, but overall, this novel is a gripping, atmospheric read that would make an interesting book club pick.