Saturday, March 10, 2012

(31)Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy

The Legacy of Eden
by Nelle Davy

Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Pages: 400

I recently read a book (review is forthcoming) that is partially set in my "home" state of Iowa and it left me longing for "home".  And admittedly, I grabbed The Legacy of Eden because it was set on a farm in Iowa, which is exactly where my roots lie.  The difference between the two books could not be more vast.

The Legacy of Eden is a dark, dark book about the Hathaway family.   In the present day Meredith receives notice that the last remaining Hathaway family member has passed away and she must return to Iowa to settle the estate and sell the farm.   Returning to Iowa risks opening up so many old wounds and memories, yet Meredith knows she must go.   It is through the flashbacks of her memories that we learn the story of Meredith's Grandfather, Cal and how he came to return to Aurelia and be married to Meredith's Grandma, Lavinia.   As the story goes on we learn to realize that life at Aurelia is anything but ideal. The family secrets involve alcoholism, physical abuse, mental illness and a secret so dark that it sent Meredith away with no desire to ever return to Aurelia.

But now she must return and settle the family estate.  Will she be able to work through the memories and heal the relationships with what family she has left or is she only going to stir up more hurt?

Like I said, The Legacy of Eden is a very dark, Gothic kind of book. Of all the characters, the only one that I even remotely liked was Meredith.  She was such a sweet, kind girl, living in what she thought was the idyllic childhood on the family farm, but the older she got the more she became disillusioned with the generations of dysfunction that surrounds her.  With each passing page you could see it in her thoughts and the words on the pages.  It is almost heartbreaking to read.

It is a very rare family that has no secrets or some level of dysfunction.  But poor Meredith and her family take it to a whole new level.  The author has done a great job of spinning a generational tale that captivates you.  There is a readers guide along with the story with some very discussion provoking questions.      All that dysfunction would make for a great book club discussion, no?


Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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