Monday, December 25, 2023

The Heiress

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins
1/9/24; 304 pages
St. Martin's Press

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins is a very highly recommended mystery with Gothic overtones and oh-so-many secrets.

Jules and Camden McTavish met and married in California and are now happily living a simple life in Colorado where he is an English Teacher and she is working in a living history museum. When his uncle dies an email from his cousin brings Camden and Jules back to his mother's estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Ashby House. Camden was the sole heir to his mother's fortune, so he owns the estate and has control of all the money, something his great aunt and cousins resent. Camden's mother, Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore had quite a background. She was kidnapped as a child and then a widow four times. It has been ten years since Camden left and now he and Jules are back in the mire of secrets, resentment, greed, and, perhaps, danger.

The writing is skillful and perfectly paced to hold your attention throughout this mystery/psychological thriller. The narrative unfolds through chapters from the three distinct points-of-view of Camden, Jules, and Ruby. Camden knows the scheming and animosity that awaits his return to Ashby House. Jules is secretly anxious for them to live an easier life in a beautiful setting. Ruby's story is told through letters she is writing to someone in which she is honestly sharing her life's story, as well as clips from news stories.  Hawkins does an excellent job using the multiple viewpoints to propel the plot forward as well as tell the backstory.

The characters are well drawn and interesting. Camden and Jules are sympathetic, but they have their secrets along with everyone else. Everyone has their own secrets, thoughts, and schemes that could potentially change everything. The whole McTavish gang at Ashby House are despicable, entitled, and greedy. You will wonder why Camden doesn't just evict them. And there are so many little twists, questions, and secrets from the past that have accumulated, many of which are shared in the honest and sometimes humorous letters Ruby writes. The letters work with the current situation to help create the tension that rises with each page. The ending is surprising, inventive, and perfect. 4.5 rounded up

Disclosure: My complimentary review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Opinions expressed are my own.

No comments: