Benni's Reviews > The Legacy

The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter
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Oct 28, 10

bookshelves: first-reads, novels, mysteries
Read from October 20 to 28, 2010

Thanks to the publisher and goodreads for the free review copy.

The Legacy focuses on Julia, Ralph, and Ingrid, three (sometimes) close friends. When Ingrid disappears in New York after the events of 9/11, Julia heads to the Big Apple to investigate.

This book is an homage to The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James; Ingrid's situation mirrors in part Isabel's in Portrait. It's quite a high order for one's first novel to be inspired by a classic work, but the author's literary background certainly explains the aspiration.

The Legacy is sometimes too clever for its own good, particularly in the numerous literary and pop cultural references perhaps meant to serve as shorthand for evoking moods or feelings associated with those referenced works. That is not to say the author takes shortcuts; this novel is very luxuriously paced, with no sense of urgency.

Undoubtedly Ms. Tranter is a talented writer, and her descriptions are so vivid that I was present wherever Julia was. Nevertheless, an emotional disconnect forced me to distance myself. Yes, unrequited love can be romantic in its way, but all the pining described constituted the petulant sort. And for all the investigation that Julia conducts to find Ingrid, the journey is all about discovering Julia. That is not in itself an ignoble cause, except that we must care for Julia. I did not care enough for any of these people.

Three stars for the exquisite writing and admirable aspirations.
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Deborah Biancotti You've just summed up pretty much exactly how I feel about this book (halfway through). I feel so much better! ;)


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