Kari Anderson's Reviews > The Legacy of Eden

The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy
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Mar 28, 12

Read from January 18 to 24, 2012

From Goodreads.com:
For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway’s dream to elevate the family name – no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways – and the once prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died – alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia’s youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family’s once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family… and her own part in their mottled history.


If you have ever know a family with such a rich and rooted history on their land that they are willing to do anything necessary to keep their name a prominent one, then you know the family that began and ended at Aurelia. I can’t say that I want the trouble that came with this beautiful property, but I have certainly dreamt of a large, beautiful house on hundreds of acres of farm land with nothing but country roads and what my family has made of it. Now that I have read this book, I’m not so sure it sounds as appealing.

Meredith tells this story through several generations, starting when her grandmother is young and bringing us to the present day. Meredith recounts the parts of her childhood spent on the property that has so much history and is such a pride and joy for the family. But the older she gets, the more she realizes it’s not the place she thought it was. It isn’t the place that brings everyone together, but the place the eventually tears everyone apart. And because of that, she has no desire to go back. The parts of the story that Meredith wasn’t there for are told through stories that her grandmother told her on her death bed. These stories aren’t all babies and bundt cakes. There is heartache, pain, death, alcoholism, abuse, incest ….must I go on?

There are some stories that we read that make us thankful for the people in our lives. This is one of those books. My heart ached for what this family went through to keep it together, even it was just a facade. But pain wasn’t my only feeling for them. I also felt a bit of pride that resonated deep in these family members and spilled out onto the pages. And that pride started with the matriach of the family, Lavinia Hathaway. She had to work hard to climb the ladder to get where she ended. No matter what happened in the family, from fights to deaths, she held it together and was such a strong woman. I am a bit on the emotional side, polar opposites from Ms. Lavinia. But she had a strength that is something to aspire to have even an ounce of.

And although is diminished, drastically, by the time everyone was grown and Lavinia passed and couldn’t hold the family together anymore, at one time, Aurelia was the place to be. It was a place of stunning beauty, a place everyone knew was there, but few had seen. The entire family, at one point in their life or another, felt a pride for Aurelia that nothing could overcome. Even if they left, for a short or long period of time, something drew them back. Unfortunately, like most shiny, beautiful things, the pride faded and this story is the tragic tale of a family torn to shreds. But in a way, it was beautiful.

When you read this review, you may see words like tragic and heartache and wonder if you really want to put yourself through reading this book. But I hope that you also remember the word beautiful. Pain is beauty, right ladies? I couldn’t put this book down. I knew from jumps from the past to the present where the story began and ended, but I yearned for that middle part and couldn’t get enough.

I give The Legacy of Eden 5 bookmarks.

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Reading Progress

01/22/2012 page 241
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