Thursday, April 14, 2011

Legacy by Jeanette Baker

Scotland. History. Suspense. A Family Curse. Time Travel. Legacy by Jeanette Baker has all of the individual elements that I love in a novel, and Baker was able to combine these elements into one fantastic story. And even better, it was a story that kept me awake when I was feeding my infant at night!

Christina Murray is a 38-year old American scholar on Scottish history. After her recent painful divorce, she is excited to discover that she is the heiress of Traquiar House, the oldest continuously habited house in Scotland. After she starts living in Traquiar House, strange things start to happen to Christina and she starts to remember past lives of the women who came before her at Traquiar House. These women look eerily like Christina and all carry shared traits that pass down the family curse.

Katrine is a lovely Jacobite supporter that falls in love with an Englishman. When Bonnie Prince Charlie returns to try to capture the throne, Katrine is torn between her family and her husband. Jeanne has a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, but after a tragedy takes the life of one of her children, her visions lead her to warn King James about the Battle of Flodden Field. These visions lead her to be accused of witchcraft. Mairi has a forbidden passion for King Edward Longshacks of England, but marries her childhood sweetheart David. After Mairi allows Edward to take Scotland’s Stone of Destiny, Mairi’s fate is sealed and a curse is cast on her and all her descendents. All of these women have a ravaging beauty and a tragic history, will Christina be able to lift the curse and find true love?

Legacy is a real page turner and a great story. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Green Darkness by Anya Seton. If you like The Green Darkness, you will really enjoy Legacy. I loved the modern day characters of Christina and her handsome neighbor Ian. I wanted Christina to discover the cause of the curse and to lift it. It was fascinating each time she had a flash to the past and the story continued to build to a great conclusion.

I was a bit thrown by one character though (who shall remain nameless to not spoil it for others) who seemed like a kind person at first, but suddenly became a really evil character. I don’t know what I missed –but it threw me for a loop!

Legacy is part of the Casablanca Classics – classic romance novels that have sadly gone out of print that Sourcebooks is bringing back out for a new generation. I am glad they are doing this as I’ve discovered some great new authors and novels!

Overall Legacy is a wonderful novel full of romance, mystery, and a family curse that will leave you reading way too long into the night.

Legacy is based on fictional characters in a historical setting at a real historical home. I’m counting it as my seventh item in the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.

Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!


  1. I read two time travel sort of books (the last one Tracy Chevalier's The Virgin Blue) and loved them. That was an American woman with French ancestors! and set in rural France to add to the mystery. This sounds another good one. I like the opening line of your post very much. precise and intriguing.

  2. Thanks Mystica! I love The Virgin Blue also. I read it about three years ago . . . when I was nursing my middle child. There must be something about these kinds of novels and nursing! I had a quick review of it at:

    The Virgin Blue did have a similar premise to Legacy, but in France. I really enjoyed The Virgin Blue historical story, but I like the modern day story of Legacy better than I did the modern day story in The Virgin Blue (if that makes sense . . . I feel like I'm rambling!).

  3. Awesome review!! I'm going to have to look into this one. I hadn't seen it before.

  4. Thanks for this review, Laura! I will definitely add this one to my list. You are right -- Sourcebooks Casablanca are bringing back the books of Jan Cox Speas, and she's another very good writer that a new generation should be introduced to.