The Legacy by Katherine Webb

The Legacy
Katherine Webb

Harper Paperbacks
Pub Date:

Following the death of their grandmother,Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, a grand and imposinghouse in Wiltshire, England, where they spent their summer holidays aschildren. When Erica begins to sort through her grandmother’s belongings, sheis flooded with memories of her childhood—and of her cousin, Henry, whosedisappearance from the manor tore the family apart.

Erica sets out to discover what happened toHenry—so that the past can be laid to rest, and her sister, Beth, might finallyfind some peace. Gradually, as Erica begins to sift through remnants of thepast, a secret family history emerges: one that stretches all the way back toOklahoma in the 1900s, to a beautiful society heiress and a haunting, savageland. As past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with twoterrible acts of betrayal—and the heartbreaking legacy left behind.


The prologue in 1905 sets the scene on thistotally absorbing journey of how the past can send ripples along time in afamily to affect the present.  It hooksyou in straight away with intrigue, leaving you wanting to find out why this ishappening and what bearing it has on the story of four generations of Calcottwomen.

Erica and sister Beth return to StortonManor in the winter after the death of their grandmother Meredith.  Meredith has set terms for their inheritanceof the Manor – they have to live there to inherit.  We find out straight away that there are memories that Erica cannot recall surrounding the disappearance of their cousin, Henry.  We find out that Beth is mentally unwell andhad been hospitalised.  It is the firsttime they’ve stayed at the Manor without their parents and everything is in astate of disrepair and neglect.

We then return to 1902 in New York City,following Caroline (who is great grandmother to Erica and Beth) as she startsher journey of being presented to society as a debutante.  

The story is told by alternatingchapters.  The present time is writtenin the first person from Beth’s perspective where we read about the triggersshe experiences that takes her back twenty three years ago to Henry’sdisappearance.  Erica also stumbles on aphotograph of Caroline taken before she came to London and married HenryCalcott and leads to her searching through the Calcott family history to try tosolve an enigma.  Caroline’s story iswritten in the third person and charts her life from New York City to thefrontier land of Woodward County and prairie life and finally to England.

I enjoyed this balance of one era beingtold forwards in time while the other is narrated with flashbacks andreflection of the past.

When Erica finds the photograph ofCaroline, in the early 1900’s we are reading about Caroline’s life before shemarried Henry Calcott.  The intrigue ofwanting to know what happens in Caroline’s life to lead her from what we knowto what Erica knows is a strong pull. Also, the Caroline of the early 1900’s is so different from the Carolinethat Erica’s mother talks about in the present time that you want to keepreading to see what trauma happened to provoke such a change in character.

The intrigue of uncovering the secretfamily history is linked with the intrigue of Henry’s disappearance and theeffect it has had on Beth.  The Dinsdalefamily, travellers allowed to camp on part of Storton Manor (both in the pastand present) are key characters in the lives of the Calcott women.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tension of eachera building in intensity and then being left with a cliff-hanger.  I was so absorbed in what was happening Ijust couldn’t put my Kindle down!

The Legacy is a journey of secrets, mystery,intrigue, family and love.  It is astory of how one woman’s actions follows her down through the years andaffects future generations.  It held myinterest from the first word until the last and for this reason, I am givingthis novel my highest, four-fairy rating.

I requested to read The Legacy viaNetgalley.  Thank you to the publishersHarperCollins for givingpermission for me to read this uncorrected e-proof copy.

About the author:

Katherine Webb was born in Kentin 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire. She was educated at a localcomprehensive school and sixth form college, before reading History at DurhamUniversity. A childhood fascination with ruined castles and the secrets of thepast has carried forward into her fiction, which incorporates historical storylines and explores how past events can reverberate in the present.

Since graduating from Durham in 1998, Katherinehas had various day jobs – from kiln operator in a pottery, to waitress,librarian and seller of fairy costumes. In recent years she has worked inservice as a housekeeper for high status families; in formal households whereage-old structures of class behaviour are alive and well, uniforms are worn andstaff are expected to be both invisible and omnipresent; and (currently) inpleasantly relaxed households with more up-to-date attitudes. 

After a nomadic period in her twenties, havinglived in London and Venice, Katherine has now settled in a cottage in thecountryside near Newbury, Berkshire. DIY is more of a necessity than a hobby,and her other interests include cookery, running and horse riding.


4 thoughts on “The Legacy by Katherine Webb

  1. Fab review and I believe this book also started out on! Maybe it is my turn to be their next bestseller?

    Mandy xx

  2. Thanks Mandy 🙂 The Legacy did start on and then published by Orion (UK). HarperCollins are the US publishers.

    If it was up to me to decide you would be 🙂 x

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