Title: The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
“To understand what it meant to be a Hathaway, you’d first have to see Aurelia.”
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.
“Our farm was like the world when people still thought it was flat. And when you left it, it was as if you had simply sailed too far and fallen off the surface into the void.”
Nelle Davy’s debut novel The Legacy of Eden is a haunting novel of a family’s dysfunction and their eventual downfall. Told through personal memories and her grandmother’s stories, Meredith Pincetti recounts the Hathaway’s tragic and sordid past.
The Legacy of Eden is told in first person from Meredith’s perspective. Her narrative of the family’s history is interwoven with events from the past and her present day journey to Aurelia, her childhood family home. Meredith’s relatively happy childhood is marred by family tragedy and traumatic events that have caused her to become estranged from her sisters and leave her mired in guilt.
At the heart of this multi-generational family saga is matriarch Lavinia Hathaway. Lavinia is cold, calculating and quite ruthless. She is an ambitious and manipulative woman whose actions sow the seeds of her family’s destruction.
The Legacy of Eden is an emotional and complex family drama. It is a compelling and well-written novel that is poignant and thought-provoking. With her superb character development and beautiful prose, Nelle Davy brings the Hathaway family’s story vividly to life. Full of depth, substance and complicated family dynamics, The Legacy of Eden is captivating read that I highly recommend.