Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Legacy

Legacy by Jeanette Baker
Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical Romance/ Magical Elements
ISBN-13: 9781402255830

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Jeanette Baker on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook

Excerpt from Legacy

Synopsis (Book Blurb):


Christina Murray is elated to inherit her family's ancestral Scottish home, especially when she meets her gorgeous neighbor Ian Douglas, full of Scottish charm and intriguing knowledge of the house's secrets...


But at night, Christina is visited by haunting dreams from ghostly ancestors who lead her through the terrifying labyrinth of her family's bloody history. As much as Ian longs to help her, there's nothing he can do to alleviate Christina's terrors...

Clinging to her sanity and to her newfound love for Ian, Christina discovers the family curse that threatens to bring them both to a terrifying end...


Originally published in 1996, Jeanette Baker's book Legacy is being reissued to a new audience. Baker crafts a novel full of Scottish history and lore, with magical elements that readers will find enchanting. This book has everything from time travel to an ancestral curse, intertwining the stories of the four women who lived and loved at Traquair House, in the Scottish Highlands. Readers will find Baker's plot riveting and the characters engaging.

Christina Murray is one of a long line of strong women. When she inherits the ancestral Scottish home of her family she will have to rely on that strength to see her through. Traquair House is everything she'd dreamed of a Scottish manor, but it's her dreams she comes to fear. Love was probably the last thing on her mind after a shattering divorce, when Christina meets her new neighbor Ian Douglas. The attraction between the two ramps up quickly, but they'll need each other as the ancestral curse that affects both their families is revealed. Christina is visited often in life-like dreams by three women who have shaped the past of her family, each one affected by a terrible curse from centuries gone by. Christina may be the next victim to fall prey to the curse if she and Ian are unable to solve the ancient mystery surrounding Traquair House.

Being of Scottish ancestry myself I was really excited to review this book, by Jeanette Baker. Baker chronicles the history of the Maxwell family with such elegance and grace that the characters seem to jump of the page. Scotland has a proud though tragic history and Baker did an excellent job of portraying the men and women who lived during this chaotic time. Her character development was very well done.

When we first meet Christina she comes across as a rather self-conscious woman who has been through a bad breakup. She's very intelligent, a history professor who has specialized in Scottish history though she had no idea that, that was where her own history came from. As the book develops. Christina changes a great deal. As Ian's love begins to seep into her, readers will begin to see her gain confidence in her appearance and her own self-worth. They will also see Christina change in reference to the three ancestral women who seem to be haunting her dreams. At first she is a little mousy with the housekeeper, Kate. She seems to be walking on eggshells in a home that is her own. But as the visions become more regular and she begins to see the strength of those women in her own past, she becomes more confident in her abilities to run her own house. Overall we see Christina become one of the strong women that Traquair House has always been home to. It was delightful to watch her really blossom as a woman in this book. The author did an excellent job of showing the reader her immense growth.

Ian, the hero in the story is not as well developed as Christina but the reader will gain a clear knowledge of who and what kind of man he is early on. He realizes how closely he is tied to Christina and goes about trying to help her figure out what is going on. His love is very obvious and comes across as very real. I thought the author could have given us a little more detail about Ian, but I also felt satisfied that we knew enough as readers to like him and want his relationship with Christina to flourish.

In my opinion the real stars of this book were, the three ancestral women, who visited Christina in her dreams. Mairi of Shiels the medieval maiden, Katrine Murray the staunch Jacobite who fell in love with the Englishman and Jeanne a woman accused of witchcraft. All three of these characters came alive in Baker's writing. She showed us the woman who loved the king, but wasn't willing to give up Scotland to him. The woman who loved her family and clan, but also a man considered her enemy and the woman who wouldn't follow convention and befriended those who were considered not the best of associates. I loved all three women and thought Christina was a good fit for a more modern Maxwell woman. The mystery of the curse itself and the dreams were wonderfully written and I think Baker did a great job of really capturing the Scottish legends and lore.

I recommend this one to readers of historical romance and historical fiction. If you enjoyed books like the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series, this book should be right up your alley. I really enjoyed it and felt it really showed the essence and strength of the Highland people.

Legacy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I am giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jeanette Baker is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, most of them set in the lush countryside of historical and contemporary Ireland where she lives and writes the summer months. Her ancestors, the Flaherty's, hail from Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands located off the coast of Galway. She takes great pride in the prayer posted by the English over the ancient city gates, 'From the wrath of the O'Flaherty's, may the good Lord deliver us.'

Jeanette graduated from the University of California at Irvine and holds a Masters Degree in Education. For the remainder of the year, Jeanette teaches in Southern California and enjoys the company of her grown children. She is the Rita award-winning author of NELL.


Laurie (BittenbyParanormalRomance) said...

Great review. I adding this one to my pile.