Book Review: The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett

Published: 5th November 2015

“A thought provoking, subtle mystery.”

fourandahalfstars

What Is ‘The Hidden Legacy’ About?

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.
2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .
Recently divorced and with two young children, Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she’s far from convinced the journey will be worthwhile.
But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.
Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . .

Why Did I Read ‘The Hidden Legacy’?

For the first time, and hopefully not the last, I was able to read a novel written by someone local, published and successful. Considering this is GJ Minett’s debut novel, a lot can be said for the following this story achieved in the Kindle bookstore, peaking in sales to gain that all important ‘Best Seller’ accreditation.
This is not only inspiring to me, but an encouraging story to any ‘would be’ writers thinking of giving it a go.

What I Liked About ‘The Hidden Legacy’

Firstly, I read this story on my iPhone using the Kindle app. Has anyone else tried that? It’s not nearly as bad an experience as you might think.

The opening to this story is fantastic. Very well written. Like all good mysteries it gives you just enough to go on and yet nothing really in terms of motivation. So you start hooked before you’ve really got going.
I liked the layout of this novel, it felt quite unique. There wasn’t lots of chapters, but instead pockets of time concerning different characters broken up by four main parts. It allowed the novel to flow.
There were some lovely parts in this story, textured descriptions and a tone of realism throughout. In certain sections you could tell the author had laboured over each sentence. Ellen’s first visit to Primrose Cottage in particular was a stand out moment where Minett seized an opportunity for some interesting and creative writing.
The story has a maturity to it. An old soul. I wouldn’t say that it’s incredibly intense nor a slow burner, instead I came to think of it a bit like a scented candle that was relaxing and easy going to read, but with enough intrigue to keep me interested.
I can’t say I’ve read a book like this before, which is praise in itself. And though it’s a bit of cliché, I’ll admit I didn’t see the ending coming.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘The Hidden Legacy’

This isn’t the kind of story I would normally read, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do tend to prefer stories where the stakes are a little higher.
The main plot is reliant on you accepting that an incident from a playground in 1966 is still remembered throughout the country forty years later, and that it would cause some form of media hysteria if the identity of the killer (now rehabilitated) was made public. This is a little challenging to accept if you spend to much time thinking about it, especially with the story grounded in so much realism.

Good Or Bad

Was this book any good? Yes. Really glad I read it.
Would I recommend it? I would, with the caveat that this isn’t a ‘thrill ride’. It sits comfortably in the ‘Crime, Thriller & Mystery’ genre and it knows what it is: A thought provoking, subtle mystery.
Would I read it again? Maybe. This is one of those novels you could return to after a few years, but you might not get as much second time round knowing where it’s going.

I was happy to read that GJ Minett has another book due out this Autumn – I’ll be adding this to the list: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lie-Wait-GJ-Minett-ebook/dp/B01F91HUPC/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467402269&sr=1-2

 

Here are some other reviews:

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Paper Towns by John Green
Parable Of The Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK by Federico Pistono
Looking For Alaska by John Green
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Perks Of Being A Wallfower by Stephen Chbosky
Lie in Wait by GJ Minett

 

Any suggestions?

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David P. Philip


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