Sometimes an ending is really a beginning…
Felicity Lewis’ fiftieth birthday party in her newly renovated home, loving husband and daughter Greta by her side, is going off with a bang when disaster strikes. Her father, Franklyn, with his usual impeccable timing, has keeled over and died.
For some members of the family, his wife Hazel for example, Franklyn’s death is not the great loss it first appears to be. But when his toxic and inexplicable will is read out, it becomes clear that long-buried secrets are about to surface, starting with the astonishing reappearance of Hazel’s long-lost sister.
Indeed, Franklyn’s death sets in motion a chain of events that will cause three generations of Gifford family women to question everything they hold dear – their relationships, their loyalties, even their identities. Until, that is, they choose to fight back against their dark inheritance…
Over the past couple of years, I’ve started counting days in the leadup to a new Tricia Stringer novel being released. She is, quite simply, a fabulous storyteller. Her novels draw you into richly depicted families, with all their dramas, quirks and secrets. Her female driven novels are filled with complex and compelling characters. Reading one of her novels is like catching up with old friends, and you miss the characters after you finish that final page.
The Family Inheritance is all that and more. It is a clever, sympathetic and thought-provoking look at how a legacy of lies can seep through the generations and poison all it touches, and how the truth can set you free.
The story opens with Felicity’s birthday party, being held in her newly renovated, picture-perfect home. Tricia introduces you to the characters, and very quickly the dominos start to fall: Felicity’s mother Hazel calls – Felicity’s father has just died. Turns out he won’t be as missed as one would expect, and we quickly see why when the will is read, and he continues to control his wife (and family) from the grave.
Without giving away spoilers, Felicity, especially hurt by the reading of the will, returns home to her husband Ian expecting some support, but instead he’s waiting with his bags packed and tells her he’s leaving.
By this stage, the reader is only a couple of chapters in, but 100% involved in this family, these women, and their story. And every single one of the character arcs is interesting. All the Gifford women are great. I especially liked Felicity’s 24-year-old daughter Greta, who holds the older women together.
This is a polished family saga dealing with themes of emotional abuse and adoption, all delivered with intelligence, wit and emotion in equal measures. The only problem with the book is that I’ve now finished it and need to wait another year for Tricia’s next marvellous story.
Treat yourself this weekend: a glass of wine, some relax time, and The Family Inheritance. Perfection!