Chocolate Book Review no. 4 - The Legacy by Jewel Adams

Jewel very kindly sent me several of her books to review. With limited time, I picked one at random. Boy, did I choose the wrong book!

Don't get me wrong, Legacy is a great book, but it is very, very long. Almost 150,000 words, so a real epic to rival War and Peace. It's also a romance - several romances in fact - and I'm really not a fan of that particular genre. I could have done with a whole lot less of our couple going googly-eyed over each other (and cutting half of the declarations of love and counting of blessings would have shortened it considerably) and rather more actual action and events, but if that's what you enjoy, then this is beautifully done and the characters really are people the reader can love too, and be happy for, if rather jealous of.

Jewel has taken some risks with this book. It's written in the present tense, for one thing, and the narrator changes at intervals from first to third person. And yet she pulls it off perfectly. It comes across as a very artistic book and the present tense has the effect of making everything seem very immediate and personal. It reminded me of the current craze-book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, which also throws out the usual conventions of novel writing. Except that this is better.

It follows the life of Cisely, coming in when she is a young adult which, ironically, means that the most dramatic part of her life is skipped over and only referred to in hazy retrospectives later. If I have one criticism, it would be that her life then becomes a little too perfect to be believed. She meets a wealthy woman who not only invites her to come and live with her but gives her a job and even leaves her house and entire fortune to her in her will. Gorgeous rich men fall passionately in love with her, and they are men who are able and ready to declare their love frequently, make her breakfast in bed, and never leave the seat up. She is able to find peace with her past and her parents relatively easily and without any of the usual issues and problems. Not only that, but everyone around her finds love, and she even manages to learn Italian in only three months.

Lovers of the saccharine will revel in this book and probably find it inspiring and satisfying. I found it so cheesy I was tempted to slice it and serve it with crackers, but I was nevertheless able to recognise it as a well-written tome. Jewel is an excellent writer. I just wish I'd chosen a different one of her books.


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