Change is coming to Whales Reef
The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grand-nephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investory who will pay dearly for that control.
While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island -- and its traditional way of life -- hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor...
Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.
A sweeping family saga set in Scotland. There are things I adore about this book and other things I struggled with. First for the adoration:
Love the descriptive prose, the way the author immersed me in a different culture. He uses dialect in measured doses which really created a special ambiance. (I began to think in a Scottish brogue for a while!) Love the complexity of the story -- the way seemingly random scenes eventually meshed together into something of epic proportions. And David, solid, dependable, decent -- I loved all his interactions. A truly noble man facing a tide of trouble with grace and faith.
The slow reveal of Loni's past intrigued me. She's at a crossroads in her life -- feeling like she doesn't quite belong anywhere and on the verge of making decisions that will affect her future. On opposite sides of the Atlantic, David and Loni are connected by an inexplicable thread that runs through generations. And I do so love an ancestral story steeped in mystery!
But having said all that, I struggled with a few aspects of this book. First is the point of view. It read like an oral storytelling which, while lending a certain Scottish charm to the tale, made me feel more like an observer than an active participant. I much prefer slipping into the skin of a character and feeling my way through a story.
Second, I found the pacing quite slow at the beginning of the book. A lot of short scenes with a myriad of characters, places and names to remember. Most of them seemingly not related to the others. That's sorted out much later in the story and I ravenously read a huge chunk of it at the end, when things started to pull together. But alas, just as I reached the point I'd been waiting for with bated breath it was over. Which brings me to my third lament. That last chapter could have actually been the first. This isn't a cliff hanger. It literally stops mid-stride.
I was some miffed, let me tell you, but intrigued enough to search out when the next book releases. The Cottage comes out in October of this year and the back blurb has me salivating for more because it promises what I thought The Inheritance would deliver. So frustrating but I'm committed to the Tullochs enough to make sure I get a hold of a copy of Book Two in the fall.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
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