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by Carolyn Hart
Seventh Street, February 2013
159 pages
ISBN: 1616147040

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Fans of Carolyn Hart's mystery series will be a bit surprised as THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY, first published in 1986, is more of a modern gothic novel in the vein of Barbara Michael's or Mary Stewart's work than Hart's mysteries.

When Leah Devereaux's grandmother who raised her dies, Leah is stunned to find that everything she had been told about her parents and their death was a lie. As far as she knew, she had no other family and so, when she discovers that she has another grandmother and several cousins living on the family's plantation in South Carolina, she sets out to met her relatives and find out what really happened to her parents.

This book has all the trappings of a gothic novel. There's a large plantation house, deeply buried family secrets, a developing romance, superstitious servants, weird relatives and a possible ghost. The main characters were well developed with very few surprises in the way they acted. The romantic element of the book is all very tame with much swooning into each other's arms and very little else in that regard.

There is one thing in the book that might put some readers off. There is a serious act of animal cruelty that occurs, so if you are a reader who does not read books where bad things happen to innocent animals, you might want to take a pass on this book or ask someone who has read it to paperclip those couple of pages together so you can skip that part. Skipping that part will not interrupt the flow of the story for you in any way.

In places, THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY doesn't have quite the polish of Hart's later books. When I finished I was left with a couple of things that happened that weren't exactly clear. Also, the book is only 158 pages long. I think that some parts of the plot could have been expanded a bit more tying up a few loose ends for the readers. That said, THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, December 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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