Legacy – Charlotte Greene

This is not my usual kind of book. Then again, while I read mostly romance with a growing side of sci-fi and crime novels, I’m always open to new genres, and the reviews I’d read for Legacy made me want to give it a try. So maybe I shouldn’t have begun reading it at 5 a.m. in an empty house, I’m not used to spooky, but it was an interesting experience! I’ll try my best not to spoil since part of the fun is not knowing what to expect.

Jo and Carter Lemke are cousins but they look like twins (and not like anyone else in the Lemke family, as far as they know). They were born on the same day, a few hours apart, and raised together from the time they were thirteen, when Jo’s parents took Carter in after she came out, much to her own parents’ dismay. Their family owns a secluded cabin in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado which was built by their great-great-great-grandmother Aurora (aka Rory) and has been neglected for the last couple of years, after a family dispute. The story begins when Jo arrives at the cabin. She and Carter plan to spend the next two weeks restoring it to its glory, with the help of their best friend Meg and her new girlfriend Rachel. Carter’s wife, Daniela, is supposed to join them the next day. Weird things happen almost from the start, one of these being two flat tires on Carter’s car as they’re driving to get Daniela (who’s really mad at Jo for reasons unknown at first), which leads to them meeting Andy, the hottest ranger around. The whole cast of characters is really well-written and layered, and I especially loved how Rachel’s Korean family was mentionned as if it wasn’t a big deal, and also how Daniela being deaf is just part of who she is.

Greene does a great job of establishing a creepy atmosphere by setting a rather slow (but not overly so) pace, taking the necessary time to describe the woods, the uncared-for cabin, the ominous well from the cover, the sounds, the smells, the weather and temperatures… The story revolves around family, the relationships we inherit and the ones we create. The unexpected connection between Jo (and Carter, to a lesser extent) and Aurora, the history with Sarah and Henry, Andy’s past, Daniela’s anger, it all comes back to what family is, should or should not be, and how to right past wrongs.

In addition to the paranormal aspect of the novel (which I’m also adding to the Mystery category), I really enjoyed the romance between Jo and Andy. They have great chemistry from the moment they meet by the side of the road, Andy described as some sort of Amazon while Jo’s all sweaty and parched. They’re sweet and totally deserve their happy ever after, if only because their flirting and blushing allowed me to breathe between scary moments.

4-stars

Legacy @ Bold Strokes Books

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