Thursday, June 23, 2011

Legacy by Jeanette Baker

Book Description:
In Scotland to claim a castle she has inherited, professor Christina Murray meets the handsome man who may hold the key to the secrets of Traquair House, and to her heart. Then she travels through time to unveil the mystery of her family, only to find herself in grave danger.

Although I liked the gist of this time travel Scottish historical, I found Legacy a bit confusing and choppy in parts.  It's basically the story of a young woman, Christina Murray who has memories of three of her Murray ancestors who were put under a curse that would not allow them to marry anyone from another clan - the Douglas's.  Christina is an American who has just learned she has inherited a Scottish estate and has no knowledge of this curse or her ancestors.  She is perplexed and confused about why she, of all people, has inherited this estate, known as Traquair House. Things become even stranger as she begins to time travel back to the lives of these three women.

To complicate things further, a handsome Scottish neighbor, Ian Douglas (uh oh, he's a Douglas!) befriends her and soon they begin a romantic relationship and Christina promptly gets pregnant - something she never thought possible.   Ian is friendly enough and wonderful in many respects, but she suspects he's keeping something from her. She also wonders why Traquair House's housekeeper seems to dislike her - and what is the housekeeper's relationship to Ian?  After overhearing a conversation between the two, Christina is having doubts about him.  Is Ian only after the estate or does he truly care for her?

In addition to the present day storyline, the book is broken down into three different time periods and storylines from the past that parallel an important period in Scottish history.  Each part revolves around one of Christina's ancestors: Katrine, who lives during the times leading up to the battle of Culloden in the mid 1700's, Jeanne, who is accused of being a witch and loses one of her children in a fire in the 1500's and Mairi who was loved by Edward I, King of England in the 1200's and stole the real Stone of Scone, hiding it so the English couldn't take it.  All died violently for the causes they believed in.  As Christina lives through their eyes, she realizes she looks just like all three of them - and they all had diabetes... just like she does!   Each one's story is sad in of itself and they kept my attention - I just wish they didn't end so soon!  Because this is not a really long book, each story was missing the sort of depth and romantic build up I'm used to.  Because of the lack of development I felt vaguely dissatisfied with each separate storyline.  Regarding the present day romantic storyline, it was much too fast and unbelievable as well. 

Overall I was disappointed in this book.  I feel it could have been better if it were longer so each historic storyline could have gotten the attention and romantic build up it deserved.  There were poignant moments, yet I felt little emotion over them because I hadn't gotten a chance to really get to know the characters involved.   The climax of the book when all is revealed was anticlimatic and Christine's decision about her pregnancy and what to do about Ian was - frankly - annoying!  Albeit, it was probably realistic, but I was angry at her!  Still, I did appreciate the historical background and the different locales of the Scottish Highlands like Blair Castle and Traquair House (I'm really thinking of passing by it this August on my trip to Scotland) but I wish the last 50 pages of the book had been written differently.  It does end happily, but not the way I expected it to.



Blodeuedd said...

Disappointed and still a 3,5. There still must be something good there then :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Blodeuedd, the fact it was set in Scotland and each separate story was pretty good is what saved it. But it could have been a lot better, IMO.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this one sounds really complicated! it's a reissue right? i've been kinda disappointed in the older romances I've read. Kinda dated.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Carrie, yes it's a reissue (I downloaded it on my kindle). It is a bit complicated with the four different storylines. I find older romances from the 80's and early 90's tend to be kind of like Legacy. More on scenery and atmosphere than actual relationship development like we see in more recent romances.

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