Legacy

Legacy

3.8 49
by Jeanette Baker
     
 

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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.

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Fresh Fiction
Jeanette Baker has penned a classic Gothic novel, complete with a mysterious ancient home, an uncertain hero, and even a Mrs. Danvers-style housekeepe
BookLoons.com
A page turner full of surprises... Legacy is fascinating and spellbinding, imbued with the love of the Highlands, their history and lore.
Literary Litter
A great mystery that transcends generations.
Queen of Happy Endings
A story that contains suspense, romance, time travel and Scottish history can only be a winner.
Debbie's Book Bag
Baker did a great job of really capturing the Scottish legends and lore.
From the Publisher
"Jeanette Baker has penned a classic Gothic novel, complete with a mysterious ancient home, an uncertain hero, and even a Mrs. Danvers-style housekeeper" - Fresh Fiction

" A page turner full of surprises... Legacy is fascinating and spellbinding, imbued with the love of the Highlands, their history and lore." - BookLoons.com

"A great mystery that transcends generations." - Literary Litter

"A story that contains suspense, romance, time travel and Scottish history can only be a winner." - Queen of Happy Endings

"Baker did a great job of really capturing the Scottish legends and lore." - Debbie's Book Bag

"Fantastical fun all around." - Broken Teepee

"Enchanting... Quite entertaining and thought provoking. " - The Long and Short of It Reviews

"The reader is instantly taken to Scotland and delivered to the midst of the settings, both past and present, feeling the 4 star work of this talented author" - Reviews by Molly

"The story is well so researched and written that as each woman's story was told I felt as if I could imagine myself right in the story." - Celtic Lady's Reviews

"A multi-layered story that doesn't lose it in the details. Equal parts of mystery and romance, I enjoyed it thoroughly. " - Chick with Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402255847
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
579,813
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

1993

I had never heard of Traquair House until the spring of my thirty-eighth year. Looking back with the clarity hindsight so often brings, I now realize my oversight had more to do with fate than timing. For an ordinary tourist, the lapse wouldn't have been unusual. But I was Christina Murray. By no stretch of the imagination could I be considered an ordinary tourist.

For nearly eight hundred years the hills surrounding the Innerleithen Valley have shielded Traquair House from the world. Fifty minutes from Edinburgh, off Highway 709, between Selkirk and Peebles, the turn is easy to miss. Most travelers, intent on reaching the sites of the capital, pass by the poorly marked detour with barely a second glance. For me, there is no such excuse. For me, to have missed Traquair House borders on the absurd.

For fifteen years Gaelic antiquity has consumed my life. Even now, in moments of depression, when I seriously entertain the notion of giving it all up and opening a gourmet coffeehouse or a used bookstore, I have only to close my eyes and relive that first semester at the University of Edinburgh.

I was nineteen years old, a student in the foreign exchange program on my way to visit Holyrood House, when I stopped in at the museum on the Royal Mile. It was such a small out-of-the-way place, I didn't expect to find anything important. But Scotland, I was to learn, is filled with surprises.

Reverently I ran my hands over the protective glass containing the Scots' Covenant where the bold scrolling signatures of Montrose and Argyll leaped out at me from the aging parch­ment. A sword from Philiphaugh stood propped against the wall, and a well-leafed prayer book said to have been used by John Knox sat forgotten on a corner bookshelf.

Farther down the street, in the graveyard of Saint Giles Cathedral, I traced fifteenth-century death masks with trem­bling fingers and watched angry clouds gather above my head. For the first time I knew what it was to taste rain on the wind, to see the Grampians, gateway to the Highlands, and, in the distance, the clear light-struck waters of the Firth of Forth pooling silver blue into Leith Harbor. My eyes burned from holding back tears. The cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh welcomed me as if I had come home for the first time after a long and empty journey.

That was the beginning. After that first trip, I returned to Scotland once a year. My knowledge of British landmarks became second to none. I learned to navigate every twisting country road between Stonehenge and Dunnet Mead better than I could the streets where I was born, and my driving time from Heathrow to Edinburgh, at night without streetlights, was clocked at just under six hours.

Now, after twelve years of teaching at Boston College and five more of coursework, I was ready to begin my dissertation. My academic reputation was at its peak and my personal life just beginning to rebound from its downward spiral when Ellen Maxwell's letter arrived. The incredible realization that, in all my years of research, I'd never even heard of Scotland's oldest manor house made her invitation appealing. Someone like myself did not just overlook an eight-hundred-year-old manor house.

From the moment I climbed the gravel path to the top of the hill and looked down on Traquair House, it became my obsession. If any of it had happened differently, if the plane ticket from Ellen Maxwell's solicitor had come at another time, if Stephen and I hadn't gone through with the divorce, if I'd taken the grant or answered the summer school advertisement, the whole confusing tangle of the Maxwell-Murrays and the Stone of Scone might have remained unsolved for all eternity.

My introduction to Traquair bordered on the macabre. After a brief word of welcome, a servant ushered me up the stairs to an enormous bedroom and then disappeared. It was my first and only meeting with Lady Ellen Maxwell.

She lay still as death, stretched out under the sheets of an enormous four-poster. I moved closer to the bed, prepared for the worst. It wouldn't be the first time I had seen a corpse. There is something about the absence of life that can't be mistaken. It's the fundamental missing piece, that mysterious primal core of the human condition that no scientific laboratory or skilled mortician can success­fully reproduce. The nuns at Mount Holyoake would have labeled it a spirit or, better yet, a soul. Life force is the best I could come up with. Looking down into Ellen Maxwell's face, I knew she wasn't there yet.

Beside the bed, IVs attached to tubes led to her frail wrists. A pitcher with a glass straw sat on the nightstand near a bouquet of sage and purple heather. It had all the elements of a hospital room except for the smell. It didn't smell like a sickroom. This room smelled of pine and spice and the moors near Jedburgh. Who was Ellen Maxwell and why had she summoned me, so peremptorily, to her sickbed?

I frowned and felt the skin between my eyebrows fold into accordion pleats. Consciously, I relaxed, forcing the muscles back into smoothness. Lately, since the divorce, I'd become critical of my appearance. There was nothing more damaging to a woman approaching middle age than frown lines.

The sound of soft breathing reclaimed my attention. I stared down at her face. Despite her age, vestiges of beauty still showed in her features. Her skin was smooth and paper thin. The veins in her temples stood out like blue lines against a white road map. Her hands were immaculate and surprisingly youthful, with long, thin fingers and raised oval nails. Patrician hands.

Somehow I knew that those hands had never felt the sting of cleanser against an open cut. They had never wielded a broom, scoured a pot, scrubbed a floor, or pushed a vacuum. Looking down at that haughty, aristocratic face, I felt a flash of resentment and was instantly ashamed. The poor woman was bedridden and old, and despite the fact that she had money, no one, no matter how indigent, would willingly exchange places with her.

The nurse entered the room, smiled at me, and leaned over the bed. "Lady Maxwell," she said in the precise, clipped tone of London's Mayfair district, "Miss Murray is here all the way from America to see you. Don't be stubborn now. She's been traveling a long time."

Like birds' wings, Ellen Maxwell's eyelashes fluttered against her cheeks. With great effort, the lids lifted, and eyes, foggy from their drug-induced sleep, stared up at me. Several minutes passed as she struggled to focus.

"She'll be fine now," the nurse said. "You may speak to her if you like. Only her body is paralyzed. Her mind is sharp as a tack." She nodded and patted my shoulder before leaving the room.

Ellen's dark eyes, now lucid with intelligence, moved over my face, carefully analyzing each feature. It wasn't a comfortable sensation. Never before or since have I been so calculatingly scrutinized. Feeling somewhat self-conscious, I stared out the window, allowing the old woman to look her fill. I was about to speak when the atmosphere in the room changed. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. Perplexed, I looked down at the aged face and felt the smile freeze on my lips.

Meet the Author

Award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the RITA Award winning Nell, Jeanette Baker has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as a forceful writer whose novels are "irresistible reading." Jeanette lives in California during the winter months where she teaches literature and writing, and in County Kerry, Ireland during the summer.

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Legacy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it straight through. Kept me very engaged. I wish the author had spent more time reaearching the medical condition of the heroine. She has insulin dependent diabetes. At one point in the story she passes out. A doctor injects her with insulin to revive her. WRONG! Giving a diabetic insulin when they are unconscious would likely kill them. Other similar incorrect scenarios related to diabetes throughout the novel I found troubling.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading my first book by Jeanette Baker, Legacy, and now have another author to add to my favorites list. This book was enchanting and kept me up reading late. The author's style is elegant, which added to my enjoyment of the book. Her words flowed with beauty. The characters are three dimensional and well written. It was easy to be drawn into their situations and care a great deal about them. Legacy is a book with parallel stories, a main one set in the late twentieth century, and three others set in different and fascinating eras in history. The present-day heroine, Christina, and her new love, Ian, are in serious danger due to an ancient curse on Christina's bloodline. Christina must get to the root of things, going back seven hundred years in discovery, or she is doomed. Technically, this book can be considered a time travel, but Christina only goes to the past for about five minutes. As she delves into the past and gets to know the stories of her tragic ancestors, she gets drawn deeper and deeper into their sad legacy. Can she possibly escape their fate? Their stories were heartbreaking, and as I read, I kept hoping she wouldn't follow in their footsteps. The setting is important to this book: Scotland, present day and past. The reader is in for a treat, getting such an excellently drawn picture of this beautiful country and its exciting history. An author with a mastery of the language provokes a gorgeous but tragic atmosphere with her words. Magic, love, and misfortune are themes woven well into the plot. It's quite entertaining and thought provoking. The various elements of plot are top notch. The subplots create great tension as the book races to its climax. Dialogue is realistic and exposition is excellent. There may have been one or two small questions I had about the characters or scenes that didn't seem to be answered, so I read between the lines. This is a wonderful book, and I'd highly recommend it. originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns this book provided. It was a good story line, despite the time jumps that sometimes made it difficult to follow. I would definitely read other books by this author.
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This book was a little harder to get into in the beginning but it is definitely worth reading. It's truly magical !!!
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kilaSB More than 1 year ago
For a few hours you are transported back in time. It is an exciting journey.
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Combination of Karen Marie Moning and Diana Gabaldon.
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readingcrazyGT More than 1 year ago
It was a great read , i thought it would be just another romance novel ... boring same smooo but it was great like watching a movie lots of twist