When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow studens seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother commited suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it’s up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.
About the Author
Molly Cochran is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including Legacy, Poison, and Seduction. Her first novel, Grandmaster with Warren Murphy, was a New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award Winner. She also authored the international bestseller The Forever King with Warren Murphy. She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
I was sixteen years old when I discovered exactly who—and what—I was. Before then, I suppose I wasn’t much of anything, just a girl who’d somehow managed to spend most of my life in southern Florida without becoming blonde, athletic, or comfortable with boys.
I’d lived with my father, who did his level best to turn me into the biggest geek in Palm Beach. His main contribution to my discovering myself was to ditch me in a boarding school fifteen hundred miles from everything I knew. Thanks.
I brought my hands to my face and tried to warm them with my breath as I waited for the hired car that was to pick me up at Boston’s Logan Airport.
I was being sent away because my dad didn’t want me anymore.
That’s what he always did when he felt uncomfortable about something. He just stopped thinking about it. He’d done that with my mother after she died. And maybe before. By the time I was old enough to ask questions, he’d already banished her from his memory.
I’d only ever seen one picture of her. It was a sticky, worn photo that I saved from the trash after my dad had tried to throw it out. I reached for the photo in the front pocket of my purse. We had the same eyes. Strange eyes, everyone says, although I don’t think they’re so weird. I held the picture and waited for the familiar flood of feelings to wash over me. It was like I could feel everything she felt that day—how she was crazy in love with my father. And torn about leaving her family to be with him. And afraid of fire . . .
Beeep beep beeeeep. The blare of a horn tore me from my thoughts. Whitfield Airport Limo had arrived. Classy. I slouched into the backseat of the decades-old Crown Vic.
“You ever been to Whitfield before, Miss?”
“Huh?” I looked up to see the driver’s eyes in the rearview mirror. They were a piercing blue beneath wild, shaggy white brows. He looked as if he’d spent the past fifty years facing down nor’easters. “Whitfield,” he repeated. “Guess it’ll take a little getting used to, after New York City.”
“I’m not from New York,” I said glumly. “My father got a job there.”
The skin around the old man’s eyes crinkled into a kind smile. “So you’re heading out on your own, is it?”
I turned away. I wasn’t heading out on my own. I was being discarded. There was a difference.
“But you could look at it that way, couldn’t you?”
My head snapped up in irritation. “Excuse me?
“Whitfield may not seem like a very exciting place at first, but you’d be surprised at how much we’ve got going on here.” He winked.
Right, I thought. Whitfield, Massachusetts, the fun capital of the western hemisphere.
“Have you heard of Wonderland?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ve heard of it.” Wonderland was only the biggest retail chain in the world. My dad’s loathsome girlfriend was their VP of Public Relations. I heard nothing but Wonderland at home.
“We’re going to be getting a new one in town,” he said as if I were a child and he was holding out a puppy.
“That’s a thrill,” I said. As if every podunk town in America didn’t have a Wonderland. Or a Kmart, Wal-Mart, or, more likely, all three.
He laughed. “I thought everybody loved Wonderland,” he said. “Least, that’s what their commercials tell us.”
“I’m not much of a shopper,” I said.
“And then, we’ve got the fog,” he went on cheerfully, undeterred by my obvious hostility toward his hometown.
“Fog?” I couldn’t believe he was telling me that watching fog counted as an activity, second only to shopping at discount department stores in terms of excitement.
“Our fog’s been in every edition of Ripley’s Believe It or Not since 1929, when Mr. Ripley started writing it.”
He was looking at me expectantly in the rearview mirror, so I took the bait. “What’s so special about it?” I asked with a sigh.
“Depends on what you call special.” He chuckled. “But it’s unusual, that’s for sure. Only comes to one spot, in a place we call the Meadow, right in the middle of Old Town. It shows up eight times a year, like clockwork, and always in time for the first day of school. You’re going to Ainsworth School, aren’t you?”
I took the packet the school had sent me out of my jacket pocket. “Yes, Ainsworth,” I said, reading the return address.
“Forget the name?” He was grinning broadly.
“I guess,” I said, confused now. So he wasn’t joking. They really did watch the fog come in.
“The public schools are already open. But Ainsworth has a tradition. It waits for the fog.”
Perfect. I was entrusting my education to an institution that based its academic schedule, as well as its entertainment, on weather phenomena.
“We’re coming into Whitfield’s Old Town now,” the driver said.
Old was right. Whitfield was a village straight out of Nathaniel Hawthorne, with rows of meticulously maintained stone buildings and three-story frame houses with candles in the windows. The town square was lined with quaint-looking shops selling books and tools and kitchen wares; a combination candy store and café called Choco-Latte; two rustic-but-tasteful eateries; and a storefront with APOTHECARY written across the window.
“The town was founded in 1691 by colonists who’d had it with the Puritans,” he announced as if he were a tour guide. “Run off from Salem to the wild tidal waters here, off Whitfield Bay. If you squint, maybe you can see Shaw Island off to your right.”
“Er . . .” I interrupted. “Is the school nearby?”
“Coming right up to it,” he said. “By the way, that’s the Meadow.” He nodded toward the left.
I gasped out loud. Ripley had been right—it was one of the strangest things I’d ever seen, acres of vacant land blanketed by dense fog at least two feet deep, right in the middle of the village square.
“Why is it only in that one place?” I asked.
“If you figure that out, you’ll be the first,” he said, grinning. “Like I said, Whitfield’s more interesting than you might think.”
The car stopped in front of a grim-looking building with a discreet sign above the doorway reading, AINSWORTH PREPARATORY SCHOOL, FOUNDED 1691.
“I guess this is the place,” I said, as I got out of the car. The driver got my bag from the trunk. I tried to give him a tip, but he refused.
“Not from our own,” he said.
“Um, thanks,” I replied.
He tipped his hat. “Good luck to you, Miss Ainsworth,” he said as he got back in behind the wheel.
“I’m not—” I began, but he was already driving away.
Oh, well. It didn’t make any difference. Hell was hell. Whatever they called you there didn’t matter much. I picked up my bag and headed toward the doorway.
The wind was high, and smelled like the sea. September was only half over, but this far north, the air was already chilly. I pulled my jacket more tightly around me. It was the heaviest piece of clothing I’d ever owned, but on that blustery New England afternoon it was about as warm as a sheet of wax paper.
I stood there for a moment, blinking away tears as I took in the depressing façade of that dreary brick building. At that moment I felt more cold, lost, and alone than I ever had in my life.
“Welcome home,” I whispered before letting myself in.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this book, Serenity Katherine Ainsworth, who goes by ¿Katy Jessevar,¿ is sent to Ainsworth Preparatory School in Whitfield, Massachusetts after her father moved to New York when he got a job there. When Katy starts the new school, she meets Peter Shaw at the library. He instantly knows that she is an Ainsworth and dislikes her. Every new student at Ainsworth School gets invited to have lunch at Hattie¿s Kitchen, where she finds a book that belongs to Peter. Hattie asks Katy to return it to him, causing them to interact once again.Katy eventually gets offered an afterschool job at Hattie¿s Kitchen. After working there, she understands how Hattie can give people what they need without them even asking. She didn¿t expect this job. She certainly didn¿t expect Peter to be working there also. Katy meets Peter¿s younger brother, Eric, and learns a little more about why Peter and Eric are with Hattie. She also learns of her lineage and that she is a witch. She also makes contact with her maternal grandmother and aunt, whom she has never met.Not soon after Katy starts at Hattie¿s Kitchen, Peter and she learn to work together and tolerate each other. This is essential because the Harbingers start showing up and Peter helps Katy understand them. The Harbingers are bad omens and they foretell the coming of the Darkness. According to the Great Book of Secrets, if the Darkness takes hold of anyone, they must be destroyed by fire. What happens when the Darkness takes over someone you love?This book was an interesting read. I could never predict what was happening next. With the arrival of the new Wonderland store in Whitfield thrown into the story, I wasn¿t sure what was going to take precedence. It was a book that was hard to put down.I Like:¿ Katy. Eventually, she understand what it means to be an Ainsworth and why when the Ainsworth women got married, the groom would take their name instead of what¿s expected of society. She learns a lot throughout this book and at first is upset by being sent to Whitfield and feels like she was being thrown away.¿Peter. He is a good person. Everything he does in the story is for the good of someone. As you get further into the book, you understand his motivations better. Even when Katy and Peter were not getting along, she said that he is a ¿decent person.¿ He always remembers what it is important.¿Dingo. I like this dog and his singing. He accompanies Mr. Haversall. ¿Hattie Scott. She is the witch who took care of Eric and Peter after Peter¿s mom and dad died. She is full of wisdom and is the High Priestess of Whitfield.I Did Not Like:¿Livia Fowler and her daughter Becca. I never have liked people who thought they were better than someone else.¿The Darkness. Again¿expected.
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick and Dirty: Legacy had surprising depth and character development that kept me interested until the end. Opening Sentence: I was sixteen years old when I discovered exactly who¿and what¿I was. The Review: The novel starts with Katy arriving at her new boarding school after being uprooted from everything she knew after her dad gets married. If that isn¿t troubling enough, she finds out that her mother¿s family, who founded her new school, already has a reputation that she knows nothing about. Immediately I was interested in finding out just what happened to make the people of Whitfield so mistrusting of Katy. The reader finds out information about her family and past when Katy does, who grew up knowing almost nothing about her mother and existing family members. By revealing information to both the reader and the protagonist at the same time, the reader can then compare their own reaction with Katy¿s, and have a deeper understanding of Katy, and the book itself. The world of Whitfield is filled with strange rules that everyone except Katy seems to know. She notices a distinct group of students who stand out from the others because of their confidence and connection to each other. This is only the beginning of the secrets that Katy uncovers about the small Massachusetts town where everything is not always as it seems. Katy doesn¿t feel any particular connection to anyone until she meets Peter Shaw. For a reason unknown to her, Peter hates her on sight. Katy can¿t help but notice how attractive he is, and the author does well to not overdo his looks and creates a believable character. Katy doesn¿t understand how he, and all the other students, could seem so likable to each other, but ignore her as if she has done something to deserve how she is treated. We get some foreshadowing that it may have to do with her long dead mother, but do not find out completely until later in the novel. As the novel advances, Katy learns to accept the odd things that she encounters, and also learns more about herself. I think that is one of the things I really loved about this novel was how real the characters felt. Each one has depth that we may not readily see, and it enriches the story as the characters evolve and form relationships. I don¿t want to give away too much because I think readers will benefit from finding out the secrets of Whitfield and the Ainsworth family on their own. Time progresses, and Katy starts to feel more at home in Whitfield, but as any reader knows, tranquility does not lead to a great story. Dark forces, as ominous as that sounds, are at work, and Katy wants to find the source so she can help eradicate it. She uses her newly honed skills to look to the past to find answers that may help in the present. Katy is still considered an outsider, so she has to work hard to prove to her community that she can, and will, help them. I have read some other reviews for Legacy, and the results are very mixed. I really did enjoy this novel, and not all of the claims that people are making about Legacy hold true with me. Some complain about the pacing, but I feel that we are living along side Katy. When something important happens, she describes it, but when time just passes in an ordinary fashion, there really is not much to say about it. Yes, Peter does go from hating Katy to liking her fairly quickly, but Katy says herself that Peter was a decent person to begin with, and I think he probably avoided her because he could not both hate her for what her mother did, and accept her for who she was until he realized that she really did not know about her mother¿s past. She enters a fairly close knit community with no idea of what her mother has done, so there really is no reason for Peter to hate her unconditionally, especially after he gets to know her. This book does have realistic characters in a paranormal plot, so of course some things will be predictable. Life is fairly predictable, and it
This book will change how you look at the world
Loved this book! Read it in 2 days. Molly Cochran has a fresh take on witches and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Can't wait to read the next one!
I really loved this book, kept me reading until it was over. I think what kept me reading forward was trying to figure out why her mom had done so much damage to Peter's brother. In the end we do find out why and why she had burned herself as well. I'm just glad it ended well.
It was a pretty good book. The writing was good. The character Peter is just seems kinda cheesy. and The end of the book is kind of predictable, but it is still a good book.
I eeally enjoyed rhis book and can't wait to read.more by this author