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Tuesday 4 May 2021

Book Review: THE LEGACY by Alison Knight

The Legacy is a spin-off story from Alison Knight’s previous novel Mine, which was first published in November 2020.  Both novels are set in and around London in 1969. The Legacy can be read as a stand-alone story, but it does refer to a significant event in Mine, so if you are also planning to read Mine I recommend that you do that first if you want to avoid spoilers.  In fact, I recommend that you read it anyway – it is an amazing and very moving story.  You can find out more about it here.

The Legacy opens with a scene which also occurs in Mine: a wealthy elderly lady, aware that she does not have long to live, summons a solicitor to her deathbed and issues instructions to change her will.  Her only living relative is her lazy and profligate nephew, James, who had been relying on inheriting his aunt’s money in order to settle his many debts.  But under the terms of her new will she bequeaths him £5,000 (around £70,000 in today’s money) – not by any means a trivial amount, but nowhere near enough to cover everything he owes.  The rest of her estate (money, property, valuables and investments) is left to her god-daughter Charlotte.  Unaware of his aunt’s last-minute change of mind, James quits his dead-end job as soon as he hears of her death – and is horrified to learn that he is to receive only a small proportion of her estate rather than the huge fortune he had been expecting.   

Charlotte, who has always earned her own living and is used to a modest lifestyle, is totally unprepared for the sudden acquisition of a life-changing amount of money, and soon begins to wonder if it is changing her life in a way she hadn't anticipated or even wanted.  Meanwhile, James turns to increasingly desperate measures in his attempts to shake off his many creditors and to get his hands on the money which he still believes is rightly his.

The Legacy is perfectly crafted and beautifully written, with a fast pace, an intriguing plot, and a shocking twist which took me completely by surprise.  It is a wonderful cautionary tale about the perils of living beyond one’s means, of relying on expectations rather than making one’s own way in the world, and of counting one’s chickens before they hatch.  Highly recommended.

The Legacy

An unexpected inheritance.  A web of deceit.  A desperate escape.

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte.  He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance - and to pay off his creditors.  But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall.  After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her.  But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoiled pampered girlfriend Fliss (Percy's sister) travel across France on a misison that promises to free James from the criminals for good.  But James isn't convinced he can trust Fliss, so makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him?  Will Charlotte's secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

Purchase link: 

Alison Knight has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is a drama set in 1960s London. Like her previous book, Mine, it explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, showing how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops ( as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.


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Huge thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour.

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