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Review of The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins

The Heiress is set on a North Carolina estate that's always felt claustrophobic to Cam. But his adoptive mother Ruby, an infamous character and four-time widow, was determined for him to inherit the McTavish riches. As the truths of Ruby's past become clear to the reader, additional layers of unexpected secrets begin to unfurl.

When Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies, she's North Carolina's richest woman--and its most infamous.

Ruby was the victim of a childhood kidnapping that turned the community of Tavistock on its head, and since then her power has grown--as has her list of dead husbands (four). She reigns high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, on her lavish estate.

But her adopted son Camden is living in Colorado with his wife in a modest rental home, teaching school, and firmly determined to reject his sizeable inheritance along with the McTavish family--who are still living in the mansion--and anything to do with Ruby.

After Ruby's death, strange murmurings about her past begin to surface, and Cam is forced to face questions about inheritance, legacy, and family ties that reach beyond the grave.

The story is told partially through illuminating letters from Ruby laying out the unflinching facts of her past actions. When Cam returns to North Carolina to sort out the mansion's repairs, tensions run high with his cold aunt and two outrageously behaved cousins. And it becomes clear to the reader that his estranged family and Cam's beloved wife Jules aren't the only ones keeping secrets--Cam himself has been hiding some essential truths as well.

As in the other Hawkins novels I've read, the story's relationships, hidden truths, and setting feel like the main elements; character development isn't a crucial part of the story's progression. Yet I felt I was enough a part of the characters' inner circle to feel a twinge of betrayal when they revealed their secrets to readers--even if they did not always come clean to each other.

The Heiress has a satisfying ending that also retains some of the story's intrigue among the main characters.

I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Hawkins is also the author of The Villa, Reckless Girls, and The Wife Upstairs.

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