Some books that were once popular just don't hold up with the passage of time. There is a reason Seventh Street Books is reissuing Carolyn Hart's books, though, in a line called "Carolyn Hart Classics". Her novel, The Devereaux Legacy, is an absorbing example of the gothic romances that were so popular in the late 1970s. If you sometimes skip introductions, I urge you not to skip this one. Hart has written a new commentary in which she talks about the difficulty women had in finding a niche in the mystery world. Sometimes, it was by writing a romance and adding the mystery element, as she did with this book. And, she sets the stage. "It reflects a day before cell phones and constant linkage to the world." It was easier to put a heroine in jeopardy. And, Hart did that in this book.
How does it feel to stand over a tombstone, and see your name on it with a death date nineteen years earlier? Leah Devereaux had no idea she had ever lived in Mefford, South Carolina, until her grandmother, Louisa Shaw, died, leaving part of a letter and a magazine article about a ghost. The Whispering Lady was one of the South's famous ghosts, seen again after many years. Her appearance was said to occur only when a Devereaus was about to die. When Leah appeared in Mefford, people acted as if they had seen a ghost. And, some were not happy to see her.
Two of Leah's cousins warned her to stay away, while a third welcomed her with open arms. But, when the ghost walked again and accidents happened, Leah wasn't sure who she could trust. However, she was determined to find the truth and tell her newly discovered Grandmother Devereaux the story about the night nineteen years earlier when a yacht disappeared, along with Leah's parents.
Over the years, Carolyn Hart has excelled at writing mysteries. It's obvious with The Devereaux Legacy that she had a knack for writing gothics as well. As a writer, she knows what the genre required - a young woman left alone in the world, a discovery of an inheritance and a family, a haunted and haunting house, a possible romance threatened by secrets, and someone determined to kill the young woman to preserve those secrets. Leah Devereaux is the perfect heroine, young, beautiful, and determined to find the truth. If you loved those gothic romances of the late '70s, as I did, you'll welcome the chance to escape into that simpler world again. Carolyn Hart's The Devereaux Legacy is the perfect vehicle into the past.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.