For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name—no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways—and the once-prosperous farm.
Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died—alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land or the memories.
Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name.
Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family…and her own part in their mottled history.
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira; Original edition (January 24, 2012)
Nelle Davy was born in Grenada in 1984 and was raised in London within an Anglo-Caribbean family. She studied English with creative writing at the University of Warwick and then undertook a master of philosophy degree in creative writing at Trinity College Dublin. She currently lives in London with her husband, where she works in publishing. THE LEGACY OF EDEN is her first novel and she is currently working on her second.
For people who like epic stories of family, similar to John Steinbeck's writing style, then you will really enjoy this novel.
It follows three generations of family, and the bumps and bruises along the way.
While I didn't think it was the story of the century, I did think it was beautifully written and highly well thought out. Even if at the beginning I felt it flipped around a lot and had me confused. That feeling didn't last.
A lot of contemporary fiction or general fiction fans will devour this one!
A Q&A with Nelle Davy....How much, and what kinds of, research went into creating this novel?
A lot. It was so boring researching farm techniques – I am from London, I actively find the countryside an anathema most of the time but I chose to write about something that was nothing to do with my current life and so I had to make sure what I wrote was authentic. I also had to read a lot of American literature just to ensure I got the American voice right. English people and Americans do not speak the same language in many ways contrary to what we believe. For example, in England I would say, I strolled along the pavement to the car with my shopping bag and dumped it in the boot.
In America it would be, I walked down the sidewalk to the car with my carrier bag and dumped it in the trunk.
See what I mean?
What are you currently reading?
Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot and Jeanette Winterson Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?
Who is your favorite literary character?
Ooh going to have to cheat and name a few – sorry: Emma Bovary, Matilda Wormwood, Jo March, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Blanche Dubois…
What inspires you when you’re writing?
A good window and an even better book.
What is your favorite book?
Could not even begin to answer that one – it would be like choosing a favourite child: Matilda, Rebecca, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, The Secret History, I Capture the Castle, Therese Raquin…endless endless lists.