This novel about a family in crisis is unfortunately filled with the predictable elements: a son battling his heritage; a loving wife, overcoming the shock of her husband's real identity; a brokenhearted mother; and children trying to understand all that's swirling around them. Emotions run strong as each family member fights for a place in the new order of things, but the emotions don't always ring true or delve deep enough.
Date Submitted: June 20, 2016
Imagine everything you thought you knew about your spouse changed with the ring of a doorbell. Your shared parallel histories are destroyed by one visit, and you have to decide whether to find the strength to stay or simply walk away. In this uplifting Hallmark Channel-style story, it all works out well in the end.
Stylistically, Legacy Discovered hits all the standard marks expected in a story about a happy family struck by an unexpected hurdle. That said, this makes for a plot and reading experience that is rather rote and stiff. There isn’t much variation to the basic line of storytelling, which creates a very predictable reading experience.
As heir to the wealthy Barnett family fortune, Charles Jr. feels he cannot lead the life he wants or marry the woman of his dreams, Ali. He opts to remove himself from his family in a dramatic way and disappear forever. His hatred of his father’s power-hungry ways, however, leads to his discovery, and to an upheaval of his normal family life. Now, with the knowledge that Charles Jr. is still alive, the entire Barnett family must come to terms with what has happened if they are to repair their relationships.
The characters are quite static and somewhat predictable; however, many reach toward their favorite genres for exactly that reason. Author Kerry Reis provides those who appreciate family dramas with the characters they have come to know and love: the hardworking wife and mother, the handsome loving husband hiding a secret, the essentially obedient children, the tough-on-the-outside power broker with a long-suffering wife. The growth the characters experience is predictable but will be reassuring to fans of the genre.
Great care has been taken with copyediting, though there are some bumps in the road when it comes to dialogue, which stumbles with occasional awkward word and phrase choices, particularly for the teen characters. At one point, the outdated term “gal pals” is used to describe the friends of the school’s mean girls. On the next page, Sue says, “You saw them diss us.” The occasional inconsistency with colloquialisms can be jarring.
Genre readers searching for a standard family drama will find comfort in these pages. The writing is careful, the story is familiar, and everyone lives happily ever after.
3 out of 5 stars
After 16 years of marriage, Ali discovers her husband Ryan is not the man she thought he was. While leading a class action suit against a toxic industrial development by billionaire Charles Barnett, Ryan is revealed as the man’s only son Charles Jr., who faked his death near the Massachusetts coast. After assuming the legal identity of his college roommate, Charles Jr. has attempted to carry on the legacy his friend left behind while challenging the father he ran from years ago. Forced to confront the past, Ryan, Ali and their children must meet the family they didn’t know they had and discover what a legacy really means.
A sweet, family-focused work of fiction with a hint of mystery. Ryan is driven to stop Charles Barnett’s company and as the story unfolds, the reader discovers that there is more than a simple familial discontent between father and lost son. Ali provides the perfect balance to her stubborn and defiant husband. A gentle caregiver and nurse, Ali adapts to the news of her husbands’ true identity with a poise many would envy, and guides him to fixing problems instead of allowing them to fester. Ryan’s teenage daughter Sue, acts as the focus for much of the development as family relationships are examined. As more of the past is revealed, the reader will be surprised to discover the true motivation behind the changing identity, and the true meaning of Ryan’s legacy. A great, feel-good read!
Sarah E Bradley
This was a well-written and fast paced read that I finished in one sitting. It was very easy to get pulled into the story right away, and I found myself entirely caught up in the twisted fate of Ali, Ryan, and their family. Although perhaps there were some things that may have been a tad predictable, there were many things that I didn’t see coming and I liked how the story unfolded. It is so nice to read a book that has such a warm and positive message, and while I noticed that some other reviewers have mentioned that the ending was a bit too sweet or easy, I for one thought it was perfect and tied everything up nicely. Recommended for those who like a quick-paced emotional read with a nice HEA.