January 2011: Mindy MacKay
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Marquis of Haversham and his wife are murdered as part of a plot to seize his fortune and title, but there's a hole in the scheme: the Marquis's daughter and heiress, Justine, yet survives.
Adopted and raised by a highwayman, Justine has no idea about the nature of her true parentage. Her life spirals into one adventure after another, bringing her up against the rigid hierarchy, throwing her into maritime battles, and pushing her into the arms of a dashing sailor with a vendetta.
The Haversham Legacy is a beautiful blend of the lavish and the picaresque, combining courtly life with swashbuckling adventure. The plot moves fast and the settings are effortless to step into. Fleming's clever use of archetype creates a story that is easy to identify with. This book is like a novelization of all the joy and pathos one might find in a classic black-and-white movie. Despite a few romance scenes that range from tender to heated, I think this is a book is fun for the whole family. However, I do wish Justine was introduced much earlier in the story; she has such a big role and is sure to be an instant reader favorite. For fans of history, mystery, and intrigue, The Haversham Legacy is a must-read.