EXCERPT: ‘Hello, Hazel.’
The gentle voice startled her. She spun and the room seemed to spin with her as if everything was suddenly slightly off kilter. She stuck out a hand and gripped the back of a chair. The woman before her had been the one she’d noticed talking to Father Donnelly earlier. Hazel hadn’t recognized her from the distance but now, here, right in front of her . . . those eyes . . .
‘Are you all right?’ The woman gripped her arm and edged her to the chair.
‘What are you doing here?’ Hazel’s words came out in a croak.
‘I’ve come to see you and . . .’ The woman stood back a little and glanced around. ‘Your family.’
Hazel looked around too but everyone was busy packing up and taking no notice. She got back to her feet, pushed away the hand that still rested on her arm. She had to end this before her daughters came back.
‘You keep away from my family. They’ve had enough for one day.’
The woman hesitated, looked at her pityingly. ‘He’s gone now, Hazel.’
‘I know that,’ Hazel hissed, her heart beating faster. ‘But they don’t know about you.’ She could hear footsteps coming closer across the wooden floor. She didn’t dare look around. It was bound to be one of her daughters.
‘We can start afresh.’
‘Hello?’ It was Felicity who’d stepped up beside her mother.
‘Who are you?’ June asked.
‘My name is Alice Pollard.’ The woman smiled at each of them.
Hazel’s heart beat so fast and her head pounded so hard she thought herself in danger of having a stroke like the one that had killed her husband.
‘I’ve just farewelled my husband . . . this is not the time.’
‘For what, Mum?’ It was June’s sharp voice again. ‘What’s going on?’
Alice fixed her gaze on Hazel. ‘I’m Alice Pollard nee Jones . . . your mother’s sister.’
ABOUT ‘THE FAMILY INHERITANCE’: Felicity Lewis’s fiftieth birthday party in her newly renovated home, loving husband and daughter Greta by her side, is going off with a bang when disaster strikes. Her father, Franklyn, with his usual impeccable timing, has keeled over and died.
For some members of the family, his wife Hazel for example, Franklyn’s death is not the great loss it first appears to be. But when his toxic and inexplicable will is read out, it becomes clear that long-buried secrets are about to surface, starting with the astonishing reappearance of Hazel’s long-lost sister.
Indeed, Franklyn’s death sets in motion a chain of events that will cause three generations of Gifford family women to question everything they hold dear – their relationships, their loyalties, even their identities. Until, that is, they choose to fight back against their dark inheritance …
MY THOUGHTS: An absolutely delicious family saga full of decades old secrets and the lies that are perpetuated to keep those secrets.
I loved this story of four women whose lives are turned upside down when the family patriarch dies and his will is read. Believe me, you will love to hate Franklyn Gifford, a miserable old git who has found a way to maintain control over his family even after his death.
His widow Hazel is secretly relieved by his death, believing herself to be free for the first time since she married him. But Franklyn has other plans for her, his will leaving Hazel almost destitute, and her family ripped apart.
The story is told from the points of view of four women: Hazel, the widow; her estranged sister Alice; Hazel’s younger daughter, Felicity; and Felicity’s daughter, Greta, all of whom are facing a watershed moment in their lives.
The characters are totally relatable with a good mix of traits. There are characters that you will root for, characters that you will worry about, and one or two that are eminently dislikeable. Stringer makes good use of the weapon of inherited money, the rifts it causes, and the greed that becomes evident at times like these.
I would have liked for the furore that I imagine would have occurred when Hazel contests the will to have been included as I can’t see June and her husband meekly accepting Hazel’s decision, but the whole situation is skipped, which is my only, and minor, criticism.
The Family Inheritance is a well written, moving family saga with a tightly woven plot that kept me absorbed from start to finish.
I: @triciastringerauthor @hqstories
T: @tricia_stringer @HQstories
#australianfiction #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #sliceoflife #womensfiction
THE AUTHOR: Tricia lives in the beautiful Copper Coast region of South Australia, often exploring Australia’s diverse communities and landscapes, and shares this passion for the country and its people through her authentic stories and their vivid characters.
DISCLOSURE: I borrowed a copy of The Family Inheritance by Tricia Stringer published by HQ Fiction from the Waitomo District Library. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.