The Legacy of Eden
Meredith Pincetti thought that she had escaped her family by changing her name and moving from Iowa to New York. When she receives a letter from an attorney notifying her that her family’s farm, Aurelia, will be auctioned off, she returns to Iowa to retrieve her family’s possessions and is forced to confront her family’s difficult legacy as well as her own past.
The growth of Aurelia from a small family farm to a sprawling and prosperous estate seems, at times, like something out of a Shakespearean tragedy. Matriarch Lavinia Hathaway enters the Hathaway family in the 1940s by way of an extramarital affair, and fights to prove herself worthy of the Hathaway name. Unfortunately, Lavinia’s viciousness leads her down a path of petty revenge and jealousy, and her vendettas against members of the Hathaway family (mainly the women) destroy the people she purportedly cares about. The Hathaway family is beset by tragedy after tragedy, from premature deaths to descents into alcoholism to sexual abuse. The fourth generation of Hathaways — Lavinia’s grandchildren — are driven away from Aurelia, forcing the farm into ruin.
Told in flashbacks to the mid-20th century, Davy’s debut is reminiscent of some of the more over-the-top 1980s family sagas of revenge and redemption. It’s not always a pleasant book to read, but true to its genre, it’s difficult to put down.