Legacy recounts the story of three generations of women who must overcome great challenges, with varying degrees of success. Hannah migrates to the US with her father just before WWI. Her daughter Pearl nurses men, including her own husband, through WWII, while Sarah must fight to save her marriage while making a key decision about her career. The action moves from New York City to Montana and back.
The author clearly has a good story to tell, yet it’s buried beneath poor writing technique. Much of the prose is awkward, overblown and interrupted by information dumps. In addition, the point of view often jumps indiscriminately and includes jarring, chapter-long flashbacks. A thorough edit could have allowed the story to shine through. By far the biggest problem, however, is that the lead female characters are all too good to be true: beautiful, intelligent, graceful and talented with nary a flaw between them. Many of the secondary characters were thus afflicted as well, making it difficult to truly identify with them. Appealing characters are necessary to a good book; perfect ones are not.
That said, I cannot say the novel is not worth reading. The author effectively conveys his settings, especially Montana, and the story moves along at a good pace. Some of his descriptions are especially picturesque, such as when Hannah and her father first see Butte from the train. In some places the writing is quite lyrical, and the plot is sound and paced evenly. Despite its weaknesses, this family saga provides an interesting overview of the twentieth century and might prove a pleasant diversion for readers willing to overlook its flaws.