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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Heiress


Narrators: Dan Bittner, Eliza Foss, John Pirhalla, Patti Murin

Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 978-1250280039

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 01/09/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)


When Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies, she’s not only North Carolina’s richest woman, she’s also its most notorious. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child and a widow four times over, Ruby ruled the tiny town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family’s estate high in the Blue Ridge mountains. In the aftermath of her death, that estate―along with a nine-figure fortune and the complicated legacy of being a McTavish―pass to her adopted son, Camden.


But to everyone’s surprise, Cam wants little to do with the house or the money―and even less to do with the surviving McTavishes. Instead, he rejects his inheritance, settling into a normal life as an English teacher in Colorado and marrying Jules, a woman just as eager to escape her own messy past.


Ten years later, Camden is a McTavish in name only, but a summons in the wake of his uncle’s death brings him and Jules back into the family fold at Ashby House. Its views are just as stunning as ever, its rooms just as elegant, but coming home reminds Cam why he was so quick to leave in the first place.


Jules, however, has other ideas, and the more she learns about Cam’s estranged family―and the twisted secrets they keep―the more determined she is for her husband to claim everything Ruby once intended for him to have.


But Ruby’s plans were always more complicated than they appeared. As Ashby House tightens its grip on Jules and Camden, questions about the infamous heiress come to light. Was there any truth to the persistent rumors following her disappearance as a girl? What really happened to those four husbands, who all died under mysterious circumstances? And why did she adopt Cam in the first place? Soon, Jules and Cam realize that an inheritance can entail far more than what’s written in a will––and that the bonds of family stretch far beyond the grave.












My Review


Rachel Hawkins returns following The Villa with her best yet—THE HEIRESS! Another gripping, atmospheric, twisted Gothic suspense thriller full of dark family secrets of a complex, mysterious heiress and the inheritance she left behind.


1943 Tavistock, North Carolina. On September 12th, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, a three-year-old daughter (Ruby) of Mr. Mason McTavish and his wife Anna seemingly vanished into thin air while on a picnic. Mr. McTavish is among the wealthiest men in the state of NC.


Ruby disappeared for almost a year. A PI was hired by Mason and found the child alive and well, living in Spanish Fort, Alabama, with a family by the name of Darnell eight months after she first disappeared. She was called Dora there and reunited with her family. Jimmy Darnell was killed while attempting to escape the jail before his trial.


When heiress, philanthropist, and one-time kidnap victim Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies at age 73, she is NC's wealthiest and most notorious woman. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child and a widow four times over, Ruby ruled the tiny town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family's stunning estate high in the Blue Ridge mountains.


Ruby also had a string of bad luck and mishaps with her husband's death. The last husband gave her a nickname in NC, Mrs. Kill-more. She reverted to her maiden name, Ruby McTavish, afterward.


After her death, the estate and the nine-figure fortune were to be passed to her adopted son, Camden. Cam wants little to do with the house or the money. He rejects his inheritance and leads an everyday life as an English teacher in Colorado. He marries Jules, a woman who also escapes her past.


Ten years later, Camden is summoned upon his uncle's death and returns to the Ashby House with his wife, Jules. His cousin, Ben, his childhood tormentor and bully, contacts him after his father's death to deal with the family's problems.


The more Jules learns about Cam's estranged, twisted family, the more she is to claim everything that was intended for him.


Was there any truth to the persistent rumors following her disappearance as a girl? What happened to those four husbands, who all died under mysterious circumstances? And why did she adopt Cam in the first place?


In addition to the POV, there are other estranged family members: the Nanny, Ben, the cousin, an estate lawyer, his sister Libby, and great aunt Nelle, Ruby's sister. Behind closed doors, this family has SO MANY DARK SECRETS!


Who are these people? The people they were born to be or the people they became? Fate? Destiny? Are we made up of different types of people?


Soon, Jules and Cam realize that an inheritance can entail far more than what's written in a will––and that the bonds of family stretch far beyond the grave.


THE HEIRESS unfolds in alternating (past/preset) POVs of Jules, Camden, and Ruby (letters from the desk of Ruby A. McTavish). Who was she writing to?


These POVs teach us about childhoods, scandals, secrets, and marriages. All three are hiding secrets from one another. Nothing was simple with Ruby. From past to present, the complex past unfolds, and Ruby's mysterious childhood and letters kept me frantically turning the pages, anxious to see how all would turn out.


If you enjoy unlikeable dark characters, lies, secrets of the past, deception, murder mysteries, dysfunctional family drama, past and present timelines, twists, gothic vibes, manipulation, ambiguous morals, and stories of the wealthy, THE HEIRESS is for you! Money truly is the root of all evil—THE RICH GONE BAD.


Dark, sinister, wicked, riveting! THE HEIRESS is my favorite of Rachel Hawkins —For fans of authors Megan Miranda, Carol Goodman, Ruth Ware, Lisa Jewell, Shari Lapena, and Riley Sager.


Many thanks and gratitude to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a digital reviewer copy of this stellar thriller in exchange for my honest thoughts. #SMPInfluencers


@JudithDCollins #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Jan 9, 2023













Praise


A January Indie Next Pick and LibraryReads Pick


"Hawkins does an excellent job keeping readers off-balance throughout. Nonstop twists and surprises make this a true thrill ride…a delicious tale of murder, greed, and the ties that bind." ―Publishers Weekly


"Rachel Hawkins delivers another read-in-a-sitting knockout. The Heiress has it all―murder, secrets, Gothic vibes, and one of the most deliciously twisted families ever put to page. I loved it!"

―Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The Only One Left


"Featuring unreliable narrators and twists throughout, Hawkins' latest continues her reign as the queen of slow-burn domestic thrillers. This is a page-turner that readers will find hard to put down and is perfect for fans of stories with ambiguous morals and dysfunctional families."

―Booklist







About the Author



Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel Hawkins has been writing since Kindergarten when her first book, a tense thriller involving a unicorn, a witch, and a princess, was called, “very imaginative!” by her teacher and “a searing work of genius” by her mother.


Since then, Rachel has written over a dozen books for children and adults (sadly all unicorn-free thus far), and been published in more than twenty countries. As Rachel Hawkins, she wrote the New York Times bestselling THE WIFE UPSTAIRS, a Southern Gothic twist on JANE EYRE that the Southern Review of Books called, “a thrill ride,” and Entertainment Weekly dubbed, “a gothic thriller laced with arsenic.” Her latest thriller, RECKLESS GIRLS, also debuted on the New York Times list with Kirkus calling it, “a soapy, claustrophobic page-turner.”


When not writing modern Gothic thrillers as Rachel Hawkins, she also pens paranormal romantic comedies under the name Erin Sterling. Her debut romance, THE EX HEX, was a Book of the Month pick as well as a New York Times and USA Today Bestseller.


Rachel currently lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband, son, and five cats. (Yes, five. She knows.). In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and picking up an assortment of creative hobbies she will give up on after a week or two. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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