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ALC Review: Inheritance (The Lost Bride Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts


Release date: 21 Nov 2023

Book Rating: 3/5

Narration Rating: 4/5

Narrators: Brittany Pressley; Nora Roberts

Synopsis: Inheritance is the first in The Lost Bride Trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts—a tale of tragedies, loves found and lost, and a family haunted for generations.

1806: Astrid Poole sits in her bridal clothes, overwhelmed with happiness. But before her marriage can be consummated, she is murdered, and the circle of gold torn from her finger. Her last words are a promise to Collin never to leave him…


Graphic designer Sonya MacTavish is stunned to learn that her late father had a twin he never knew about—and that her newly discovered uncle, Collin Poole, has left her almost everything he owned, including a majestic Victorian house on the Maine coast, which the will stipulates she must live in it for at least three years. Her engagement recently broken, she sets off to find out why the boys were separated at birth—and why it was all kept secret until a genealogy website brought it to light.


Trey, the young lawyer who greets her at the sprawling clifftop manor, notes Sonya’s unease—and acknowledges that yes, the place is haunted…but just a little. Sure enough, Sonya finds objects moved and music playing out of nowhere. She sees a painting by her father inexplicably hanging in her deceased uncle’s office, and a portrait of a woman named Astrid, whom the lawyer refers to as “the first lost bride.” It’s becoming clear that Sonya has inherited far more than a house. She has inherited a centuries-old curse, and a puzzle to be solved if there is any hope of breaking it…

 

Review


Inheritance is my first Nora Roberts novel, though Roberts has written tons of stuff for a looonnnnggg time. It also caught my eye because of its promise of a haunted house and cursed brides and an old Victorian manor off the coast of Maine, which happens to be one of my favorite places (the whole state of Maine, not just the coast). The story starts off strongly with a great hook and impetus, but it really drags after Sonya arrives to her new home; and, for a book that is 432 pages and 14 hours (7 at my listening speed) long, it needed to have more substance for its promise.


Roberts does a great job here setting up Sonya’s need to get away and paving the way for her to move right into the haunted mansion she mysteriously inherits. Like the Victorian manor to which she moves, Sonya’s circumstances are right out of the Victorian era. It’s cleverly done, I’ll give it that. Once Sonya arrives at her new home, however, things fizzle out and fall very flat. For the middle 60% or so of the book, all readers experience are tiny little poltergeist actions like turning on the music or cleaning the house. We don’t get the spooky factor or the suspense effect that should come with cursed, haunted house stories.


If readers are hoping for heavy romance in this one, they may be disappointed. This book is first and foremost a haunted house story with a subplot of romance. Trey makes for a great love interest, but I didn’t feel an overwhelming spark between him and Sonya.


Overall, 3/5 for the book and 4/5 for the audio narration. The narration was excellent until the attempt at the South Louisiana accent. I could hardly make it though the dialogue during these parts. Other than that, I found it very enjoyable and easy to listen. The characters, save one, were believable and easy to tell apart; and Pressley enunciated well enough for me to listen at 2x speed with no confusion.


I don’t think this one will have a hard time selling. It’s a great premise from a prolific author; I just wasn’t as impressed with it as my expectations led me to be. I guess I hoped for something more substantial from a #1 NYT author, and I don’t feel like I got it.


My thanks to NetGalley, Macmillan Audio, and St. Martin’s Press for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.


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