Publisher: William Morrow
Published: February 23, 2016
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Cassie Blackwell has come to Raleigh College at Oxford not so much for the education, but to find out about her past and what drove her mother to the erratic, chaotic life she led. What she finds is nothing like what she expected. Even more alarming, she could not have begun to imagine the secrets that will be unveiled as she tries to find her mother’s past.
Running late due to her travel from her home in America to the first day orientation events Cassie is quickly caught in a whirlwind of activities. From having her photograph taken to a welcome tea to being assigned a room only to have herself tossed out and sent to an attic room to be shared with a young, impressionable new student she barely has time to catch her breath. Her new roommate, Evie, seems a port in the storm, albeit not that quiet of one. Evie is quickly caught up in the social whirl that is Raleigh and constantly invites Cassie to come along. Determined to keep up with her studies and find her mother’s past Cassie initially declines each invitation. At the same time she manages to connect with a librarian who offers to help with what he believes to be her academic research. And then there is Charlie who seems to keep turning up where ever she goes. Cassie struggles to keep to herself, to stay the course finding her past, yet with each new revelation she is pulled deeper into unexpected and unanticipated mysteries. And then, just when she believes she is on the right path, when she is finally able to relax and take part in the social whirl that is Raleigh, there is a death…a totally unexpected death that takes her even deeper into the labyrinth that exists just below the surface. Can Cassie escape the past which in turn is her future?
When Ann A. McDonald’s THE OXFORD INHERITANCE first arrived I was drawn in by the cover. Having been an avid reader of romances and fantasizing about the hunky cover models for years I have become more or less numb to most covers. A cute cat catches my eye, but for the most part, the story’s blurb is what gets my attention. In this case, the cover…a book, what appears to be an old book, with a key and a red ribbon against a black backdrop caught my eye.
And then there was the blurb…Revenge meets A Discovery of Witches. A favorite TV show and a book I’ve read three times…what more could I want?
Let me start by saying I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Ann A. McDonald’s THE OXFORD INHERITANCE. It is probably one of the best books I have read this year. I started it Saturday morning and just could not put it down…sitting up reading at 3 in the morning I gave up deluding myself thinking that “one more chapter” and I’d go to bed and continued through to the very end. And at the end all I could say was “wow” and sit there for a bit thinking over the ending. With so many good books out there to read it’s rare I plan to sit down and do a re-read almost immediately. With this one I’ve already started to re-read because it is that good and I’m sure I missed a thing or too.
As to the Revenge meeting A Discovery of Witches – not even close. McDonald’s writing is unique and the story had nothing to do with either the TV show or Harkness’s book and it is a disservice to McDonald’s fantastically told story to compare them. She truly stands on her own with a distinctive voice and a story that definitely stokes the imagination. There are some wonderful bits of gothic intrigue – another plus for me. That McDonald is originally from Sussex and attended Oxford lends itself to how she not only describes the environs, but makes the reader part of what is going on in the story. Every time I thought I figured out who the good guys were something shifted making this a page gripping thriller.
This is one book you simply do not want to miss.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.