Legacy begins with the discovery of a dead girl, but who is she, and who made the grisly find?
It turns out that this is not a recent event, but a flashback to what had taken place during a time of free love and excess. When exactly, we are unsure to begin with, but as the story unfolds, the lifestyle of those surrounding the dead girl are examined in fine details in order to try to resolve this awful, almost forgotten cold case.
Returning to the present, we are introduced to Celia, a writer and a free spirit from the 1970s. Liberal in her approach to life or so it seems who has a tendency to black out anything she hopes to forget from the earlier years of her life. Now she opts to live life at a slower pace, enjoying the sea air and writing a gardening column for her local newspaper. In fact, her quiet life could not be any further removed from the one she was living in her early 20’s.
But where has the reminiscing come from? It seems she has been thrown back into the past by an email sent to her by the girlfriend of a person she had once loved.
She always thought that Davy Jones, the one that got away, was the love of her life. Part of a band in the 1970s, they had had a few moments together but things never seems to flourish into anything more.
But what was in this email?
According to the sender, Celia’s ex-husband was not the man she thought he was. After all these years, her ex-husband is being accused of raping someone of their wedding night. But how can that be? Celia cannot remember him disappearing off at any point, although that could just be her selective memory once again kicking in.
Likewise, the music industry and those involved in creative arts had a very different approach to life. They all believed themselves to be liberal and open to anything, even if that meant over-doing it on the drugs or occasionally swapping partners.
Perhaps this individual is just upset, all these years later that her ex didn’t marry her instead?
Back then, men seemed to rule the world, especially if they were charming and charismatic. They could do whatever they wanted, have whatever they craved and were not subjected to the same scrutiny as women. Ironically, where they were able to count their consequences with pride, and share their exploits with their fellow revels, women who were free with their love were shunned. Sexual politics it seems remained the same regardless of the decade.
To begin with Celia cannot even remember the poor girl that is clearly very upset, or deluded. Surely her then-husband, who was always open about his affairs, would not go as far as raping someone. He could have sex with pretty much anyone he wanted; he was that kind of guy, so it seems unlikely that he would force himself onto someone. As a successful producer he had girls flocking around him.
How was she going to handle this? How do you even begin to deal with an accusation of this nature? Maybe she should just ignore it completely in the hope that it will go away. Perhaps it is a simple prank or a spam email?
Something is bothering her though. Delving back into her memories, she quickly remembers that she had been tripping on her wedding day, opting to take half a tab of acid on the way to the ceremony, but was she really that far gone she wouldn’t notice if her new husband had raped someone? If the email was true, he couldn’t even remain faithful on their wedding night. No wonder the marriage was short lived.
At the same time, her despondency of a lost life begins to set in. Whatever happened to that wild, young, drug taking risk taker?
After a second email hits however, she can no longer ignore it and decides to investigate for herself, enlisting the help of a fellow journalist Carly and her resources at the police station. She also takes this opportunity to revisit her own recollections of this time by looking back through her diaries that she had strategically locked away in her attic. Maybe it will help her uncover whether there is any truth to the allegation.
Reading through her diaries though just opens up more emotional wounds. She had fallen hard for one particular man, but it seems he just did not feel the same way. Davy could have been her one true love, her forever man, but without saying goodbye he disappeared and, if the stories are true, has since passed away.
Will Celia be able to uncover the truth? Will she finally be able to admit that the life she lived back in the 1970s was not kind to women? What is the legacy she will be leaving behind?
My Thoughts on Legacy
When I was approached to review this title, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had read that there were strong, perhaps perturbing undercurrents running throughout the novel and that, for some, the subject matter, may be distressing, but I also considered that if it contained a serious message regarding sexual abuse and the ‘Me Too Movement’ that people needed to know of its existence.
Firstly, where the narrative is concerned, once you get use to the flashbacks and the comings and goings between two different decades the story flows exceptionally well and the plot unfolds quite nicely. What I struggled with early on was trying to figure out the main theme of the novel, was it the crime or the history of sexual harassment suffered by women. Ultimately, I came to realise that the two run side by side and that it was difficult to say that one was more prominent than the other, after all one theme instigates the second, which then go on to be the main reason for the dialogue in the book.
What I did struggle with was Celia’s attitude towards the way women were treated, although I suppose many would have felt the same during the 1970s. Were women really oblivious to the way they were treated though? Today, if Celia was manipulated by men in the same way would she see it for what it really was – abuse?
Sexual politics may not have moved forward as far as we may have hoped but at least people now feel that they have more of a voice to shame those that have caused them anguish.
Putting aside the feelings I have about Celia though, and once I had got past the bad American accents, the underlining themes are important ones that need to be discussed more openly. It highlights that there is a difference between sexual promiscuity and a predator preying on the vulnerability of innocence. It stresses that female subservience is no longer something that people should have to experience again their will, regardless of what they are being told and that sexual exploitation is no longer, if it ever truly was, acceptable.
Finally, this is also a story that looks at how attitudes have changed. There is a further story line that expresses how some are so uncomfortable in their own skin that they go on to deceive those they love most. It explores the topics of gender binary stereotypes and gender fluid concepts that are a struggle for many today.
While it may be labelled as a crime novel, it is not a simple whodunit. The issues are serious and will upset some that listen to it.
Legacy is available right now on Audible. If you haven’t yet tried the audiobook app then why not take this opportunity to trial it for free for the next 30 days. Simply sign up here to listen to this emotive novel.
Have you listened to Legacy? Do you have another book with similar themes in mind, that you would recommend?
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