Don't you hate it when you read a fantastic book and it is the author's only or first novel?? All you want to do is go straight out and pick up another book by the same author to keep the magic going but you just can't!! It drives my reading mind mad! This is the exact feeling I had after finishing The Legacy.
I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago based on the wonderful cover which caught my attention and a combination of the description of the book and the praise on the book from another author I have enjoyed reading, Debra Adelaide. I was then pleased to see some really positive reviews about the book in our local media. But even with all of this I was not prepared for how much I would love this book and the writing displayed by Tranter.
The description of the book focuses on the character of Ingrid, a beautiful young Australian woman who moves to New York after marrying her art collector/businessman American husband, Gil Grey. From this description I was expecting Ingrid to be the real focus of the book - and she is in many ways - but the main character focus for me was Ingrid's friend, and the narrator of the book, Julia. Julia and Ingrid are introduced through Ingrid's cousin and Julia's friend, Ralph and the three become close friends during their university studies in Sydney.
The main action in the book takes place after September 11, 2001 when Ingrid is believed killed in the World Trade Tower attacks and Julia travels to New York a year after this event to discover more about the life Ingrid was leading once she had moved from Australia to marry and become a step mother to a child prodigy artist.
I found the writing and character development in this book brilliant. Tranter seems to move the plot and the characters without you really being aware of it as a reader - you just suddenly realise what has happened and the transition has been so smooth you were oblivious in a way. To me this is a sign of a great writer - I become so immersed in the world of the story I don't notice what the writer is trying to do - the action is seamless. The worlds of Sydney, New York and Paris were also beautifully written and described - the cities were clearly characters themselves and contributed so much to the way the human characters developed.
The characters felt solid and believable - they were rounded and full of flaws which always makes for a great story. The story itself could be read on so many different levels I think - for me it was a mystery, a love story, a narrative on the role that art, friendship and family play in our lives and a story of grief and loss but also hope.
I absolutely loved the experience of reading this book - I just hope Tranter is already writing her second!