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The Legacy

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Member Reviews

Gail Bowen has Joanne Kilbourn look at The Legacy of Stephen who has published a book which he now appeared to have plagiarized. Stephen's daughter is marrying Joanne's son so the situation is sticky. The marriage goes off ok, but the news goes public. lots of drama and death follows, Intriguing Canadian western mystery.

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A fascinating mixture of mystery and family drama makes for a compelling plot line. The interplay between characters adds great depth and I really enjoyed the clarity of descriptions which the author brings to set the scene. I wish I had read the first book before this one, though, as I feel I would have benefited from the history to some of the relationships.

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This outing is the 22nd book in the Joanne Kilborn series by Gail Bowen. In this installment, Joanne’s youngest son, Angus is marrying his childhood sweetheart, Leah. In the leadup to the wedding, Joanne is reunited with Val, a former student who has just written a biography of the novelist, Steven Brooks – Leah’s father. However, days before the wedding, a young woman is making allegations that it was her grandmother who actually wrote Steven’s last two books and that upon her death, Steven took credit for the novels and had them published under his name. Joanne and her husband, Zack, work to find out the truth while at the same time trying to shield Leah from this upsetting news at a time which should be one of the happiest of her life.

I have read all of this series and a big appeal for me is the fact that they are set in Regina, Saskatchewan where I live so it is always fun to read about locations, streets and businesses that I am very familiar with. I gave this installment 4/5 stars – I found the storyline interesting and it was nice to see the book focus on Joanne’s son, Angus as many of the previous books have focused on the other children of Joanne’s. As I have said before, as long as Gail is interested in writing this series, I will keep reading it but I do urge readers to begin at book one and read chronologically as you will just miss too much history if you try to read them as standalones.

Thank you to Netgalley and ECW Press for a copy of this novel.

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Plagiarism is not a crime but it is a civil offence. The punishment is mainly loss of reputation; a legacy ruined. Can it ever be a reason to kill or be killed? When Joanne Kilbourn bumps into the writer Valentine Masluck, she is surprised to recognise him as Val Massey a former journalism student of hers whom she hasn’t seen for fourteen years. Val had been one of the students under the spell of the charismatic lecturer and sociopath Tom Kelsoe, now serving 22 years for the murder of a fellow student and another lecturer. Val had been deeply affected by these events but now has an established reputation and has just finished writing the biography of Stephen Brooks, a previously undistinguished novelist who, after a prolonged period of writer’s block, suddenly produced two major, seminal and prizewinning novels which has secured his name in the pantheon of the greats, and assured a permanent legacy. There are unsubstantiated suspicions that Brooks must have had help in writing these, or even that he had plagiarised them. But, if that were the case, why has the collaborator or plagiarised person never come forward? Brooks is famously a loner, isolating himself from everyone including his daughter, Leah, who had been taken in and brought up by her aunts. By coincidence Leah is about to marry her long-term boyfriend, Angus, who is Joanne’s son. As the wedding approaches and Joanne becomes more enmeshed in the mystery (if there is one) of Brooks’s success, there is increasing likelihood that the situation might resolve explosively.
This is the latest in the Joanne Kilbourn/Shreeve series and it does refer back to previous events and people, but potted histories fill in any useful, and quite a lot of incidental, information. The incidental type is a feature of the series, because Bowen has created a hugely complex group of family, friends, acquaintances and passing strangers, around Joanne and her second husband Zack Shreve (a helpful list of the dramatis personae is included, as usual). Many of the books are, therefore, more family dramas than actual mystery stories in the usual sense (I have reviewed previous books in the series and alluded to the similarity to Soap Operas in that there are lots of characters and dedicated fans). This book is more “family” than most. Readers of crime stories/murder mysteries (even cosy style) will find this fairly unexciting. It is, however, well written, as are all the others, and enjoyable as a read. I think 2.5 stars as a crime story and 4.5 as an exemplar of the series, which make 3.5 and rounds to 4
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.

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I think it's a well written and multilayered story but somehow it didn't work for me as I found it a bit to dark for my taste
As I assume it's matter of mood I recommend it because the plot is well done.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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The Legacy by Gail Bowen is a mix of reflection and complex family dynamics. On the cusp of Joanne’s youngest son’s marriage, fans are treated to a look into what’s happening in Joanne and Zack’s personal life. One of the best things about the Joanne Kilbourn series is Bowen’s ability to make Joanne a mature, three-dimensional woman with an active life full of all the activities usually associated with much younger protagonists. The Shreve family’s day to day is intertwined with a slow burn of a mystery involving their future daughter-in-law’s father. What follows is a complex web of past and present happenings that end in a page turning resolution.

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Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC copy in return for my honest review.

I'm a huge fan of the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve books. I've read every one, all 22. Joanne, her family and friends are like old friends for me. I also live where most of the books are set and I imagine one day walking down the street, running into her. Yes, I know they're fiction but a girl can hope.

This latest book begins on a happy note with Joanne's son marrying his long time girlfriend. Preparations are under way, family and friends returning, all is right in the Shreve household. Before the wedding Joanne is approached by a former journalism student, Val Masluk. He's been chosen to write the biography of Steven Brooks, a well known Canadian author and the father of the bride. There's always been a few rumours swirling about the success of a couple of Steven's books, and interest is heating up again with more secrets coming out. Secrets that also lead back to a group of journalism students, including Val, the deaths of two people and the murder conviction of one. Outing these secrets will bring a lot of pain to Joanne's family and friends but will they also bring more tragedy?

It's an excellent book. Gail takes her time developing the story line, reminding us of connections between the characters. Because she handles it so well, it's not necessary to have read previous books, but this is such an excellent series all the books deserve a read.

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As a long-time reader of the Joanne Kilbourn series, I do like seeing her adult children reaching key milestones. Joanne's youngest son Angus is getting married to Leah Drache but the outdoor late summer wedding celebration is tainted by the absence of Leah's father, reclusive author Steven Brooks. Joanne also reunites with former student Val Masluk who has recently penned Brooks' biography. When the biography's upcoming publication reveals troubling questions about Brooks' authorship of his most celebrated books, Joanne tries to shield Angus, Leah and her family from the toxic fallout.

Some negatives: The story was a slow-moving read. The links to a double-murder & the killer's machinations from prison might be confusing to readers who had not read the previous books. The violent ending was a bit jarring for me.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley & ECW Press. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you to NetGalley and ECW Press for this ARC. The Legacy is a great addition to the Joanne Kilbourn series. It’s great reading about Joanne’s growing family and relationships, love and loss, and as always there is a murder to solve! Fantastic!

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In the approach to a marriage that will made a famous novelist an in-law, Joanne and her husband get involved with his biographer and are informed, by anonymous message, that something is missing from the biography. Who is threatening the author's reputation and why? And why is he such a nasty piece of work?

While I was able to figure out what was going on and who all the characters were, helped by a character list, this seemed like a book written with long-time series readers in mind. A lot of the action had to do with relationships among family and friends. The mystery itself seems to tie to a previous story involving someone who is now in prison but still able to influence events. It wasn't too confusing, she was able to make it possible for first-timers to know who was who and how the mysteries were related, but it was a bit like going to a party without knowing anyone. I can imagine this would be great for readers who follow the series (and/or who love to read about weddings and meals) but it was not as engaging for me. Maybe just not my cuppa.

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The Legacy is the latest instalment in the Joanne Kilbourn Mystery series. This time the Kilbourn Shreves are celebrating the upcoming nuptials of youngest son Angus to his childhood love Leah Drache, whose absentee father is the reclusive author Steven Brooks. However, the happy event is overshadowed by Steven Brook’s past and accusations that he plagiarized his best selling books. As well, Joanne reunites with a former student who she shares tragic and haunted memories with, who wrote the biography of Brooks and now his material may come into question. There are threats made to the upcoming publication and Joanne is determined to solve the mystery as well as ensure that Angus and Leah are shielded from the danger.

What I liked about this book:
-the ever evolving lives of the Kilbourn Shreve family along with their extended family and friends-I have read all the novels and feel like I personally know the characters and have grown up with them
-Joanne and Zack’s relationship
-the rich storytelling and pacing of the book
-living vicariously through the characters in the wealthy world of professionals of Regina and the Shreves cottage life at Lawyers Bay
-loved that it takes place in Canada and has relevant issues dealing with Canadian culture

What I didn’t like about the book:
-my only minor complaint was that at times the dialogue was a little artificial sounding

My rating: 4 out of 5

My final takeaway- I thoroughly enjoyed the latest novel in this series and even though it wasn’t my favourite, I look forward to future books so I can experience the lives of Joanne and her family.

Thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for this eARC which will be published October 24, 2023.

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A relaxing story, well written with a good plot and believable characters. I was surprised with the ending and that made for great read. I highly recommend The Legacy as well as the complete series. Although it could be read as a standalone, having read from the beginning increases the enjoyment immensely.

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