The Bequest

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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2022

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Description

After her professor’s suspicious death, a PhD student uncovers dark machinations among her academic associates in this "richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable" (Joyce Carol Oates) Gothic mystery set between Scotland, Italy, and France.

Fleeing a disastrous affair with a colleague in Boston, Isabel Henley moves to Scotland to begin a PhD with a renowned feminist professor—only to learn, upon arrival, that her advisor has suffered a deadly fall. Soon after, Isabel is informed that another scholar at the university is about to publish a book on her dissertation topic, leaving her discouraged and in search of a new subject, all while struggling to acclimate to her new home abroad.

Isabel needs a good friend during such a rocky start, and finds one when she reconnects with Rose Brewster, her charismatic classmate from undergrad. But when Rose confides to Isabel that she is in trouble, and then goes missing, Isabel’s already-unsteady life is sent into a tailspin. A suicide note surfaces, followed by a coded message: Rose is alive but, unless Isabel can complete the research begun before her friend’s disappearance, both women will be killed by her captors.

As Isabel follows the Rose’s paper trail from Genoa to Florence and, finally, to Paris, she uncovers family secrets, the legend of an enormous cursed emerald, and a chain of betrayal and treason which parallels her own perilous present. If she can put the pieces together soon, she could solve a 400-year-old mystery—and save her and her friend’s lives in the process.

Combining epistolary elements, Gothic suspense, and an atmospheric “dark academia” setting, The Bequest is a gripping literary thriller that will appeal to fans of Alex Michaelides’ The Maidens and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

About the Author: Joanna Margaret is an art historian whose previous writing and scholarly work has focused on Florentine aristocrats in sixteenth-century France. She holds a PhD from the University of St. Andrews and an MFA from NYU, where Joyce Carol Oates served as her thesis advisor. The Bequest is her first novel.

After her professor’s suspicious death, a PhD student uncovers dark machinations among her academic associates in this "richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable" (Joyce Carol Oates) Gothic...


Advance Praise

"Interlocking mysteries lie at the heart of Joanna Margaret’s richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable debut novel, the harrowing saga of a young American woman historian who finds herself embroiled in a Machiavellian plot reaching back to 16th century Italy. Whether evoking present-day Scotland in a windswept region overlooking the North Sea, or Renaissance Genoa in a time of vertiginous political plotting, The Bequest is filled with unexpected turns and revelations for the reader as well as the historian-heroine." - Joyce Carol Oates

"Interlocking mysteries lie at the heart of Joanna Margaret’s richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable debut novel, the harrowing saga of a young American woman historian who finds herself...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781613163443
PRICE $26.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

GOTHIC SCOTTISH MYSTERY THRILLER ALERT!

Ph.D student Isabel has up and fled her life in America to pursue her doctoral work with a famous feminist professor in Scotland, When she arrives, she finds the the professor has recently died under suspicious circumstances. Fortunately a college friend is in the program and the top scholar in the program, Rose takes her under her wing and shows her the ropes. Rose presents as a potential bipolar character who arrives in a frenzy and disappears for days. She then tells Isabel that she needs her help with important research - that her very life, and Isables as well, is at stake!

Isabel begins untangling the threads of Rose's research and we travel to Genoa and Paris as she tries to track down answers before time runs out. There is plenty of espionage, history and thrills! This might not be for everyone, as you will definitely learn much more about the Renaissance and old customs. Personally, I enjoyed every minute! If you love dark academia, historical mysteries, and atmospheric reads, the Bequest is for you!
#PenzlerPublishing #TheBequest #JoannaMargaret #NetGalley

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