The Bequest

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Pub Date Apr 06 2023 | Archive Date Apr 14 2023
Aria & Aries | Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book

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A PhD student uncovers dark secrets in this 'richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable' (Joyce Carol Oates) Gothic mystery set in Scotland, Italy, and France. For fans of The Secret History.

Fleeing a disastrous affair with a colleague in Boston, Isabel Henley moves to Scotland to begin a PhD, only to learn upon arrival that her advisor has died mysteriously. Soon afterwards, Isabel is informed that another scholar is about to publish a book on her dissertation topic, leaving her disconcerted and in search of a new subject.

After such a rocky start to life overseas, Isabel needs a good friend, and finds one when she reconnects with Rose Brewster, a charismatic former classmate. But when Rose reveals she is in trouble, 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 captive, and unless Isabel can complete her friend's research, both women will be killed.

Isabel follows Rose's paper trail through Genoa, Florence and Paris. She uncovers family secrets, the legend of an enormous cursed emerald, and a chain of betrayal and treason lasting centuries. If she can put the pieces together in time, Isabel may solve a 400-year-old mystery... and save her life and her friend's 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 and Donna Tartt.

A PhD student uncovers dark secrets in this 'richly atmospheric and irresistibly readable' (Joyce Carol Oates) Gothic mystery set in Scotland, Italy, and France. For fans of The Secret History.


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781804548950
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Average rating from 12 members

Featured Reviews

I loved how much actual academia there was in this Dark Academia thriller, with plenty of research and intriguing historical interplay. The thriller aspects were also well done, with so many plot twists and turns that I was thoroughly entertained by. In particular, the way Margaret brings both historical and contemporary plotlines into play is fantastic.

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Isabel leaves her life in America to start a PhD in Scotland where becomes close with fellow scholar Rose, who she knew from her college back home. Suddenly Rose disappears and everyone believes that she committed suicide, but Isabel finds that Rose is actually being held prisoner to prevent her from working on her research topic. Isabel is tasked with finishing the project to save Rose and begins a journey across Europe to dig into something mysterious that happened 400 years ago.

The Bequest is a brilliantly dark and suspenseful book.

The plot was incredibly gripping and I could not have possibly guessed where it was heading, which made it really exciting. I found the pace of the book to be quite unique because a lot of the scenes moved along quickly but as a whole it went at a very steady speed.

As a reader you are given a fascinating glimpse into the life of a historian. I really enjoyed that everything is so clearly well-researched. Joanna Margaret's background and passion for the subject is evident throughout. I loved all of the settings and locations - from Scotland to Italy to France. They each had something different to offer and I could picture everything perfectly in my mind.

You will love reading this book as it makes you feel like you are part of a real adventure.

Thank you NetGalley and Aria & Aries for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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I love Dark Academia and this book didn't disappoint. It is twisty and mysterious and kept me guessing all the way through

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