the legacy of us by Kristin Contino. Arizona: SparkPress, 2015. 361 pages. ****
Liz Moretti is upset at the sudden death of her grandmother, who even though she was ninety years old, had no major health issues and was still volunteering at church and a local animal shelter. While cleaning out her Nan's house and checking out the desk left to her, Liz discovers a cameo necklace and a note, "My dear Lizzie, Wear this in good health and happiness. I trust you'll know what to do with it! Keep shining brightly, and remember I love you always. xoxo Nan" Liz soon realizes that it is a locket and the message inside really baffles her, "Marry me, Ella. Yours, Joseph." Who is Joseph, certainly not the first name of her grandfather? While working her way through her grief, Liz always felt close to her Nan, but now questions whether she even knew her grandmother and wishes she had asked more questions when Nan was still living. The story spans four generations of women and takes the reader from 1905 Italy to present day Philadelphia suburbs.
Heart-warming, complicated story of multi-generations of women in a family. Liz is trying to find love while seeking closure to a past relationship with Adam. Understanding the women who have come before her helps Liz appreciate her own life and the choices she has made to arrive where she is today. Having had a strained relationship with her mother, Liz finds answers and understanding in Nan's diary. This novel serves as a wake up call to all of us to ask questions about family relationships and history, life is short and fleeting. Contino does a masterful job of speaking in the voice of each character and developing their personality and story with out confusing the reader. It's always fun to read a novel set in a locale, which is very familiar. Recognizing places that I frequent and local landmarks makes the story "real." If you are a historical fiction reader or favor family relationship books, this one is for you.
I received a copy of this novel from SparkPress to review.
Kristin Contino is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in retail, business and parenting publications, as well as a women's fiction review column for Examiner. When she's not writing, Kristin enjoys travel, photography, and spending time with her family, and dreams of moving to her favorite city, London. The legacy of us is her debut novel.