The Legacy of Mr Jarvis is the latest book by the women’s fiction writer Jude Hayland. It was published on 8 October 2019 by Troubadour Publishing. Thank you to NetGalley for my advance copy of this book.
The Legacy of Mr Jarvis fluctuates between the past and the present day with each chapter. The story begins when Mary Foster is suddenly moved from her childhood home outside of London to the English seaside at the age of twelve. The move is a complete shock for Mary – her parents did not consult her on the decision, and only informed her of the move as they were packing up the house. Mary and her parents move into a large house near the sea, and Mary soon learns that her parent’s have decided to open their house to lodgers. Forty years later, she starts to discover the truth behind this sudden move.
My first impression of this novel is that it is beautifully written. Jude Hayland is a skilled writer; she knows how to craft a story and create compelling and unique characters. One of my pet peeves is when characters lack a distinct voice, but I did not have to worry about that with this book. The characters are vivid and well-developed, which is essential in a story such as this one which is so character-focused. The Legacy of Mr Jarvis leaves you wondering how well you really know those around you. One of the strongest aspects of this story, in my opinion, is the ending. I won’t say more on the subject in order to avoid spoilers, but it really well done.
There is a plot here, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is compelling. It is rather beautiful though. The story is perhaps not unique, but the strong characters and beautiful writing captured my attention. If you are looking for a fast-paced novel, then The Legacy of Mr Jarvis is perhaps not for you. However, if you are craving a beautifully-written, character-driven story of life, love, and changing times then I highly recommend The Legacy of Mr Jarvis.
It is 1966 and 12 year old Mary Foster’s narrow, prescribed world is abruptly disturbed by a sudden move from suburban London to a neglected Victorian house on the south coast of England. A new friendship provides Mary with some consolation in an unfamiliar wold of seagull squawks and endless horizons. And two lodgers who swiftly move into the house.
An unexpected discover of deceit and deception, however, profoundly affects her life and Mary is left to carry on bitter, resentful, but silent on the matter.
Forty years later, Mary wants to know more. Another age, another era, another century; such secrecy seems irrelevant and cowardly and Mary is anxious for the truth. Her parents are ageing and the time left to discover more about the past is limited. However, her resolve to uncover certain stark realities is tested and she begins to question whether such clarity of understanding is really what she wants.
Jude Hayland is an author of women’s fiction from the UK. She has written and published two books, and is currently working on her third (which I can’t wait to read!).
The Legacy of Mr Jarvis is a beautifully-written book perfect for those who love character-driven stories which contain important lessons about life. It is a delightful, although sad at times, read.
My rating: ★★★★☆
Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts. As always, links to purchase this book are provided below.
Waterstones (UK): here
Foyles (UK): here
Amazon (UK): here
Amazon (US): here