This is the latest book by Tilly Bagshawe that I found on the library shelf recently, and I was surprised to find that it was published in 2014. Like all the books by her, this one is a good size (502 pages) and a good read.
There are two parts to the novel: ‘The Usurpers’ and ‘The Reckoning’.
The Usurpers are Brett and Angela Cranley and their children Jason and Logan, who are the new inhabitants of a manor at Fittlescombe called Furlings. The recently-deceased owner, Lord Roly Flint-Hamilton, had disowned his daughter, 24-year-old Tatiana and bequeathed the property to Brett, a distant cousin and property developer in Australia.
Naturally, Tatiana is mad that her birthright has been stolen under her nose. Furthermore, Lord Flint-Hamilton had stipulated that only if Tatiana agreed to take a lowly job as a local primary school teacher that she would get a ‘modest’ monthly stipend in the form of regular income payments.
By marrying Jason, who is 5 years her junior, and securing access to his very sizeable trust fund, Tatiana hopes she is able to take a step closer to getting her beloved home back. She also sees that, with this marriage, she is helping Jason to escape a life that has been enslaved and belittled by a tyrannical father. They eloped on his 21st birthday.
Five years later, in The Reckoning, the various characters realise that money cannot buy happiness. Furlings has become the unbreakable chain that bound Brett and Tatiana together; it is the only ace in Brett’s hand and that makes it priceless. At the same time, Tatiana is blinded by her own need to get Furlings back and right the wrongs of the past. While Furlings is still standing, and while Brett keeps it from her, Tatiana is condemned to wander the world like a lost soul.
Actually, is it Furlings that Tatiana wants? Or is it Brett?
Besides the main plot, there are many sub-plots, involving a multitude of characters like the farmer, his screenwriter-wife, the former headmaster of the village school and the new headmaster, a widower with two young daughters, the art teacher, an art gallery owner and his family, a cricket star, an artist, a supermodel, a stockbroker, a few solicitors, bankers, accountant, investors, and more.
Together, these characters make an intriguing story. Add to it the music – Jason is a classically trained, aspiring jazz pianist, so there are a number of scenes of him playing on his Steinway at home and at clubs – and The Inheritance would make a good movie.