Ivy Radcliffe has just inherited a massive estate called Blackwood Abbey known for its expansive and infamous library. Blackwood Library has been long coveted by academic seekers for its arcane knowledge and answers to life’s biggest questions. Now that there’s a newbie in charge, certain folks finally see a way in for them to take over the library. But Ivy isn’t your typical abbey owner. Since she’s used to men underestimating her, she just may have a few tricks up her sleeve they won’t see coming.
This book features several elements of Gothic literature. There’s an isolated protagonist, mad ghosts, secretive servants, untrustworthy secret society men, and a menacing library that makes our heroine question her own sanity. There’s a lot happening in this book, but it all blends together into a satisfying whirlwind of a narrative.
I like how strong and independent the protagonist is. There are several times in the book when she points out that she can take care of herself and how she doesn’t need a man to protect her. This book is set in 1927, during a time when women didn’t have many rights, so I appreciated the fact that she not only gets to be in charge of the abbey by herself without a husband or male relative, but also that she asserts her leadership position early and often.
However, I didn’t like how much she’s manipulated in this book. I understand for the purpose of the narrative this was the way it had to be told so that she can prevail in the end, but personally I thought it was a bit too much. I wish there was less about how much she’s being controlled by these forces, and more about how she fools them all and ultimately prevails.
Overall, The Last Heir to Blackwood Library is an engrossing novel with a lot of interesting twists and turns. Fans of poetic justice and gothic literature will enjoy this book.
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