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A Few of My Favorite Things: Book Review of "Heir of Hope" by Stephenia McGee

Emily Burns is an orphan, so when she receives news she has inherited a Mississippi Plantation by the name of Ironwood she is stunned. Grateful for the fresh start selling the plantation will give her, she never considers staying in Mississippi. That is, until she makes friends with the locals, learns of her past, and meets the dashing preacher/handyman who helps her restore the house.

Oh, and the diary she finds in an old trunk in the attic that belongs to her great-great-great grandmother helps.

Now you all know that I had to read this one! After all, it had two of my favorite things – history AND genealogy!

First, I will say that I have been trying to space out my second and third reads on series books so as not to bore my readers. I picked up Heir of Hope, the second in the Ironwood Plantation Family Saga series, because of the genealogy and family history. Heir of Hope takes place 150 years after the first book, The Whistle Walk. Yes, I’m a nerd. I also like the idea of finding a great family fortune or solving a family mystery. (I previously reviewed The Whistle Walk here.)

Heir of Hope was an enjoyable read, and it is not necessary to have read the first book in the series. As a matter of fact, reading the second so soon after the first was probably one of the more bothersome parts of reading. The author goes into long diary sections written by Lydia, the heroine in the first book, and they mostly rehash what happened there. Having just read that one, the events were fresh in my mind. Occasionally, a perspective was changed, but not often enough to keep my interest. I confess, there were times I skipped those sections, but had I not just read the other I might not have done so.

Emily Burns’ struggles to come to terms with her past and move toward her future are believable and well-paced. However, while her external and internal goals are clear, she could have been more desperate to accomplish them. The sense that her life will never be the same if she does not was not there for me. The result is an enjoyable read, but not one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. She also has a bad temper, and the things she does as a result are more reminiscent of a ten year old boy than a 20s something woman. By this time, she should have been able to handle her anger better.

I loved the aspect of revisiting a place from 150 years previous, although I found the setting, with such rich possibilities, a bit lacking. I loved the aspect of Emily finding the trunk with the diary, and of her finding out about her ancestors. I appreciated the way McGee wove the lives of the women in various generations together, making them more alike than different.

All in all an enjoyable read, if not a page turner. If you like history and especially genealogy, this one is for you.

Stephanie McGee can be found at her website here.

You can purchase Heir of Hope on Amazon here.

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