Synopsis: In her stunning new novel of love and heartbreak set against the backdrop of political rebellion, author D J Presson turns her attention to 17th century England, and the story of America’s immigrant past in The Heritage. On a squalid cobblestone street in London in 1641, Nick Press happens upon a young minstrel boy lying helpless and bloodied, cruelly punished for the crime of speaking out against England’s King Charles I. In an impulsive act of kindness that will change their lives forever, Nick takes the mutilated boy home to his family’s tenant farm on Lord Percival Owen’s land at Horn Church Manor. Nick and his sister Anne know well the dangers of speaking out against the Crown. Burning with righteous passion for the cause of political and religious freedoms, hotheaded Nick fights against royalist forces with Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army in the English Civil Wars, while his bright and talented younger sister, Anne, works with their father to secretly print illegal pamphlets and opposition broadsheets in a tiny shed hidden on Lord Owen’s land. The fruits of their covert rebellion realized, they attend the historic trial and execution of the bloodthirsty monarch. But their hope for peace in the Commonwealth and the happy anticipation of Anne’s wedding day is shattered with the tragic death of their five-year old sister, Jane. The arrest of Lord Owen’s wicked son Rupert for the crime begins a chain of events that entwine their lives with his, leading to a night of violence that irrevocably seals their fates. Anne’s life is changed forever, and she must embark with Nick on a dangerous voyage across the sea to an uncertain future and a new beginning in the English colony of Virginia.
The Heritage is the beginning of a great book series. I think it is particularly interesting that the tale is based upon the author’s actual ancestors with embellishment to fill in the details. The author captured my attention with her vibrant and life-life descriptions. The characters were authentic and relatable. Nick is a smart young man who prefers to work with his hands. He is the responsible older brother who tries his best to take care of his family. Anne is a beautiful young woman who is a talented writer. She has an amazing way with words and a kind heart. John is a young man with creative genius and quick wit. He is constantly writing down ideas to make things better. Rupert is a selfish and spoiled young man from the upper class. I disliked him immediately and how his mother tried to protect him when he did wrong. It sickened me how crass he was about other people.
The story pace is steady with a little pick-up after the death of Nicholas, the family patriarch. It is sometimes easy to forget how good we have it now. Disease, illness and injury don’t usually mean death or lifetime unemployability. Thomas ends up permanently maimed and poor little Jane dies from the tragic accident that Rupert’s irresponsibility causes. I truly enjoyed reading this story and look forward to reading the next chapter in the lives of the Press family! Overall, great read for anyone who likes historical fiction mixed with romance and politics.