Wealthy Valentia has the perfect life—except for the nightmares that plague her, foretelling disaster if she doesn’t find the brooch her grandmother lost decades ago in Ireland. The night her family’s hotel burns to the ground, Valentia knows she can no longer wait. Risking a perilous Atlantic voyage, she heads to Ireland to discover her heritage.
But the journey exacts a terrible toll, and her health deteriorates. Struggling to navigate a new country, cope with the desperate poverty, and untangle a complicated web of family secrets, Valentia fears she’ll never find the brooch in time to save her sanity—until she discovers a clue that sends her on a desperate trek across the Irish countryside, despite the dangers.
–from the blurb for Legacy of Hunger
As the clock ticks down, her grasp on sanity slips through her fingers, forcing her to fight for a centuries-old legacy or lose everything.
Anyway, it looked interesting enough, and I figured, why not? I might as well keep the ball rolling and keep with the same theme. So, I added Legacy to my list for February. And this week, I got around to reading it.
To be honest, this book only picked up around the 30% mark. Intriguing premise aside, certain events felt choppy and two-dimensional; they just fell a little flat and lacked some emotional impact. Don’t get me wrong, they had some feeling in them, but I thought they could have been better. Unfortunately, although I greatly enjoyed that middle section of the book, the last third or so began to go downhill once more.
To start with the good, though, I did love the main plot. Valentia’s journey through Ireland in search of her family, her history, and herself made for an exciting quest. I also liked the added layer of her fight for helping the Irish. Additionally, on that note, I loved the historical accuracy and wealth of information drawn from Irish folklore. I looked up a number of the events and details, and I could tell Nicholas put a great deal of effort into research. So, I definitely praise her for that!
As for the parts I didn’t enjoy, though, that mainly had to do with Valentia’s character. I didn’t necessarily dislike her, but I felt she didn’t live up to her potential. To put it simply, although the narration told readers she was a strong, independent female character, I didn’t see any shown proof of that. I know the advice to “show, don’t tell” is a cliché, but it genuinely applies here. I won’t spoil anything, but Valentia’s reactions and behavior just didn’t impress me. She wasn’t the most disappointing female lead I’ve come across, but still. Though, admittedly, I did find myself comparing her to Maggie, and wishing I could read more for her perspective instead. She fit the bill much better, in my opinion.
All in all, I did enjoy Legacy of Hunger. Despite the book’s problems, it had its merit, too. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story but could have done without the half-baked feminist aspects. There was definitely potential in that area, but Nicholas didn’t quite succeed. So, at the end of the day, although I wouldn’t generally recommend this book, I do think those with a passion for Irish culture and history could enjoy it!
CONTENT WARNING: One scene of sexual assault/attempted rape.