Title: Legacy of Lies (Dark Secrets #1)
Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Released: October 1 2000
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Goodreads Rating: 3.98 (of 3,298 ratings)
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Megan had seen Scarborough House only in her dreams. Now Megan was here, visiting the grandmother she’d never met, and her newfound cousin Matt, too handsome by far, who wanted her to disappear. Grandmother was so cold, so distant. Why did she finally reach out to Megan after all these years? And why was Matt so determined to call her his “almost” cousin? For all her prophetic dreams, nothing could have prepared Megan for Matt’s astonishment when he first saw her…or the reaction of perfect strangers who looked at her with fascination — and fear…
Mystery: Megan arrives at Scarborough house with the eerie feeling that she has walked the halls before. She feels drawn to the grave of Avril Scarborough, her great-aunt that died under mysterious circumstances fifty years ago, and recalls details she couldn’t possibly know as a newcomer to Scarborough. Soon, Megan is unable to twist her own thoughts from memories she associates to Avril’s tragic last days, and she realizes that if she doesn’t find answers soon, she may meet the same fate as her great-aunt.
This mystery was eerie and brought in some supernatural forces towards the end. I was weirded out by the events going on in Scarborough House that, equally, terrified Megan into believing someone meant her ill. I didn’t suspect the whodunit until everything was revealed.
Characters: Megan is a great main character, if a little unrealistic to the majority of sixteen-year-olds today. (Bear in mind this is written in 2000.) She is quick to befriend others and stands up for her mother and family back home against her grandmother, the narrow-minded Helen Scarborough. Helen is depicted as an antagonist from the start of the book (she sent away her daughter for marrying a man of another race and doesn’t acknowledge her grandchildren because they are adopted). Her attitude is erratic in the novel (explained in part by the mystery) but she does show character growth at the end.
Romance: It’s hardly a spoiler when the summary itself indicates Megan’s attraction for her cousin. Chandler avoids an insta-love romance narrowly, but Megan and Matt’s connection does lack any true on-page chemistry for the reader. The pair are comfortable at best.
VERDICT: Read this book if you want to be suitably creeped out and not distracted by a romance sneaking in every other page.