Title: The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games Book 2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4.75 Stars
I read The Inheritance Games in September of last year and really enjoyed it but I am only now picking up the sequel because I was waiting for the final book to be released so I can read them closer together. The opening to The Hawthorne Legacy picks up where The Inheritance Games left off with Avery and Jameson trying to figure out how his grandfather knew that Toby who alive and why he picked Avery for the game. As Avery doesn’t want to be used by the boys she makes a bet with Jameson about who can figure this mystery out first and it seems that Jameson has a head start because he is a member of the family and has access to people that knew Toby that probably won’t talk to Avery. She is also dealing with the cold Grayson, the eccentric Xander and the seemingly uninterested Nash along with her sister, Libby who is doing more harm than good right now. Avery is still trying to adjust to this new life and she realises that Toby who she knew as Harry is already in the wind again but the purpose of the game seems to be finding him and bringing him back into the family and repairing the broken bonds here. There is also a secret surrounding Avery’s birth that needs to be solved since it seemingly went to the grave with her mother and her deadbeat father has now re-entered the picture.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, the book is moving along really quickly as they find several clues close together. The first is to confirm that Toby is alive and that he left clues of his own about what he was going to do because he found out somehow that he was adopted. This causes some tension because it means unlike Skye and Zara who don’t seem to be adopted Toby’s right to inherit despite being the oldest might be called into question which isn’t what Tobias wanted. They also uncover several clues in Toby’s wing which angers some of the older staff and seems to ramp up the tension around Hawthorne House. There they learn that Toby had kept a diary from childhood in invisible ink on his bedroom walls and it is here that Avery realises that Toby’s handwriting is the same as her father’s signature on her birth certificate. She realises that Ricky, the man she thought was her father might have known that Avery wasn’t his or might be completely unaware but it seems like Toby is her father making her a Hawthorne even though she doesn’t share their DNA and Grayson and Jameson decide they need to protect her. They also find some clues in Tobias’ original will which seems to point to Toby not having his memory. As each charities listed is different and not affiliated with the family such as a rehab clinic which the family sent Toby to and a centre that deals with memory loss and dementia. Avery begins to suspect that while Toby lost his memory after the fire and assumed the identity of Harry and somehow came to meet Avery’s mother and maybe after Avery was born he regained some of his memory which explains why he ran away when Avery was taken to Hawthorne House but now they have to find him as he seems to hold the key to the game. Avery is also being targeted by someone within the house but it can’t be Skye since she was removed but she still has enemies within these walls.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Avery and Jameson are convinced that Toby is alive and they managed to convince Xander and Grayson but a lot of the adults around them continue to believe that Toby is dead. In the course of investigating the charities in Tobias’ original will they end up finding out that Grayson’s father is the uncle of one of the boys that died in the fire on Hawthorne island so Grayson and Jameson go to pay him a visit to see if they can find out more of what was happening around the time of the fire. Avery also learns that all three of the boys involved in the fire spend time in the rehab centre and that is presumably where they met and it might be part of a conspiracy to cover up Toby’s death. Skye is also making a lot of move when they go to her to confirm the identity of Grayson’s father and she drops hints that she is sleeping with Ricky, the man she believes to be Avery’s father in order to bring another child into the world but she doesn’t know this child would be entitled to nothing because it wouldn’t be related to Avery at all if Toby being her father is confirmed. This is the reason she didn’t show as a Hawthorne by blood because Toby was adopted and doesn’t share the same DNA as Skye or Zara. It seems that family ties are being tested as Tobias wanted to bring them together again but the more Avery learns about the Hawthorne family the less likely to it seems that she will be able to do this but I can’t wait to see where this goes.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Avery is still trying to figure all the lies and backstabbing and why Tobias left them the game in the first place. With Jameson and Grayson getting hold of Grayson’s father she wasn’t expecting a phone call from them. During the phone she learns that Grayson’s father hired private investigators and learnt that the fire on Hawthorne Island wasn’t an accident but arson and Toby bought the accelerant. This means that the fire was planned to conceal Toby’s fleeing of the family and since Tobias buried the knowledge he might have known what was coming. There are also rumours that Avery’s mother was living under a false name which would make sense since Toby was as well but she doesn’t understand why. With Skye and Ricky pitting themselves against Avery, Libby steps up to do her duty as Avery’s sister but I don’t know how Libby is going to feel when Avery’s DNA results come back. They also find a clue where the bequests in Tobias’s will relate to places. He talks about leaving Skye a compass to find True North and that’s the family ski lodge. While Nash and Xander come with Avery, Grayson and Jameson meet them there. They learn that Skye and Zara may have fought over a man named Jake Nash and this is definitely Nash’s father as Skye has a pattern. Her pattern is she gives her son’s their father’s last name so Sheffield Grayson is Grayson’s father and so.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, more clues are coming to light about Toby and Tobias but it seems like the game wasn’t designed originally for the grandsons but for Tobias’s daughters. As they dig deeper they find who they believe to be Nash’s father and the next clue at a different destination. Since Avery can’t leave the country for more than a day or two she sends Libby and Nash to check out and I really liked how much stronger Libby had become and I would like to see more of her and Nash’s relationship. Avery’s relationship with Jameson is also developing although they agree to keep it casually and not make demands or expectations of each other. I was wondering how Grayson fits in this since he also has a connection with Avery but it is more subtle than her connection to Jameson. There also seems to be more of a threat on Avery’s life in this book as people are following her and getting far closer than they should be able to without inside help. I also wanted Nash to be more involved since the rest of the brothers are but he is far older than the others which could be the reason. However I think Avery might approach him about Toby since Nash is the only one old enough to remember him.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Nash has become more involved as he is searching for the clues wherever Avery sends him. The last one he and Libby found told them to stop looking for Toby since it seems like he doesn’t want to be found but he is the lynchpin to everything that is happening to our characters. Skye is trying to stir up trouble but announcing their might be another heir alive and it is unsure whether she means a baby or Toby but most people assume it’s Toby. Nash and Libby do end up finding another clue to read the blank letter Tobias left along with his father which was nice since he seemed to want to be a part of Nash’s life but someone maybe Skye or Tobias prevented it. The letter is addressed to Zara and Skye from their father where he explains the situation about Toby being alive and asking them to find him if they are able to work together. Avery also makes the connection between the places in Tobias’s letter and her mother’s postcards which have messages from Toby. It turns out Toby did lose his memory and fell in love with Hannah which is Avery’s mother’s real name but when his memory returns and he remembers he is responsible for the death of Hannah’s sister, Kaylie so he flees and hides. While he continues to write to her explaining himself he makes it clear he doesn’t want to be found because he feels guilty about what he had done but it still doesn’t explain why the fire happened in the first place. There is also a really strong love triangle between Avery, Grayson and Jameson and I am hoping it ends in a throuple situation like the TID series out of she has to pick I can’t choose which one she should pick because they both have strengths and faults.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, the mystery about Toby is solved with some added excitement but I was wondering where the final book is going to go. Seeing the development in Avery was amazing as well as her relationships with the Hawthorne family especially Jameson. I really liked her relationship with Toby at the end of the novel and I hope he makes a reappearance in The Final Gambit since he was a great character. Overall, this is shaping up to be an amazing mystery series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final book as soon as I can. Highly recommended!
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