The Inheritance | A Review

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whale's Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch's heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David's grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And while Hardy doesn't enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate's assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island--and its traditional way of life--hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips's dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.

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First, off, thanks to Bethany House for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review!

So basically, I chose this book because it had the words, Scotland, inheritance and change in it. Sounds pretty interesting, right?

When I started this book, I was under the impression that it would have couple of stories going – a historical one, and modern day one. It does have a few chapters that fill you in on some family history, but the bulk of the story takes place in 2005. I wasn’t expecting this, but the book didn’t disappoint me. The story is told in alternating points of view; David, the Shetland chief, and Loni, the American investments firm employee.

At first, I didn’t really like David’s narrative, it was primarily his musings and flashbacks from his childhood. It was boring. However, as the book went on, David became more interesting and three dimensional as a character, I found myself caring about what happened to him.

I would say the same for Loni’s point of view. Although I had a hard time adjusting to the frequent use of italics and exclamation marks in her narrative, I grew to care about her future and her motivations.

Another thing that surprised me was the chapter length. The chapters are short. This worked very well for me.

At its heart, The Inheritance is about belonging. In David’s case, he has found his home and future in the Shetlands, and when his place is challenged, he has to decide if he will do anything to keep it. For Loni, the issue is having a place, and a heritage to call her own. Orphaned at a young age, and raised in by her grandparents in a Quaker fellowship, Loni wants to find a place, a culture where she feels at home.

I generally consider myself a savvy and farseeing reader, but I was blindsided by the conclusion – I was expecting something to change in Loni’s life but I, for some reason, didn’t see the end coming. But I won’t tell you what happen because of spoilers.

This book has a slower pace, it gives you plenty time to think about the plot and absorb the context and culture. While this can be a plus, I feel like the book was a little too slow at times, especially when we get an info-dump about legalities and wills. However, I realize that these parts set up a situation that influences the entire novel.

Although I started this book with some hesitation – it’s over four hundred pages with smallish print – I found a book that I enjoyed, with characters that I grew to like. The journey of belonging, and the slower pace was a different one than I’m used to reading about, and after I finished it, I realized I had found a quiet, interesting place inside this book. Not unlike the Shetland islands might be like. This book is good at what it does. So, three stars!

Have you read The Inheritance? What did you think? What's your favorite book that involves a battle about wills and legal stuff?


  1. Hm, this sounds interesting. I do like the sound of the setting. :)

    1. The setting is my favorite thing about this book! :)


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