What has happened to Ingrid?
The premise of this book, The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter, is utterly enthralling. Ingrid, beautiful and enigmatic, has an appointment downtown at 9am on September 11, 2001. And is never seen again.
Or is she?
At the start of the novel it is 1996 and Ingrid is welcomed with open arms into her uncle\’s home in Sydney after the deaths of her parents. There she meets her cousin Ralph, who is instantly besotted with her, and his friend Julia â€“ the real protagonist in this story â€“ who is equally besotted with him. A kind of twisted love triangle (involving cousins, unrequited love and the very real assumption that Ralph is actually gay) develops and, despite it all, the three develop a close bond and seemingly unshakeable friendship.
When her uncle dies an unexpected bequest gives Ingrid choices she never dreamt of. With the full support of Ralph and Julia, she sets off on an adventure â€“ travelling to Venice and other such romantic destinations. Whilst there, she meets Gil Grey, a mysterious New Yorker and falls madly in love. She subsequently moves to New York to marry Grey, becoming a step-mother in the process. As her life develops over there, her contact with Ralph and Julia diminishes and they all move on with their lives to some extent.
Fast forward to September 11, 2001 and Ingrid is reported missing, presumed dead, after the attacks on the Twin Towers. She had an appointment scheduled with her financial advisor at 9am on that fateful morning.
For some reason Ralph is unable to let go, and, unable to travel due to his own ill-health, persuades Julia to travel to New York to search for some kind of clue as to what actually happened to Ingrid. He wants to know about her life following her marriage â€“ was she happy, fulfilled, did she miss him? And so Julia travels to New York where she spends her time talking to friends of Ingrid\’s, and where the secrets come out in dribs and drabs.
As this mystery develops, Julia becomes the keeper of secrets, and she holds on to the information she has gathered to preserve the trust of those around her. There is more to Ingrid\’s story than meets the eye and Julia finds herself in unsettling territory as the novel progresses.
Part mystery, part love story, The Legacy is beautifully written. It is a haunting tale that leaves it\’s riddle largely unsolved and keeps you wondering, even after the final page is turned. For me though, the story spoke of the power of friendship and the lengths to which you would go to cherish the memory of a beloved friend.
Available now: HarperCollins RRP$32.99