Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: The Heirs - Susan Rieger

Title: The Heirs
Author: Susan Rieger
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 Stars

Brilliantly wrought, incisive, and stirring, The Heirs tells the story of an upper-crust Manhattan family coming undone after the death of their patriarch. Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him. The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.

In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure. Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together -- Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm -- and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor.

The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty - a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor's sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all.

A riveting portrait of a family, told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century.


The Heirs, by Susan Rieger, is a moving and epic tale of a family that deals with a shock after the loss of their patriarch.  When Rupert dies, his family moves about their lives in the way that all families do, only to receive information from a woman who claims she has two sons with Rupert. 

The story is told from alternating perspectives of the main characters.  The story comes together in a way that is shocking yet understandable. 

I appreciate that the story is told from multiple perspectives.  I think in the case of this novel, multiple perspectives lend a depth to this novel that would have otherwise been lacking.  The story is, after all, a story that involves so many people so intensely that multiple narrations seem to help. 

While it did take a couple chapters for me to really get into the novel, once I did, I was hooked.  I had to know whether or not those two kids were Rupert's kids. I had to know how Eleanor and her sons would react to whatever came their way in the midst of all the drama.  I had to see if Eleanor would crack her normally composed self and just break.  (There may have been a little break.  Read it for yourself and see!) This book will compel you to finish.

While I wouldn't say that I loved all the characters, I liked them enough to want to find out what happened to them.  They were just human enough to make me want to keep reading.  I enjoyed seeing Eleanor's development over the course of the novel as well - she was definitely my favorite character.

It may seem that having so many characters narrating and leading the story can make it feel like a soap opera almost, but I think it works for this novel.  There is a drama and tension throughout the novel that is really needed, and that helps move the book along and keep readers hooked. 

No matter what, this is a book you will want to get your hands on. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program

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