You remember when I said I wasn’t confused by the family tree in the first book? Never mind.
In The Hawthorne Legacy, Avery is still living in Hawthorne House after being named the heir to Tobias Hawthorne’s massive fortune, despite the dangers from both without and within. To try to establish her connection (or lack thereof) to the family, Avery gets a DNA test done to prove who her father is. However, the results, as well as her birth certificate, call other things into question. And as she starts following the various clues, she becomes less and less sure about who she can trust—and who she cares more for, Jameson or Grayson Hawthorne.
So apparently taking a couple weeks break between books one and two led to me forgetting who most of the older generation of Hawthornes were. I had a bit of a struggle keeping them straight this time, but I think that’s more my own fault than the author’s. As the family tree is quite significant, though, it’s worth taking the time to know who is who and how they are related.
That aside, I enjoyed this second book. Watching Avery investigate the truth about the past—both the Hawthorne family’s and her own—is intriguing and unpredictable. This isn’t really one of those mysteries you can solve by noticing the little clues along the way pointing to the whodunit, but instead is a mystery you simply watch unfold. You discover things as Avery does, and it’s fun. And there’s some decent suspense, action, and peril that ramped things up from the first book in the trilogy.
As for the characters, I enjoyed seeing how they grow. I like how, with all these revelations about her past and her identity, Avery is forming a picture of who she is and who she wants to be; I’m rooting for her. I still quite like Xander (the best Hawthorne grandson, do not fight me on this), and Nash is pretty cool. I wanted to see more of Libby, Thea, and Rebecca, though what I saw was good. I still don’t trust Grayson and Jameson enough to really want either of them to end up with Avery, though. I know they both care for her, but would they have grown this fond of her if they had just met her in a normal way, or is their entire relationship built on the puzzle of the inheritance? I’m not sure, and so I’m still not really invested. I know that puts me in the minority, but I don’t care. I’m here for the mystery, not the romance, and I won’t apologize. I’m Team Avery Survives, that’s all.
I thought the last act of this story was probably the best, as the stakes got ramped up, and the action—plus the revelation about certain things—was excellent. And the third book promises to be great, too! I’ll definitely read it soon, since I already have it waiting for me on my shelf.
In the end, The Hawthorne Legacy is a great continuation of the story begun in the first book. The mystery’s unfolding is fascinating, the character growth is natural and compelling, and the romance—while not my favorite thing—serves as a decent subplot that I’m sure many people love. I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion to Avery’s story!