Not long after, I said goodbye to my blue-skied Sydney life and moved to a tiny chocolate box village in rural England surrounded by green, undulating countryside.
For this, I entirely blame – and also thank – Bagshaw for her exquisite descriptions of Swell Valley’s English rural idyll in these completely brilliant books.
Our new home is a honey-coloured stone cottage at the heart of a lush, green valley, punctuated by the occasional church spire and bleating of sheep. (Yes, I’m totally easily swayed and do realize Swell Valley is a made up place!)
It will come as little surprise to learn I absolutely loved this book. I drank in the eccentric characters, basked in each glorious countryside descriptions, and thoroughly enjoyed every – and there were many – of the scandalous moments.
In every English village, there’s always one house referred to by all reverentially as, “The Big House”. In Fittlescombe, where our story takes place, the ‘big house’ is Furlings. Owned by ailing Rory Flint-Hamilton, Furlings, is an awe-inspiring country pile.
As Rory’s health declines he feels he can no longer leave the house to his wayward, socialite daughter, Tatiana to inherit. The old man passes away and to Tati’s disgust, the estate is passed to a new family.
The Cranley’s move in, and wife and homemaker, Angela sets about ensuring everything is perfect.
Her husband, Brett, is a wealthy womanizing bully. He quickly locks horns with the feisty Tati who is determined not to give up on her right to the family home.
Drama ensues as Tati tries everything in her power to get Furlings back with more than a few twists and turns along the way.
Tatiana Flint-Hamilton first appears naked in the driveway of her father’s mansion, golden hair flying magnificently behind her as she dramatically throws her older lover out on his ear.
Tati is gorgeous, strong-willed, feisty and an absolute brat. A London ‘it’ girl used to a hedonistic life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Some readers might be put off by Tati’s strong language in the first scene, but personally I found her evolving character to be part of The Inheritance’s charm. And of course, who wants a dull heroine?
Tati thuds down to earth with a bang when she loses her family seat. As the book progresses, Tati’s character matures, learning vital life lessons that would make her deceased father proud.
Tati is as ruthless as she is beautiful the and determined to knock the stuffing from the deplorable Brett Cranley as she claws her way back into the family home.
A love-hate relationship with Cranley develops alongside some addictive plot twists along the way.
Bagshaw’s stories are unashamedly grander and more glamorous than your standard chick-lit fare. These are books to be devoured reclining by a Mediterranean azure pool with a cocktail in hand.
I find the plots and characters utterly and enthralling and Bagshaw’s style is enjoyable and easy to read. I am also a major fan of how chunky Bagshaw’s books are. I can tear through a Sophie Kinsella in a couple of hours, but Bagshaw’s 500-plus page blockbusters definitely give me more bang for my buck.
Part of Bagshaw’s magic is successfully introducing a number of characters without confusing the reader. There’s nothing I hate more than having to flick back a few pages to remind myself who so-and-so is related to, and where they fit into the plot.
Bagshaw glides the reader into Fittlsecombe affairs seamlessly and the diversity of her characters is an absolute treat. From Gabe the handsome farmer; Max, the kindly headmaster of the local school; to Jason – one of the many men who fall for Tati’s devastating charms.
It’s a cliché, but this book truly is rip-roaring romp through the English countryside I think the fact that I moved to the other side of the world because of The Inheritance is testimony to just how much I loved it.
The village we now live in mercifully lives up to the idyllic charm of Fittlescombe – but what I’d do to meet some characters as interesting as the Swell Valley ones down the annual village fete!
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