Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Product DetailsFrom the first page of Michael Phillip's latest book THE INHERITANCE, the language itself evokes the feeling of the fictional Shetland island called Whales Reef and its centuries old manners and customs.  You might think that a modern setting would not be fitting for a tale about lordly inheritance and such, but 'tis far from the truth for Whales Reef is a special place where residents hold tight to the Scottish ways of life from previous eras.  Loyality to chief (head of clan), bard (poet or spiritual leader), Laird (Lord or landlord) and clan (family group) was "bred deep to the marrow of their souls."  When Laird Macgregor Tulloch dies, without children, everyone assumes the title and the lands will pass to his great nephew David who is the chief of the clan.  But without a written will, probate officials must search for all qualified heirs, and that includes David's step-cousin Hardar Tulloch.  It has been quite a while since I've read a book that so clearly drew a line between the characterization of the "good guy" and the "bad guy."  David takes his job as clan chief seriously and is always making decisions based on the good of the island, not his own desires.  Hardar or Hardy on the other hand is a man of threats, belittlement, and grudges.  If he is chosen as the rightful heir, certain doom faces the tenants of the island.

Let's talk for a bit about the culture and livelihood of the island.  Daily the men take their fishing boats out to the cold sea in search of fish.  Tales of lost boats and lost fathers, brothers, and friends are remembered and retold, years after the fact.  And most of the women, including many widows with no other means, work at the mill where the wool from the famous island sheep are made into the iconic Shetland blankets.  Daily life continues as it has for decades, until the question of the inheritance threatens all they know.

Meanwhile two Americans make trips to Scotland for very different reasons.  Texan McLeod is looking to add to his substantial oil holdings and has had his sights on Whale Reef for quite some time.  Macgregor's death may be the opening he needs.  Loni Ford, a young career woman working in an investment firm in Washington D.C. is sent to a conference in Scotland.  A week later, sick of the dreary weather and darkness, Loni boards a plane home, intent on never seeing the land of the Scots again.  As she spends the hours of the flight pondering once again the mysteries of her own life -- orphaned as an infant, raised by conservative Quaker grandparents who never spoke about either of her parents, Loni (Allonah Emily) wonders what her life story really is.  Little does she know that she may need to travel to the Shetland Isles of Scotland for answers.

I received a copy of this title (first in a series) from Litfuse and Bethany House for my honest review.
At 428 pages, this book is longer than most Christian novels, but I can truthfully say I was entranced on every page.  I read the complete book in two sittings. On page 178 at 11:30 last night, I made the decision to stay up and finish reading the book.  No way would I sleep with bully Hardar and McLeod threatening the lifestyle of Whale Reef, and how would Loni's story merge with the tale of the island?  For like the Shetland blankets of the mill, certain threads of the story are hidden away out of the pattern for a while and then return boldly with great importance and show.  At two twenty after reading the last page, I closed the book and headed for bed.  This morning Loni, David, and all the colorful characters Phillips has created are at residence in my brain.Where will I put them so they will be fresh and ready to take up tale again when the second book releases?  For I must return to Whales Reef and learn the rest of the story.

Example of a Shetland blanket

1 comment:

  1. Great review Sue! And I am impressed with your reading prowess! ;) I finished this one in record time, but not nearly as quickly as you. Thanks for highlighting the day to day world of The Shetlands. That was a great part of my enjoyment of the book.