With a great literary novel the reader should be able to give the plot in sentence and still not even have touched on what the book’s really about.
Following the death of his father, Ed Hartlepool is left with a huge estate and in millions of pounds of debt, and with the help of his friend Annabel and her boyfriend Geoff, Ed must try to find a way to salvage his old family home. The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall, however, is about so much more than just this.
Paul Torday has written yet another novel driven by fantastic characters. Ed is a lonely thirty-something who is suddenly part of a world where one has to pay for things oneself, and he’s struck even at the concept of opening his front door himself. He returns from five ‘non-dom’ years in France to find a Lady Birtley living in his home. She claims to be his late father’s mistress, but the more Ed tries to find out, the less information she’s willing to give. Meanwhile, his childhood friend Annabel stays at home to look after her elderly, and very demanding father. Seeking comfort and escape, she starts to date Geoff Tarset; tanned, white teeth, and ridiculously rich. All of the characters are vividly shaped and coloured, and each of them carries hidden agenda.
Between the lives of Ed and Annabel there’s plenty of mysterious, and sometimes quite absurd, goings on. With The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall, Torday proves, yet again, that he really knows what he’s doing.