The Heir

His legacy was
one of honor and of
shame, one that spoke
to the present while
concealing the past.

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Emily Merrick, enjoying the new-found freedom of the Roaring 20’s, discovers that liberation can come at a high price. But it is her son, Steven, who will pay it. Raised under the crushing heel of the man Emily tricks into marrying her, young Steven endures the malicious control of his step-father by escaping to his memories of Kingsland, the Merrick estate in Waterford, on Cape Cod Bay. Its steadfast presence sustains him, as well as his love of the sea, as he endures the constant humiliations devised by his mother’s husband. Instead of entering Harvard, as he is supposed to do, Steven flees to Kingsland and lives there while he learns a trade in defiance of his pretentious step-father. He finds the simple life of the countryman a relief after the constricting pretentions with which he’s grown up. Eventually he saves enough money to enter the college of his choice, graduating just in time to join the corporate culture of the 50’s. By then he has inherited Kingsland, and when promotion passes him by, he again flees to Waterford, this time with his family. There he confronts the challenge of earning a living in so remote a place, and in the process of piecing together the possibilities meets Jenny Lawrence, an ancient lumber schooner that has been converted into a Windjammer Cruiser. She sails Nantucket Sound, carrying passengers to the picturesque ports of Martha’s Vineyard and to Nantucket itself, and from her, Steven will learn the wisdom of the tides and the wind. She will teach him that there is an alternative to his generation’s frantic post-war climb to the top, and she will carry him to the first woman – the only woman – he has ever loved, a woman through whom he will learn about the shame of his legacy, and a way to restore its honor.


The story really is devoted to Steven and his life story through his first love, his marriage, working in corporate America of the 50’s with a suburban home. But his real love is the sea…As always, all the characters are beautifully drawn. The romances are clean and believable, and the author keeps great attention to detail as this 3rd volume we come closer to the decades many readers may have experienced themselves.


I recently read Deborah Hill's third, and regrettably last, book in her Kingsland series, The Heir. The detail was astonishing. I would read along, caught up in the engrossing storyline, and then stumble across one of those details. a personal memory I’d forgotten sprang to the surface.If I remember correctly, Hill loosely based her trilogy on historical artifacts that were handed down by elders in her family. I'm sorry to see that legacy come to a close.

—Lee Campbell, author of Stowaway.

This book was by far my favorite in the trilogy. It looked at things in a light the others couldn’t – perhaps due to the time constraints of the period of the first two books. I loved that you could feel the stories from the past two books intermixed in this one here and there…it really felt to come alive from the characters to the plot. That being said the plot itself was beautifully romantic and engaging in a way some love stories will never be. It reminded me of Gatsby to an extent because the love affair was so subtle and yet strong.

—A. Ostrow.