Category Archives: The Inheritance

Review: The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross

Title: The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


With a dramatic wartime love story woven through, JoAnn Ross’s brilliant new novel is a gorgeous generational saga about the rivalry, history and loyalty that bond sisters together

When conflict photographer Jackson Swann dies, he leaves behind a conflict of his own making when his three daughters, each born to a different mother, discover that they’re now responsible for the family’s Oregon vineyard—and for a family they didn’t ask for.

After a successful career as a child TV star, Tess is, for the first time, suffering from a serious identity crisis, and grieving for the absent father she’s resented all her life.

Charlotte, brought up to be a proper Southern wife, gave up her own career to support her husband’s political ambitions. On the worst day of her life, she discovers her beloved father has died, she has two sisters she never knew about and her husband has fallen in love with another woman.

Natalie, daughter of Jack’s longtime mistress, has always known about her half sisters, and has dreaded the day when Tess and Charlotte find out she’s the daughter their father kept.

As the sisters reluctantly gather at the vineyard, they’re soon enchanted by the Swann family matriarch and namesake of Maison de Madeleine wines, whose stories of bravery in WWII France and love for a wounded American soldier will reveal the family legacy they’ve each inherited and change the course of all their lives.


The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross is a wonderful novel of family, new beginnings and love.

Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Jackson Swann captured horrifying images the world needed to see. He put his career first as he put himself in danger to take the photos that showed the worst of humanity. Jackson married and divorced his first wife and walked away from his daughter, Tess. He then married wife number two and although their marriage was essentially a war zone, he acquiesced to his wife’s wishes to remain married in name only. He remained a part of his daughter Charlotte’s life and they treasure their times together. Jackson’s final relationship lasted twenty-six years and he was very involved in his soul mate and their daughter Natalie’s lives. When he discovers he has terminal cancer, Jackson suffers regrets and failings as a father. He has hopes the terms of his will can unite his adult daughters as he brings them together at his family’s estate and vineyard in Aberdeen, Oregon. Will Jackson succeed in giving them the home and family they each deserve?

Tess is a former child star turned pop singer turned author. She is close to her mother but she is slightly bitter about her father’s abandonment. Now living a quiet, solitary life, Tess is the author of a best-selling young adult series that has been made into a TV series. She has learned from the mistakes of her past but she holds everyone at arms’ length. Tess is quick to ask challenging questions after she decides to accede to her father’s last wishes in order to satisfy her curiosity about her absentee father.

Charlotte Aldredge is the wife of a lawyer with political aspirations. Like many society women, she does charity work and attends charity dinners with her husband. At his suggestion, Charlotte scaled her successful design business way back although she does still work with a few clients. Having lived her life as a people pleaser, it takes a cataclysmic problem at home for Charlotte to make the decision to honor her father’s request to go to the vineyard.

Natalie Seurat-Swann is also a photographer but she instead captures life’s happier moments. She is an urban street photographer and  a rising star in the art world. Natalie is very close to Franklin and she is devastated at his loss. She immediately drops everything to travel to the family estate where she is anxious yet nervous about meeting her sisters.

The Inheritance is an engrossing novel that features a marvelous cast of appealing characters. Despite their differences and concerns, Tess, Charlotte and Natalie are quick to warm up to each other. Tess tries to maintain an emotional distance but she is drawn to her half-sisters and the Swann family history. She also has a chance for love but only if she decides to risk her heart. Charlotte blossoms once she is away from her husband and mother and she begins to have perspective about her relationships and mistakes. Tess is thrilled by how quickly she and her sisters find common ground. She is also torn as she tries to make a decision about whether or not to act on her long-standing feelings for someone who has long been part of her life. The Swann family’s history about their grandparents’ heroic actions during World War II and their subsequent romance add depth and substance to the storyline. Without much drama or angst, JoAnn Ross brings this charming, character-driven novel to a very happy conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, HQN Books, JoAnne Ross, Rated B, Review, The Inheritance, Women's Fiction