The Last Heir to Blackwood Library follows Ivy, who is the last living descendant to the Blackwoods, which means she inherits an estate called Blackwood Abbey. The abbey is grand yet dusty and old, but Ivy is drawn to its mysterious library. Despite warnings from the abbey’s staff, Ivy begins to peruse the library. But with time, she learns that there is something sinister in its shelves.
The thing I most loved about this book is the atmosphere. It has all the markings of a good Gothic story: creepy house, ghosts, and a dark mystery. I also really enjoyed the setting as a whole. The story is set in the aftermath of World War I, and Fox does a great job showing how the war impacted both society and the veterans.
Of course, I love the emphasis on books, as well!
While I really enjoyed the first half, and everything it sets up, there were a couple of things I got hung up on while reading.
- Ivy. While I liked her first, she was just such a naive main character that she dragged the story down with her. Despite copious amounts of warnings (and even things she sees for herself), she continues to make very bad decisions throughout the story.
- The plot becomes a little convoluted in the second half of the story. The mystery also drags on a little too long.
- There are some spoiler-y things that I will mention below!
Overall, I enjoyed the concept, the atmosphere, and the setting.
I’m going to elaborate a little on the plot here. The plot focuses heavily on memory and memory loss, which I like the idea of! However, as a reader, I did feel a little blindsided because we would be told that something happened, alongside Ivy, but have zero idea it happened because of her memory loss. I wish there was a way for us as the readers to have more insight as to what was happening.
This also made the romance feel lackluster to me. The hints were all there, but because we didn’t get to see Ivy fall in love, it fell a little flat to me.
Last point, and the one that bothers me the most: It was randomly thrown in at the end that Ralph just doesn’t remember who his parents are (despite him working with them everyday) because of his PTSD from the war?? This felt like a very important yet random development that was thrown in at the end just so that he could relate to Ivy’s memory loss.