The Weaverfields Heir
by David Bridger
Etopia Press, 2011
If R. H. Delderfield (author of the God Is an Englishman trilogy) were to have a lovechild with Diana Gabaldon, I would expect said lovechild to produce something on the order of The Weaverfields Heir. This book is a genre mash-up (and I mean that in a good way) that mixes fantasy, family saga, romance, and historical fiction into a story rich in character and setting.
There is a lot going on in The Weaverfields Heir. The story begins in the present with a young woman named Kate, who has quit her job as a teacher and is staying with her parents. She has an odd sort of episode, something between a seizure and an out-of-body experience, and suddenly she can see a kind of golden network connecting her to the physical world.
Things get even stranger. Kate knew and loved her mother's mother, but her mother's father was unknown to her. Her grandmother never even told Kate's mother his name. Now, with her grandmother no longer living, Kate and her mother learn that the man was the very well off Peter Weaver, who has recently died and left Kate and her mother something in his will.
After Kate arrives at Peter's estate Weaverfields, things kick into high gear. Kate meets all sorts of new relations (Peter was married and had a family), some more pleasant than others, and she starts have odd dreams that often take place at Weaverfields, but are all clearly in the past. We begin to learn the story not only from Kate but from her grandfather Peter and his grandfather Nick, a man considerably hated and feared in the Weaverfields' neighborhood. These dreams and visions tell Kate a lot about the new gift she has inherited, and how her ancestors used it.
I don't want to reveal too much of the plot but one thing I really enjoyed in this story was how complex the characters are. They range in likability but even the unlikeable ones have redeeming characteristics. I should also mention that this is a romance, in the sense that the love story parts of the plot are told explicitly. There is no fading to black and a train going into a tunnel. On the other hand, these are not the major part of the narrative, either, so you don't have to like romance novels to enjoy this book.