“A Cold Legacy” by Megan Shepherd
5 out of 5 stars.
Juliet, Montgomery, Lucy, Edward, and Balthazar are on the run. The police are after Juliet and her friends because of what she did at The Kings’ Club. She hadn’t acted alone that night, but she was the mastermind, and because of it, all of her friends are paying the price for that choice. But there is a small beacon of hope despite Edward’s worsening condition and Scotland Yard chasing them, and it is in the form of a manor in the Scottish Highlands. The moors are the perfect place to rest their weary heads, but Juliet soon discovers that their supposed haven is not quite what it appears to be.
Mystery and secrets surround Juliet and her friends at every corner in Elizabeth von Stein’s house, but they have nowhere else to run. Lightning, creaking floors, and a strange boy who hides in the walls are the least of Juliet’s worries. Edward’s health is rapidly declines, and her and Montgomery’s relationship seems to be deteriorating because of the weight of secrets. Can Juliet and Montgomery mend their relationship so they work together again and save the Elizabeth’s household in time? And can she save Edward before it is too late, or were both he and Juliet destined to destroy themselves from the start?
This book was such a stunning and satisfying end to a beloved trilogy. “The Madman’s Daughter” had surprised me back a year and a half ago, and the “Her Dark Curiosity” had shocked, horrified, and made me love this trilogy all the more; these books are all about the battle between the light and the darkness, right and wrong, hope and despair, love and hate. It was a tug of war throughout this trilogy of whether good or evil would win out, and to be honest, I was scared of where and how Megan was going to end Juliet’s story. Megan, however, proved herself to be a capable and talented writer who resolved all of this trilogy’s loose ends in her final installment; I did not think it would happen, but Megan Shepherd did it and some more!
Juliet was a very tormented and broken individual. It was a steady decline for her from “The Madman’s Daughter” to “Her Dark Curiosity,” and the second book really hurt because of the choices she made when she decided to follow, relatively, in her father’s footsteps. She was desperate, lonely, and afraid, and I got why she did it, but her actions saddened me because I wanted her to break free of her supposed genetic “inheritance” or “curse.” “A Cold Legacy” picks up soon after the second book, and so not much has changed for Juliet in that realm; her whole world has been shaken and then taken away except what her father had “given” her: madness.
It was really interesting to see her personal growth and decline throughout this trilogy, and I was cheering for her all through “A Cold Legacy.” I wanted her to hear and understand that she could make her own choices, choose her own path in life, but she had a long journey until she could discover that for herself. In the end, though, I was very happy with where Megan took Juliet’s character, and all of the pain that I had experienced as a reader over the course of these books was worth the destination. Juliet wasn’t the only person who went through a lot of changes during this trilogy, though, and I want to talk about some other characters and their growth.
Yeah, I’m still in love with Montgomery. I loved him so much because he was always such a present character, even when he was not in a scene. He was a strong person in “The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy,” but he was never pushy or domineering, and he did not boss everyone around like some macho-man. He was a strong male lead without ever having to resort to being a jerk; people followed him because he was kind and brave and selfless, and it wasn’t due to people feeling threatened by him. Oh, have I already mention that I love him?
Montgomery, despite all of his attributes, was not perfect. He lied to Juliet about some very important things because he thought by keeping them from her, he could protect her. But lies cut as deep or deeper than the truth, and such was the case in “A Cold Legacy.” It was interesting seeing his and Juliet’s relationship shift and evolve as this trilogy progressed, and sometimes it broke my heart when they hurt each other, even if was by accident. Obviously, some of these things drive a story, but in the case of “A Cold Legacy,” I never felt like that was all there ever was, that if the miscommunications had been taken away the story would have fallen apart. Megan Shepherd wrote a strong story and added miscommunication to show the growth and changes that had occurred in their relationship.
Lies and secrets aside, Montgomery was such a good character. He had changed quite a bit since “The Madman’s Daughter,” but I loved that the things that made him Montgomery were still intact. He was still kind, courageous, strong, wise, and most importantly, he still had a good heart. My favorite scene was towards the end when he was talking to Juliet about choosing to be different from her father, that she had the right to choose to do good and live life well despite her parentage. There was also another part with him concerning the whole “eternal life” issue, and again, he said something profound. Those two parts really hit me hard and I was a bit like, “What you just said was beautiful. You’re beautiful!”
What Montgomery said in those last fifty pages in “A Cold Legacy” was what this trilogy was all about: that you have the right and the duty in life to choose what is good, and it is not for others to choose for you. Megan put it so beautifully, and I loved that!
Lucy was also another good characters. I thought that Megan Shepherd did a great job of taking a character that seemed like just a rich, entitled girl and making her into a woman who was kind and smart. She didn’t always make the wisest of choices, but she had a good heart and it was surprising to have a character change so much for the better in a trilogy. Okay, so the last character I want to talk about is Edward!
Edward was such an intriguing character. Throughout this trilogy, he has been a sort of enigma that I wanted to understand. He was a broken person who needed a lot of love and kindness, and it was interesting to see him change as these books progressed. I will always like this character, but I wish that I had gotten more time with him in “A Cold Legacy.” “Her Dark Curiosity” was Edward’s book, in a sense, but “A Cold Legacy,” for good reason, was Juliet’s book. As necessary as that was, I felt that both Edward and Montgomery got a little short-changed. They didn’t get as much time in this book even though they deserved it, and I wish that “A Cold Legacy” had been forty to fifty pages longer so that these leading men could’ve been in it more! I think that the lack of my boys was the only real disappointment I experienced while reading this book; I just missed the sweet, funny Edward that I knew from the first two books! But other than missing out on some time with Edward, I was fairly happy with where he went as a character despite some emotional trauma I experienced at the stuff he was put through.
Megan really kicked it up a notch, even from “Her Dark Curiosity,” on pacing, and don’t even get me started on the death toll! No one is safe in this book, and I was quite shocked by some of the characters who were killed. The stakes were really high in this book, so I guess that goes along with it!
All that aside, “A Cold Legacy” was such a well-rounded finale that I feel completely satisfied. Yeah, some parts were sad because I was hoping for a happier end for some characters, but I am quite content, and it was a beautiful book. I also loved how all of her characters, main and secondary, played significant roles in “A Cold Legacy.” Balthazar, one of my favorite characters, was such a great character to see more of and so was Lucy. There were also characters who lived in the von Stein home that really added a lot to the story. I loved how she dealt with the secrets between the people in this book, and I adored how each of these characters changed and grew as individuals while having stayed true to themselves. But most of all, I loved the end and the route Megan Shepherd chose to take with the issues of immortality and the social aspects of female independence.”The Madman’s Daughter” will forever be my favorite, but I loved “A Cold Legacy.” It was an amazing conclusion to a great trilogy!