The Heirs by Susan Rieger: A Review

When Rupert Falkes dies of cancer, his wife and children are devastated.  As they are mourning, a woman claiming to be a mistress of Rupert's encourages her sons to file a lawsuit against the family for a portion of the inheritance.  The family must decide whether they want to investigate the woman's claims, provide her money regardless of the circumstances or fight the claims.

When I put this book on my to-be-read list, I believed that it would be more about the claims of additional heirs.  Instead, it was really more of a saga of a family and their friends.  The stories of the lives of the various members of the family were interesting but I think I would have been more interested if the book centered more on the drama of the woman's claims of being the mother to Rupert's children.

Most of the characters were upper-class, old moneyed New Yorkers.  Eleanor was very likeable but the other characters seemed to complain too much.  At one point, one of her (millionaire) sons complains about having too much money when he says, "I can't get rid of the money, it's like a sin, 'a huge heap increasing under the very act of diminishing'".  They come off as elitist and out-of-touch.  That is not to say that the characters were not complex, though.  On the contrary, Rieger did a wonderful job building unique and developed characters.

The ending really bothered me as I felt that the story really started to get interesting at the very end of the book but questions were asked that failed to be answered.  While I was a bit disappointed by some of the parts of the book, I did enjoy reading it.  The writing is very fluid and easy to read and I found myself finishing the book quickly.  While it wasn't one of my favorite books of the year, I would recommend it to a reader who enjoys books about characters more than stories.

My rating:
★★★☆☆

Reviews of books like this one:
Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This book is currently available and can be purchased from major booksellers.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.  Visit the publisher, Penguin Random House, for booksellers and information about the book.

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