The Heirs - Susan Rieger

Brilliantly wrought, incisive, and stirring, The Heirs tells the story of an upper-crust Manhattan family coming undone after the death of their patriarch. Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him. The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.

In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure. Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together -- Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm -- and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor.

The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty - a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor's sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all.

A riveting portrait of a family, told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century.


For anyone who adores characters and the way that each person's history might contribute to a larger picture, this is a must read.


This was a gorgeous exploration of the spiderweb way that one man's connections interact with the world and, without having the clichés found in a butterfly effect novel, the way that the decisions people make affect generations to come.


This is split up into chapters that loosely focus on characters and the way that the main events had played into their lives. Rupert and Eleanor had five sons, each of whom is well drawn and has a distinct personality from the others. Rieger's ability to create people that feel absolutely real is astounding, and while I was excited to read about new characters, I also found myself aching to know about the interplay between them all.


I enjoyed the general atmosphere of this book and the way that it read. While there wasn't a clear and distinct plot and it felt at points like a collection of short stories, I enjoyed the way it begun and the succinct way that it wrapped itself up, simultaneously giving answers and creating questions.


Rieger's talent for breathing life into characters is one I look forward to seeing again in the future.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.