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Erin G. (Dulles, VA)
A Dual Inheritance: a tale of two families
I really enjoyed this novel exploring the choices made by two young Harvard students and the way the lives they make for themselves affect their children's perception of the world. It is easy to become engrossed in the characters as they try to make sense of their changing times and circumstances. This would make an excellent book club choice, because there's so much to discuss: would Ed's life have taken a different path if he'd stayed with Connie? Could Hugh have been happy if he'd been born without the money and privilege that he felt as a burden? The title is intriguing as it applies to the main characters and their daughters, and the effect of inherited traits versus inherited culture. I also loved the ending of the epilogue, when ultimately lives become so intertwined that the details no longer matter. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining read.
Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A Good First Impression
First impressions are important: A few chapters in to "A Dual Inheritance", and mine was "Ooh, this is good!" Definitely agree that fans of "Rules of Civility" and "The Marriage Plot" will enjoy this novel as well. A plot device that reconnects the main characters seems contrived and improbable at first, but quickly fades away the further you get into the story. Highly recommended.
Debra V. (Kenosha, WI)
A Dual Inheritance
First I would like to say that this was a good book, and fairly well-written. I always enjoy a book about relationships -- especially when they involve race & class in America. Frankly, I want to blame the author's editor for the books defects because the story was good and she writes with all the elements of a Franzen or Eugenides, but the book needed to be cut in some places and expanded in others. I think she somehow just missed the chance to write a Tom Wolff style classic!
Margaret M. (Venice,, FL)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is well written and very interesting. It keeps ones interest and also raises many questions about love, family loyalty moral decisions and the power of money.
Ellen F. (Polo, IL)
The characters are well drawn and believable. The themes and plot are universal and would appeal to both men and women.
After a slow start introducing the main characters, the story took an interesting turn. The story became more engaging when the threesome visited Helen's family home and Ed's interest in Helen became apparent. I liked the way the author intertwined the lives of the two men even though at times it seemed a bit contrived. I'm a librarian at Polo Public Library in Illinois.
Susan H. (Chappaqua, NY)
I really liked this book but it was a bit to long. could have cut out a chunk in the middle. I was very interested in Ed, Helen and Shipley but when it got into their kids ... it all seemed a bit contrived. also the Ed saga was a bit too Madoff like. the author tried to cover a few too many issues.
Ann J. (Brenham, TX)
A Dual Inheritance
This book traces the lives and families of two extremely different men who become friends as undergraduates. One is born into wealth and establishment - but wants to save third world countries. The other is born poor and Jewish - and wants to make a fortune. The author does an outstanding job of portraying, with great clarity, all aspects and intricacies of these two lives. The observations regarding all aspects of life and human interaction made by the two main characters and their family members seemed not only very accurate, but reflected a deep understanding of two very different lives and places and circumstances in which they found themselves. The two main characters are quite flawed people, but it is those flaws that made them extremely real for me. I felt that generally the first part of the book (which dealt with the parental generation) was better done than the second part (which deal more with the daughters of each of the main characters. However, some of the insights on the part of the daughters were excellent.
Bobbie D. (Boca Raton, FL)
A Harvard Connection
I would recommend this book. It is well written, although easy to read, and an excellent study of many aspects of two different lives lived (mostly) in our country over the past fifty years.
How different these lives might have been had they never met! Take a middle class Jew and introduce him to a wealthy WASP and you have " A Dual Inheritance". The book takes these two young men and follows them into their later years. How they separate and come together again. What they do with their ambition and dreams. And of course there is "the woman". You root for one and then the other to succeed.
I enjoyed reading the book and following their very different lives. Thought it was a bit long.