The Inheritance tells the story of not only one but two women, Anna and Caterina. Anna is at the birth of Caterina, assisting in the birth and does all she can to keep Caterina's mother alive but she dies in childbirth. Even though Caterina's mother was a servant, Anna keeps Caterina in her life and she grows up with Anna's influence.
There is a tragedy when Caterina and Lorenzo, Anna's youngest son, are children, a terrible storm engulfs the area and Caterina's father is lost. Another servant disappears and her body is found in the ocean. It is claimed by Anna's husband Santo that she drowned and Anna's oldest sons tried to save her but failed. This story seems kind of sketchy and the reader does find out that it was no accident, but Anna never really finds out what happened but she has her suspicions.
Santo, in my opinion is a real jerk, but I guess a lot of men were like that in the early 1900's. He treated his wife and youngest son with distain, all Anna wants is her husband to be the man she married. But her job was to have and raise children, keep the house and keep quiet.
Caterina is very close to Lorenzo, they do everything together and and eventually there is an infatuation. Of course Santo would never allow Lorenzo to marry a servant and he lets it known that Lorenzo is to continue his studies to become a lawyer, as he states "they need one in the family". Santo gets involved with what I think of as the "mob", is never home and his coldness to his wife and son continue to get worse.
Lorenzo does go away to school and does not see his mother for 4 years, his father would not allow him to see Anna. Anna had suffered a series of strokes and her health has declined considerably during Lorenzo's absence. Caterina has assisted in Anna's care and when Lorenzo does come home he vows to stay and help take care of her.
Time goes on and Lorenzo and Anna fall in love, against Santo's wishes the local priest secretly marries them. The ending kind of surprised me but I think that it set the story up for the next book, as I am sure there will be, or at least I hope so because it was kind of a cliffhanger. The Inheritance refers to the tragedy that has befallen Caterina, never knowing her mother and losing her father in the storm. I think living in this time was very difficult, especially when the women had no say in their own lives, even the rich. Husbands are rarely faithful, children grow up and move away or die at a young age. This is definitely a story of tragedy, loss and secrets that ruin many lives.
I felt the author was very knowledgeable about Italy and her ancestors. I enjoyed the story and I do look forward to the next one, I want to know what happens with Lorenzo and Caterina!