Friday, May 31, 2013

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon


For readers of Rules of Civility and The Marriage Plot, this engrossing, very smart novel about passion, betrayal, class and friendship delves deeply into the lives of two generations, against backgrounds as diverse as Dar es Salaam, Boston, Shenzhen and Fisher's Island. It is the most accomplished book-by far-of this prominent young author's career.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1963: two students meet one autumn evening during their senior year at Harvard-Ed, a Jewish kid on scholarship, and Hugh, a Boston Brahmin with the world at his feet. Ed is unapologetically ambitious and girl-crazy, while Hugh is ambivalent about everything aside from his dedicated pining for the one girl he's ever loved. An immediate, intense friendship is sparked that night between these two opposites, which ends just as abruptly, several years later, although only one of them understands why. A Dual Inheritance follows the lives of Ed and Hugh for next several decades, as their paths-in spite of their rift, in spite of their wildly different social classes, personalities and choices-remain strangely and compellingly connected.

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Ballantine Books (first published April 30th 2013)
ISBN  0345468473 (ISBN13: 9780345468475)

About the Author

Joanna Hershon is the author of three previous novels, The German Bride, The Outside of August and Swimming. She has received fellowships from Breadloaf and from the Edward Albee Foundation. An adjunct professor at Columbia, where she teaches creative writing, she lives with her husband, the painter Derek Buckner, and their twin sons.

Check out the author's website

My Thoughts
Had he described Hugh Shipley at all over the past three years, approachable would not have been a word he'd ever have used.
This book spans nearly five decades, traverses several countries and follows two generations. The first two-thirds follow Hugh, Ed and Helen-- their years through college, and the years following graduation as they learn to navigate adulthood and marriage and family. The last third mostly follows their daughters' as they begin their own lives.

Two young men meet while attending Harvard. Hugh Shipley comes from money, which really means nothing to him, and he's driven by a need to change the world somehow-- to make a difference. Ed Cantowitz was raised Jewish by a father who was an ex-boxer and a tough character. Ed covets what he doesn't have, and he desires money. On the surface, these two men couldn't seem more different. And yet they develop a relationship as close as brothers.

I think this is probably one of my favorite books ever! The characters were so richly drawn, you truly felt you knew them, understanding their motives and the baggage they carry through life. The story was realistic, and I don't think there was a single moment when I had to suspend disbelief, thinking "Yeah, right."

This story starts in 1962, and runs through 2010. It was fascinating to watch their lives progress over the years, to see how they changed, and yet how they remained the same. To see them through the eyes of their daughters. To view their parallel and yet opposing lives. 

Wonderful writing, straight-forward content, rich characters. A simply brilliant novel!

My final word: This book was a full, rich story. Unadorned and engrossing, it gives a realistic portrayal of the lives of two men. I was constantly amazed at the details thrown in for the character development. Little twists and turns. Even things left out that leave you filling the blanks with little bits that you imagine happened-- things alluded to but never clarified. (There's a nice twist that my mind has decided to fill in, even though it was never even really alluded to.) What can I say? I just loved this book!

My thanks to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be part of this book tour.
Check out the master schedule on their website:

Monday, May 6th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, May 8th:  Book Addict Katie
Thursday, May 9th:  Literally Jen
Monday, May 13th:  Life, Love, & Books
Wednesday, May 15th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, May 16th:  BookNAround
Monday, May 20th:  Becca’s Byline
Tuesday, May 21st:  Luxury Reading
Thursday, May 23rd:  Regular Rumination
Tuesday, May 28th:  My Bookshelf
Wednesday, May 30th:  Love at First Book
Wednesday, May 30th:  Unabridged Chick
Thursday, May 31st:  Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

Cover: n/a
Writing Style:

My Rating:



I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm thrilled to see how much you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds interesting. I did enjoy Rules Of Civility.

THANKS for your post.

Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved August Edition. I am in the list as #36. My book entry is below.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Entry