on 13 June 2001
This book is in two halves, telling the story of a mother and her daughter and is a continuation of Legacy of Love. In the first half, Alexa is a child of the sixties, living with rather neglectful parents in a stuffy house in London. Her mother works tirelessly for the underpriveledged in Lambeth and her father is a doctor in a London teaching hospital. Always an underachiever, her heart is at Bishopstrow House in Cornwall with her maternal uncle James and his wife Mary. Here she can really be herself. The story starts when she leaves school. She has a job with two rather bohemian ladies in Chelsea who run a curtain making business in their basement. Here Alexa begins to find that she has great organisational ability and, as a result, the business starts to boom. At the same time she is swept off her feet by young medical student Martin Angus. The couple marry but within a short time Martin leaves her for an old flame who is expecting his child. Unknown to him, Alexa is also pregnant. When the time comes for the baby to be born, Alexa returns to Bishopstrow and in due course Carly is born. James makes Alexa a present of a decaying scottish castle, Berwick, which used to be the family home but has been a neglected boys shool for many years. Alexa arrives at Berwick with Carly, several suitcases, a sewing machine and enough money to tide her over for a short while. After a somewhat shakey start, Alexa turns Berwick into a highly successful award winning hotel, one of the first of its kind in Scotland. She also meets and falls in love with her neighbour, taciturn scot Duncan. The first half of the book comes to a marvellously thrilling climax when true love conquers all.
In the second half of the book, Carly is now grown up and leaves the castle to make her own way. This first takes her to London and then to Afghanistan, where she feels close to her great great grandmother who travelled in the country as a young woman. The book describes her travels and the trials and tribulations of a rather rebellious young woman out in the world for the first time. The story of her great great grandmother is told in A Legacy of Love and the spirit of this book and the second half of Second Legacy are very similar.
The second half of the book is completely different in style and content from the first half and demonstrates the author's skill as a writer. The first part is very similar to a cosy Rosamunde Pilcher novel but the second part is much more like a true Joanna Trollope, which is not surprising, since Caroline Harvey is her pen name. I have read the first half of the book countless times and count is as one of my all time favourite modern novels.