One of my favorite tropes (aside from governesses) has always been the Inherited House. Heroine unexpectedly inherits House, usually from relative she knows only vaguely or not at all. There’s usually some drama associated with this, some mystery, an attractive local, and, of course, the fun of unpacking and discovering the House. The house can be anything from a shack to a castle, but it’s always a plus if there are secret rooms and/or the prior inhabitant was a pack rat.
Here are some of my favorite house inheritance books:
— Mary Stewart’s Thornyhold, in which our heroine inherits her aunt’s cottage in the countryside, complete with herbals in the attic and an attractive neighbor next door. This book is top of my list.
— Barbara Michaels’ Wait for What Will Come. What better than a Cornish manor house with a resident sulky gardener, and, of course, a potential curse? There’s also Here I Stay, where the heroine, upon inheriting an old house, turns it into a bed and breakfast.
— Barbara Michaels is the queen of the “exploring an old house” book. Some of them aren’t technically inheritance stories, but I’ve decided they count anyway, like House of Many Shadows, where the heroine is given a summer job cleaning out the attic of an old Pennsylvania house, or Vanish with the Rose, where the heroine, for various complex reasons, gains access to an elegant Virginia mansion by pretending to be an expert in old roses.
— Elsie Lee also does a good line in old houses, although hers tend to be more palaces than cottages. In both Mistress of Mount Fair and Satan’s Coast the heroine inherits a hitherto unseen ancestral home from her late husband and proceeds to explore, antagonizing the resident bad guy whose Cunning Scheme is being interrupted.
— For something a little less gothic, both Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins have recently written house inheritance books. In Higgins’ Somebody to Love, our riches to rags heroine finds herself with nowhere to go but a decrepit Maine cottage inherited from an elderly relative, and finds herself learning about love and home repair. In Shalvis’ Simply Irresistible, three sisters inherit an inn from their dotty hippie mother and have to learn how to work together to make the most of it.
Help me out here! Which are your favorite house inheritance novels?