cover image Legacy of Secrets

Legacy of Secrets

Elizabeth Adler. Delacorte Press, $21.95 (454pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30919-6

Adler ( Fortune Is a Woman ) keeps her latest, ingeniously plotted saga fairly racing toward its conclusion. In 1883, Lily Molyneux, daughter of a noble Irish family, is raped by the scion of an equally prominent family. Pregnant and afraid that she will be forced to marry her molester, she names as the father the lowly stableboy Finn O'Keeffe, hoping that she will then be allowed to remain unwed. But her plan backfires: Lily is banished and Finn and his brother Daniel must flee for their lives. All three find themselves on the same boat to America. Their heady and romantic adventures unfold against a panorama of Irish country estates, squalid Boston slums and the New York City bustle of Broadway and Wall Street. The author brackets this turn-of-the-century drama with a present-day mystery: real-estate tycoon Bob Keeffe, Finn's descendant, has died of a gunshot wound and been ruled a suicide. His daughter, however, is sure that he was murdered, and she reaches back into the past for clues. Spiced with betrayal, revenge, lust and scandal, this is an intoxicating brew, served with panache. Literary Guild and Doub le day Book Club selections. (July)