The acclaimed author of The Blood of Heaven and Secessia “delivers a lyrical, emotionally charged study of life along the Gulf Coast a century past” (Kirkus Reviews).
In 1914, with the world on the brink of war, Isaac, a nature-loving artist whose past is mysterious to all, including himself, meets Kemper, a defiant heiress caught in the rivalry between her brothers. Kemper’s older brother Angel is hiding a terrible secret about his sexuality, and her younger brother Red possesses a capacity for violence that frightens even the members of his own brutal family. Together Isaac and Kemper build a refuge on their beloved, wild, Gulf Coast. But their paradise is short-lived; as the coast is rocked by the storms of summer, the country is gripped by the furor preceding World War I, and the Woolsack family’s rivalries come to a bloody head.
From the breathtaking beauty of the Gulf to the bloody havoc wreaked by the United States in Latin America, The New Inheritors explores the beauty and burden of what is handed down to us all. At once a love story and a family drama, a novel of nature and a novel of war, The New Inheritors traces a family whose life is intimately tied to the Gulf, that most disputed, threatened, and haunted part of this country we call America.
“One of the darkest, most compelling writerly imaginations around.”—New Orleans Advocate
“The third mesmerizing historical novel by Kent Wascom . . . His style and subjects echo great Southern writers like William Faulkner and Harry Crews, continuing a tradition of recounting terrible things in deliriously beautiful language.”—Tampa Bay Times
Wascom's satisfying third novel set on the Gulf Coast (following The Blood of Heaven and Secessia) explores the intricate details that can populate a family's history. Isaac Patterson's life began in troubling fashion, as he was narrowly rescued from a cult in Florida and shepherded to an orphanage by a neighbor. Isaac is adopted into the Patterson family, where he easily finds his place among the ranks of two older brothers and doting parents. In 1914, his passion for painting and the sea eventually leads him to the arms of the spirited Kemper Woolsack, partial heir to a family shipping business in New Orleans. Their young love and marriage bring them immeasurable joys, and it's these memories that they must cling to as the looming war threatens their family's place in this world. The novel spans seven decades and also tells the story of other characters, such as Red Woolsack, Kemper's youngest brother, whose interests give in to violence and hate, and their oldest brother, Angel, whose grandfather, also named Angel, appeared in both of Wascom's previous novels. Wascom's writing is often melodic, but the narrative scope sometimes feels unwieldy. Nevertheless, the novel is a winning blend of history and family dynamics. , Correction: this review originally misidentified one of the characters.