Natasha’s Will by Joan Lingard

Natasha’s Will by Joan Lingard was first published in 2020. It was a Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ Pick of the Year. I must admit that I’ve never heard of that group. It’s a very quick read at just 166 pages.

This is a dual time and place setting. It begins in contemporary Scotland where Natasha has just recently died. She had been over 90 and had been cared for in her own home by family friends of generations’ standing.  Natasha had started life in St Petersburg where she had a very privileged life – until the revolution in 1917. After a lot of difficulty danger and disasters Natasha and her mother had managed to make their way out of Russia and eventually ended up in Scotland, along with Eugenie, a friend who marries a Scot.

Years later it’s Eugenie’s family that look after Natasha in her own home until she dies. Natasha had always said that she was going to leave the family her house, but her will can’t be found anywhere, and it’s thought that she didn’t actually get around to writing it. It’s a disaster for the family, especially when Natasha’s official next of kin turns up to claim his inheritance. This was a good read with plenty of tension although I was pretty sure  that everything would turn out right in the end.

As ever it’s a plus when you know the locations and I was happy to be able to recognise St Petersburg as well as Scotland. I didn’t know anything about this book when I saw it in a charity bookshop in Edinburgh, but I’ve started to collect Lingard’s books whenever I see them, which isn’t that often, even in her hometown of Edinburgh.


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