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Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Surprise! You've Just Inherited a Mansion/Castle/Jewel/Shop/Cabin!

Today's TTT topic—Top Ten Books With My Favorite Trope/Theme—is a fun one, which should have prompted all kinds of ideas to bloom in my brain. Problem is, I've been blogging and TTT-ing for so long that I feel like I've talked about every single one of my favorite story subjects a bajillion times over! So, forgive me if this is a repeat, but I decided to go with one of my all-time favorite tropes—the surprise inheritance. Tons of books feature this tantalizing premise, where some down-on-their-luck MC gets the shock of their lives when they discover a random relative they never knew existed left them something incredible in their wills. Generally, it's a rotting pile mouldering away somewhere on a broody British seashore, but I've also read about estates in exotic lands, forgotten shops and theaters, mysterious momentoes, even—as you will see—a famous jewel. All of these unexpected gifts lead our intrepid MCs to make surprising discoveries about their pasts, their families, and themselves. Along the way, they also usually find friendship, healing, and love. It's an appealing, imagination-fueling trope that never fails to captures me with its many intriguing possibilities.

Before we get to that, though, be sure to jump on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our hostess, Jana, some love. If you're feeling listy today, join in the TTT fun!

Top Ten Surprise Inheritance Novels I've Read and Want to Read  

Seven I've read and loved:

1.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling—Even though this book/series is more about a surprise heritage ("You're a wizard, Harry!"), it also comes with a bank vault full of gold, which is a pretty great inheritance, I'd say. 

2.  The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson—This engrossing novel concerns a group of estranged siblings who come together for the reading of their grandmother's will. They're shocked and angry to discover the old woman has given her home to their absent, neglectful mother. Beck, always the most devoted grandchild, is completely puzzled by her inheritance: a gaudy old brooch. When a jeweler friend sees it, he is delighted to tell her that it's worth more than it seems. Like ten million dollars more. This discovery throws the family into a frantic tailspin that will reveal long-forgotten secrets, present fissures, and much more. 

3.  The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware—My favorite of Ware's thrillers, this one concerns a young woman who receives notice that she's named in the will of a wealthy woman who has just died. Obviously, they've got the wrong person, but Hal really needs the money. She's honed some pretty good BS skills from her career as a tarot reader. Can she pull off the biggest scam of her life in exchange for the largest payoff she's ever likely to get? 

4.  The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes—The first in a trilogy, this YA novel introduces Avery Grambs, a high schooler who's living in her car when she gets incredible news: she stands to inherit the entire fortune of one of the world's wealthiest men. Since she's never even heard of the guy, there's no way it can possibly be true. Except it is. All Avery has to do to get the money she desperately needs is live in the man's mansion for a year—with his very ticked off family members, each of whom is determined to make sure she doesn't receive a dime. 

5.  The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper—After a whirlwind World War II courtship with a handsome Australian soldier she hardly knows, Fleur Richards becomes a bride and a widow in short succession. His death reveals a shocking secret: Hugh was a very wealthy man and she has inherited his entire fortune. Knowing she can't possibly accept, she sets out to find his kin. In the process, she discovers that part of her inheritance is an old curiosity shop with a dark, mysterious past.

6.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton—Australian Cassandra Andrews is shocked when she inherits an old mansion on the Cornish coast upon her grandmother's death. How did the old woman happen to own such a grand property so far from home? And why did she never mention it? As Cassandra investigates, she learns some startling truths about her enigmatic grandparent.

7.  Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry (available May 24, 2022)—When mystery writer Tess Harrow decides to stay in the rustic log cabin she received upon her grandfather's death, she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Including a real-life murder to solve.

Three I want to read:

8.  The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross—When Jackson Swann dies, he leaves his Oregon vineyard to his three daughters, each of whom has a different mother. The trio reluctantly gather to deal with their father's last wishes and each other. Can they come together to save their dubious inheritance? Or will their already fractured family be torn even further apart?

9.  The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni—New Yorker Alberta "Bert" Monte receives a laughable letter claiming that she has inherited not just obscene amounts of money, but also a castle in Italy and a noble title. Clearly, it's a case of mistaken identity. Still, Bert is too intrigued to pass up the opportunity to take a luxurious vacation to Italy. What she learns there about her family and its dark past will change her life forever...

10.  The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson—I loved The Imperfects so much that I definitely want to read another novel by this author (unfortunately, she's only written two). This one also features an unexpected inheritance. This time, it's a bankrupt bookstore that hides a bevy of secrets and puzzles left by a woman's mysterious uncle.

There you are, ten books about surprise inheritances that I've either already enjoyed or expect I will enjoy. What do you think of this trope? Is it one of your favorites as well? Which books about surprise inheritances have caught your fancy? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!


  1. That surprise inheritance is always fun, and a favorite trope of mine, too. Especially if the inheritance is a big old spooky mansion. :)

    1. YES! With lots of skeletons in the closet, figuratively and literally :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  2. I love surprise inheritance stories too, especially when it's part of a mystery or a thriller! :D Great topic! I've only read Harry, so I'll have to add the others to my never-ending TBR, lol.

    1. Yes, it's an especially fun trope for a mystery/thriller since those kinds of houses ALWAYS hold interesting secrets!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jenni!

  3. Very clever, boy I just added a few to my wishlist!! I love your blog!!😎😍

    1. Aww, that's so sweet of you to say, Jo. I'm glad you enjoy my blog and that you found some titles to pique your interest.

      Thanks for popping in!

  4. This is a great surprise! Now, if someone could do me a favor and surprise me with lots of money! haha. I immediately thought of the Inheritance Games when I saw your topic. I still need to read book two though.

    1. Right? I wonder how often surprise inheritances happen in real life. It's certainly never happened to me!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leslie!

  5. Villas in Sicily are my favourite. LOL! That bookshop book looks interesting.

    1. Oooh, yes! An Italian villa would be a lovely inheritance. I hope my (nonexistent) rich relatives are listening...

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  6. This is such a fun trope, and one that can cover a variety of genres. I have The Bookshop of Yesterdays on my TBR.

    Thank you for stopping by my post earlier!

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    1. You're right, this trope is very versatile. It seems to appear mostly in women's fiction and mysteries, but it could work in any genre really.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Pam!

  7. The Inheritance Games was the first one I thought of. Great book and fun topic.

    1. It was the first one that came to my mind as well and I've read A LOT of books with this trope. Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  8. I wish more surprise inheritance happened in real life! The Inheritance Games is definitely a title that has caught my eye in the past.

    1. Seriously! I really do wonder how often these kinds of things occur for real. In fiction, it happens CONSTANTLY. LOL.

      Thanks for stopping in, Alicia!

  9. I have not read very many that would fall into this category! I love it. I did just buy The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper at a used bookstore, so I will eventually be reading that one. I will be looking the others up on Goodreads, thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh, good! I really enjoyed THE WOMAN IN THE GREEN DRESS. It's my favorite of the ones I've read by Cooper so far. I hope you enjoy it as well.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  10. This is a trope that I don't think about often, but I do enjoy it! The Bookshop of Yesterdays is one I definitely want to look into, as is Buried in a Good Book!

    My TTT:

    1. BURIED IN A GOOD BOOK is a really fun one. It made me laugh. The characters are appealing, the plot is engaging, and the writing is lively and upbeat. Very entertaining all around.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  11. Very specific one! Of these I've only read Harry Potter, and to be honest, I can't think of any other surprise inheritance books I've read, at least not off the top of my head.
    My TTT:

    1. I've read tons of books with this trope, but I still had to think hard to come up with ten titles. That's why I used a few that are on my TBR lists! My brain just doesn't do well when put on the spot, LOL.

      Thanks for stopping in, Jo!

  12. What a great list idea, now I need to think about what inheritance books I've read. We're watching Ghosts on tv, that immediately came to mind. I loved Mrs. Westaway, what a brilliant mystery concept.

    1. Oooh, what's Ghosts? I might have to check that out...And, I agree, THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY is a great read. It has such an intriguing premise.

      Thanks for popping by, Deb!

  13. What a fun pick. I didn't even think of this one, but it always makes for an interesting story.

    1. I really had to wrack my brain to come up with something unique for this topic! I feel like I've already talked about every trope under the sun a million times over in my many years of book blogging.

      Thanks for stopping in, Cheri!

  14. I loved The Forgotten Garden! That was such a great book. Nice topic idea!

    1. I'm a huge Morton fan! I just wish she would publish more often. It's torture waiting for new books from her to come out.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  15. Great idea. I just read two books in a row with this trope, and I enjoyed them both. The Inheritance is an excellent book for this list.

    1. I haven't read THE INHERITANCE yet, but it definitely sounds like the kind of book I would enjoy. The estranged sisters trope is another of my favorites, incidentally.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  16. I had no idea so many books were based on this!

    1. There are a bunch, especially in the women's fiction and mystery/thriller genres. My favorite ones are the Gothic/ghosty mystery ones!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

  17. These all sound like so much fun. I've read Harry Potter, but not the others. The Woman in the Green Dress, Buried in a Good Book, and The Bookshop of Yesterdays all caught my eye.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today.

    1. I'm glad you found some titles to pique your interest. I hope you enjoy them if you read them!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cheryl!

  18. I do enjoy this trope. Another favorite that springs to mind is The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge.

    1. Oooh, I haven't heard of THE SCENT OF WATER. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for the rec!

      Thanks for stopping in, Lory!

  19. I totally agree with you that we've talked about all the topics we can come up with, I still found one, but you know that already.

    When I first read your title, I thought you hinted at all those "lovely" e-mails we get regularly by some rich Africans or whatnot. LOL

    I love the inheritance theme. I don't know whether I would have found that many but the idea is fantastic.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week which is about epistolary novels.

    1. Ha ha. I didn't even think of those spam emails about surprise money! Those are definitely the only kind I ever get, unfortunately. No rich relatives here.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. Same here, Susan. But at least we don*t have to quarrel with other heirs. LOL

  20. Lol, there are so many books whose main plot is you inherited your estranged relative's house or shop or vineyards, etc and the MC goes home and runs into either an enemy from long ago or a young love. Romance, cozies, and psychological suspense books use this trope the most in my opinion. That being said, The Bookshop of Yesterday and The Inheritance look good to me.

    1. Right? And it happens SOOOO often in cozies. Women are always inheriting stuff in that genre! I see it a lot in women's fiction, too, where the story is about a woman inheriting a home or business and going to that location to start a new life full of self-discovery, romance, etc. It's a hopeful trope. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Mia!

  21. The first one that came to mind for me was The Inheritance Games! You could also add The Westing Game to that. But one I read recently that I loved was With Love From London, in which the main character inherits a book shop!

    1. Oh, true, THE WESTING GAME fits as well. I haven't heard of WITH LOVE FROM LONDON, but I'll definitely check it out. I just started listening to THE LOST AND FOUND BOOKSHOP, which has the same premise, although the inheritance isn't a surprise I don't think (I've only finished the first chapter).

      Thanks for stopping in, Dara!

  22. What a fabulous idea for today! I love books with inheritances, too, and I guess I never realized how many books use that as their theme. My favorite is lucky characters who inherit a bookshop.

    1. There are TONS of books with this setup. I agree, inheriting a bookshop sounds awesome! In reality, it's probably just a lot of hard work, but's fun to dream :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

  23. I haven't read very many surprise inheritance books, but I like them when I come across them. This is such a fun list idea. I couldn't come up with anything, so I went rogue.

    1. It took me a few days of thinking about the topic to come up with a fresh idea for my list. I could think of lots of tropes I like, but I wanted one that I hadn't talked about a ton and that other people weren't likely to feature either.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kami!

  24. What a fun take on the topic! Seeing The Forgotten Garden is a reminder that I have several by Morton on my TBR that I've been meaning to try.

    1. I love Morton! All her books are kind of the same, but that doesn't bother me. Like I said above, I only wish she published more often.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  25. Oh, yes, I didn't even think of OLIVER TWIST! It does fit the theme well, doesn't it?

    Thanks for popping in, Stephanie Lynn!

  26. Harry Potter is ALWAYS good to see on a list.
    I've watched the 20-years reunion movie and it was so good. Brought back all the memories.

    1. I seem to include HP on the majority of my TTT lists. The series just ticks off so many categories! I also enjoyed the 20-year reunion film. It was fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the movies were made and to see the actors interacting with each other.

      Thanks for stopping in, Esther!

  27. Harry Potter has got to be the ultimate inheritance. Inheriting magical powers? Check. The Order's house? Check. So good!

    1. Yes. And it's especially satisfying since the poor boy has had such a rough go of it with losing his parents and getting stuck with the awful Dursleys!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  28. Surprise inheritance is an awesome trope. There's so much potential for mystery and chaos.

  29. That's a brilliant trope and one to love. I still remember Hagrid bringing the surprise news to Harry. And I read the Forgotten Garden last year and liked it too, definitely one of the better dual timeline surprises.
    ~Lex (

  30. Great choice of trope, one of my favourite tv series at the moment is 'ghosts' - a comedy where a couple get left a haunted house!

  31. Great choices, Susan. I wouldn't have thought of this trope, but it is one I really enjoy as well.


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