10 July 2016

The Lyon Legacy (The Lyon Legacy, Book 1; Harlequin Superromance, #847)


Synopsis from Goodreads: It's fifty years since the Lyon family of New Orleans ventured into what was then an exciting new business - television. Despite objections from some in the family, Margaret Hollander Lyon believed it was the wave of the future...and the past fifty years have certainly proven her right!

The Lyons created a legacy for their children and grandchildren - a legacy of business success and family loyalty.

But the Lyon Legacy is also a history of feuding, betrayal, deceptions. Every family has its secrets, and the Lyons have more than most.

Margaret, Andre, Leslie - three generations of the Lyon family. Three stories about the power of family bonds...and the life-changing power of love.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Harlequin Books, 1999.

How acquired: I've had this book for a couple of years, but do not remember where or how I got it.

THE LYON LEGACY is actually three stories. The first story is "Beginning", by Peg Sutherland, a new to me author. Margaret and her seven year old son, André, reside in the Lyon mansion with her in-laws and her husband's siblings, but not her husband. Paul Lyon went off to fight in the war, and when it was over he lost himself in the bayous, leaving behind his illustrious career as a radio broadcaster, and the son who he was convinced was not his child. When the story opens, Margaret is pushing for the company to start a TV station, but she is getting a lot of dissent from the Lyon family, who think television is a fad that will eventually fade out. She needs an ally, so she tracks down Paul and drags him back into everyone's lives, where he finds himself intrigued with the idea of television, and of course still wildly attracted to the wife he'd tried to forget.

I really enjoyed this well-written novella. The characters were quickly established and fleshed out. Margaret is a strong-willed woman who refused to sit back and be a society wife. She wanted to go to college and she wanted a career with Lyon Broadcasting, a company her father was a partner in. The narrative jumps back and forth between the "present" day, which for this story is 1949, and 1941, when Margaret was a teenager hanging out at the studio, falling in love with the radio station. And with Paul.

After reading the short prologue, and then getting a few pages into the story, I was very confused about some things that just seemed inconsistent time wise. So much so that I reread passages in a desperate attempt to get things straight in my head, to no avail. I finally just had to let it go so I could enjoy the story. And then at the end, secrets were revealed that explained it all away. I was also a little surprised when the story ended, just because of the length. It was so good that I'd forgotten it wasn't a novel in itself until I reached the last page. And have tissues handy for those last pages, because I cried. My favorite passage:
He slugged back the last of his coffee and stood. "Nobody gets me, sweetheart. And if I want anything you've got, you'll know the minute I come after it. 
The second story is Silver Anniversary, by Roz Denny Fox, an author I'm already a fan of. It's now 1974, and the Lyons' television station, WDIX-TV, is about to celebrate it's 25th anniversary. André is all grown up now, and after a lonely childhood spent in the Lyon mansion he's now living in a rented shack in the bayou, where he and a partner run a swamp tour business. Margaret shows up at his door one morning, and demands that move back home and take his rightful place at the station. Paul had recently had a heart attack, and has had to cut down on the number of hours he puts in at work, and Margaret needs to cut down as well so she can spend time with her husband. It's time for André to learn the business so he can be ready to take over the reins after the anniversary celebration. He grudgingly agrees to do so, but requests that his parents also take in Rachel, a young neighbor girl who has a bad home life.

Gabrielle's mother and Margaret were close friends, and when Gabrielle's husband was killed, leaving her pregnant and alone, she sought Margaret's help. She's lived at the Lyon mansion ever since. She's Margaret's right hand at the tv station, and now that Margaret and Paul are cutting back, Gabrielle has assumed more responsibility. She thrives on the job, putting in long hours and is hoping with Paul and Margaret cutting back that after the anniversary celebration they'll put her in charge. She's not happy when Margaret announces her son is coming to work and Gabrielle will be training him.

It was a little disconcerting, after the first story and knowing how much Margaret loved young André and was so devoted to him, to now find out that he had a lonely and not always happy childhood. Margaret was so driven in her desire to make the tv station a success that she spent long hours at work rather than with her son. At one point Margaret muses that she sees Gaby doing the same with her daughter, and she hopes that one of the benefits of bringing André on board will be Gaby being able to slow down and spend more time at home with Leslie.

I loved André. He was a bit colorful, and while he did dive head first into learning all he could about running the station, he wasn't prepared to slave away his whole life. In Leslie he saw a kindred spirit, and he became determined to get Gaby to slow down and spend more time with her daughter. Of course part of what endeared him to me was his interactions with both Leslie and Rachel. I liked Gabrielle well enough, but for me André drove the story.

The third story is Golden Anniversary, by Ruth Jean Dale, another new to me author. It's now December 1998, and Leslie is a librarian. The station will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary in July, and Leslie has taken a leave of absence from her job to compile a history of the station. While not exactly shy, Leslie is a little awkward and out of place at the station. She has a phobia of public speaking, which her parents and grandparents think she's overcome or grown out of, when in reality she's just learned to avoid being put in situations where public speaking is required. But with the anniversary coming up, she's expected to be there with all the family for the press conference. When she panics in front of the cameras, Michael, the director of human resources, catches her eye and helps her focus and get through the ordeal. Leslie already has a crush on Michael, and get's tongue tied and embarrassed around him.

When the job opportunity at WDIX-TV came up, Michael, a widower, moved himself and his young daughter from New York. His mother-in-law is upset at not being able to see her granddaughter all the time, and has been threatening to sue Michael for custody on the grounds that his live in housekeeper has to raise the child while he works. She has a boatload of money, and Michael is worried about how that could all turn out. And then his housekeeper has to move away for family reasons, and he's really worried about his mother-in-law's reaction.

While I liked Michael well enough, I had a hard time connecting with Leslie. The women in the first two stories were such strong women, and then here was the shrinking violet Leslie, mooning over Michael like a love sick teenager. Where the first two stories moved quickly, this one seemed to drag a bit. And again, it was a little disconcerting to see how Margaret and Gabrielle both seemed to dismiss Leslie's feelings and steamroll her into doing what they wanted. Though I loved the scene where Michael cornered them and got in their faces about it.

The rest of the books in the series are full length novels, one by each of the three authors. I've already read the Fox book, FAMILY FORTUNE. Since it's a multi author series, I wasn't worried about reading them out of order, but after FAMILY FORTUNE I wanted to go back and read the other books. I'm really looking forward to Sutherland's book, FAMILY REUNION, although I have to find a copy of it first. And despite my lukewarm feelings about Dale's story, I will read her book, FAMILY SECRETS, which is the second book, and which I already have in my TBR pile.

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