The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The basics

Title: The Hawthorne Legacy


Series: The Inheritance Games #2

- The Inheritance Games (2020)
- The Hawthorne Legacy (2021)
- The Final Gambit (2022)

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Goodreads Summary:

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions - including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she's not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture - by any means necessary.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

What happened in The Hawthorne Legacy?

  • Avery is still reeling from the discovery that she had been playing chess with the guys’ uncle Toby in the park for ages.
  • Avery attends a football game, since she owns the team now and all. Fireworks go off and she is triggered, thinking it’s gunfire. Grayson and Jameson both comfort her.
  • Avery tells Grayson about Toby and the chess situation and he tells her not to speak about it to anyone else.
  • Avery’s bodyguard tells her about The List, which is a list of people who are sus and may try to kill her. 
  • Avery starts looking into the history of Tobias Hawthorne and how he supposedly died. There was a fire and a storm and his body was never recovered. The press said a girl called Kayle Rooney started the fire.
  • Avery finds a cipher disk in Toby’s old wing. Xander finds some lines from a poem called A Poison Tree.
  • Rebecca, Thea, and Xander are planning a memorial for Emily’s birthday.
  • Avery and Jameson find a code in a legal book in the library. Using a black light, they decipher the code and realise Toby is adopted. 
  • Avery realises that Toby’s signature matches the one on her birth certificate. Is Avery a Hawthorne after all?!
  • Avery and Jameson look at Tobias’ old will. Tobias was going to give money to different charities that were related to those who died on the island with Toby.
  • Skye reveals that she’s sleeping with Ricky Grambs (gross), and also that the charities in the will relate to her four sons.
  • Avery and her best friend, Max, talk about everything that has been going on.
  • Max comes to stay with Avery while her life is possibly in danger.
  • Jameson and Grayson go off to meet Grayson’s bio-dad, who is convinced that Toby set the island on fire and killed everyone. He thinks Tobias paid a lot of people off at the time.
  • Xander has possibly found out that Toby met his friends in rehab and they all connected there before going to the island together.
  • Avery figures out that the part of Tobias’ will talking about true north is talking about their vacation home in Colorado. Avery is determined to go there, and her lawyer confirms it’ll be fine by the will if Avery stays away for a couple of days.
  • At the vacation home, they find a hidden room. In there is a message, presumably one passed between Skye and Zara about a big fight they once had. There’s also a photo of a man in there. It’s thought that this is Nash’s father.
  • They also find a coded message, for which they need Tobias’ wedding ring to crack.
  • Jameson and Grayson arrive after everyone else.
  • Jameson and Avery make out in the hot tub and things are getting spicy, when a mysterious figure shows up in the woods. 
  • Avery is rushed back to Hawthorne House.
  • The group head to Zara’s suite to search for the wedding ring. Zara catches them immediately because they’re not subtle.
  • Zara lets them look at the ring as a trade for a ring that Nan has instead. Both rings have inscriptions that probably mean something.
  • The inscriptions are coordinates, this time pointing to a vacation home in Costa Rica.
  • Libby and Nash have been looking for Toby/Harry (the homeless chess guy) and they get given a note telling them to stop looking.
  • Xander reckons that Bex’s mother is Toby’s bio-mum. Avery goes straight to Mrs Laughlin, who confirms their theory. Avery says she thinks Toby is her father and Mrs Laughlin is suddenly really nice to her now they might be related.
  • Skye and Ricky are trying to get a TV interview, but Alisa tells Avery and Grayson to do one instead. The interview is going okay until Avery almost gives everything away and Grayson gets really mad. Grayson kisses Avery to get her to stop talking. 
  • Following the lead from the rings, Libby and Nash go to Costa Rica. Nash’s father is the caretaker there. He gives them a vial containing some powder that should work to reveal the secret message from Colorado.
  • The Colorado note was written by Tobias, and it says that Toby didn’t die on Hawthorne Island. 
  • They’re directed to a safe deposit box, which has papers showing Tobias’ search for Toby over the years. Avery realises that the locations that Tobias was looking (that Toby supposedly was) match a bunch of postcards that her mother was receiving over the years.
  • Avery looks into these postcards and realises there are lots of love notes between Toby and Avery’s mum, Hannah. 
  • Avery realises that Hannah was Kaylie’s sister.
  • The Rooney family are drug dealers near Hawthorne Island. Avery tries to reach out but they are having none of it.
  • The police report from the night of the fire reveals that Toby soaked the house in petrol, but he didn’t set the fire. Instead, lightning struck, and the house went up in flames.
  • Toby was injured in the fire and Hannah nursed him. Eventually they fell in love.
  • Avery is about to head home from Hawthorne Island when her plane explodes. Avery is hospitalised for a week.
  • Ricky and Skye are thought to have placed the bomb and are arrested, but it was actually Sheffield Grayson because he’s a knob.
  • Avery takes a DNA test and it’s revealed that Ricky is Avery’s bio-dad, not Toby. But how does that explain the birth certificate?!
  • Thea knocks on Avery’s door and leads her down a secret passage. This is a trap. Bex is being held prisoner and Thea had to cooperate with Sheffield Grayson in order to save her.
  • Avery’s maid, Mellie, knocks Avery out. 
  • Avery wakes up tied to a chair. The room seems to be soaked in petrol. These people really like setting fires…
  • Sheffield Grayson is there, and he’s trying to draw Toby out. He doesn’t know that Toby isn’t Avery’s bio-dad. He blames Toby for his nephew’s death.
  • It turns out that Toby does actually have a daughter, a girl named Eve. She is Mellie’s sister. Mellie has been working with a security guard called Eli because they want Toby to look after Eve.
  • Toby finally shows up.
  • He distracts Sheffield so Avery can escape. Mellie kills Sheffield.
  • Toby and Avery talk. He says he’s not her bio-dad, but because he loved Hannah he always thought of Avery as his daughter. It’s kind of wholesome. 
  • Toby says he can’t stay but he will provide for Eve (somehow… idk).
  • Avery and Jameson kiss on the roof.
  • age telling him to find Toby appears.

That’s what happened in The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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