The Bequest by Joanna Margaret

The Bequest is a terrific dark academia thriller that leans literary and oozes atmosphere.


Isabel Henley just arrived in Scotland to begin her Ph.D. under the supervision of a lauded feminist professor. However, upon her arrival, Isabel learns that the professor died from a hiking accident.

As Isabel settles into her work with a different advisor, she reunites with Rose, her charismatic and brilliant friend from undergrad.

It comes as a shock when Rose disappears but leaves a suicide note. Isabel suffers another shock, when she receives a message from Rose declaring they are both in danger. Rose implores Isabel to switch to Rose’s research and find a missing emerald from the sixteenth century. This new task sends Isabel across Italy and France seeking answers to save both of their lives.

Review of The Bequest

It sounds ridiculous, and sometimes it was (Isabel is the queen of ignoring red flags), but this story wholly captured my attention from the first page. It drips with gothic atmosphere.

An interest in history is probably a requirement to read this novel. Isabel spends loads of time researching and relaying it to the reader. There are the odd sentences in Italian, French, and Latin. And the author does not always provide a translation and context.

Interestingly, my ARC (advance reader copy) was just over 400 pages, but I noticed the finished version is around 300 pages. I thought some parts were a bit slow, so perhaps the finalized version will be more evenly paced.

If you like dark academia that is heavy on said academia, then you’ll likely enjoy this twisty book. I will definitely read future books by the author.

CW: sexual assault.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 18 October 2022

Thank you to Scarlet for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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