The Hawthorne Inheritance

Kate Dike Blair


Author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s sister Louisa drowns in 1852. But was it really an accident? In 1830, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cousin John Stephens Dike flees Massachusetts and his abusive stepmother Priscilla and settles...

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Author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s sister Louisa drowns in 1852. But was it really an accident?

In 1830, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cousin John Stephens Dike flees Massachusetts and his abusive stepmother Priscilla and settles in Ohio, where he expands his uncle’s successful Grocery Emporium and marries his beloved Margaretta. Haunted only by occasional debilitating headaches, he considers his painful past to be safely behind him, until in 1883 an unexpected inheritance from his cousin Elizabeth Hawthorne brings John Stephens’ nightmarish boyhood again to the fore.

The inheritance consists of a crate of shabby furniture and a collection of old papers detailing the love affair between John Stephen’s late father John Dike and Hawthorne’s younger sister, Louisa. But it also raises some questions surrounding Louisa’s drowning in the 1852 Henry Clay steamship disaster. The documents include: John Dike’s post mortum treatiss regarding his affair with Louisa and her death; Louisa Hawthorne’s warm and witty diary entries celebrating the clandestine romance with John Dike and her experiences with Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and the Hawthorne, Alcott, Emerson, and Peabody families; and damning letters to a clergyman from the late Priscilla Dike detailing her hellish revenge.

But can John Stephens conquer his childhood terrors and find justice for Louisa? And what other literary bombshells lie hidden within Elizabeth Hawthorne’s bequest? In this meticulously researched historical novel, Kate Dike Blair salutes her Hawthorne cousins and their circles, explores inconsistencies in the Henry Clay accident inquest, and chronicles for the ages John and Louisa’s star-crossed romance.

 Watch the book trailer: Hawthorne Inheritance Video

by Kate Dike Blair
Page Count: 255
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: August 28, 2021
Imprint: Milford House Press
Genre: Historical Fiction


FICTION / Biographical
FICTION / Historical / Civil War Era
FICTION / Historical / General

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Based on 7 reviews
A Captivating Read

A captivating read describing a captivating world

Kate Dike Blair’s historical novel The Hawthorne Inheritance is a remarkable book. It is a fascinating love story that occurs within a family in the 1800’s. It pulls in some notable literary giants, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, who are characters in this well-written book. What is remarkable is that the author adeptly recreates the world of that time for the reader. You can see and sense what people are wearing, eating, and smelling in each locale. You are totally immersed in the world of the novel. Through diary entries, letters, and personal documents, the reader becomes acquainted with the different characters, and the plot zips along in a most engaging manner. How do you know when you have read a good and important book? When you can’t put it down and do not want it to end. The Hawthorne Inheritance is one of those books. In addition, it is fascinating to note that author based the novel upon her family’s connections to the Hawthorne family and other New England families mentioned in the book. Blair infused her family’s history with romance and drama and gives her readers a wonderful, fun, and educational read.

A stunning, suspenseful tale of family intrigue and forbidden romance

Kate Dike Blair's "The Hawthorne Inheritance" is a beautifully written story of family intrigue that will hook you immediately from the first page to the last. Drawing from the author’s own ancestral history, this historical novel carries an emotional weight that adds depth to its already rich tapestry.

Blair's eloquent prose paints vivid scenes that unfold like a film in the mind’s eye. I was especially taken by the heart of the story—the enigmatic circumstances that surrounded the drowning death of Nathaniel Hawthorne's sister Louisa as well as the truth of her illicit romance with her uncle by marriage. The twists and turns of the suspenseful plot kept me turning pages, eager to uncover the next revelation. I also got a special kick when literary greats that included Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott and my teen fave, Margaret Fuller, made memorable appearances.

"The Hawthorne Inheritance" transported me into a world I found so compelling and tantalizing, it left me longing for more as the final chapter drew near. For those seeking an absorbing literary read, “The Hawthorne Inheritance” is your ticket. It’s a captivating delight and very highly recommended.

JC Gatlin
Historical Fiction with a Deep Mystery

This historical fiction novel crosses multiple generations to weave together actual and theoretical events to explore the death of Louisa Hawthorne, the younger sister of author Nathaniel Hawthorne. There’s a deep mystery here that is thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, full of alluring revelations, scheming family members, and illicit affairs. The characters are fleshed-out, colorful, and each one has a distinct voice. This book will appeal to mystery readers as well as fans of historical fiction.

Seamless weaving of truth with fiction

Seamlessly weaving actual events with fictitious ones, Kate Dike Blair’s well-researched novel presents a plausible theory about the possible circumstances surrounding Louisa Hawthorne’s death. Best of all, this book has a character you will love to hate!

put me right into that period

I felt so much a part of the characters. The author was excellent at giving voices to the characters such that I really felt the characters come alive. Excellent book.