Synopsis from School Library Journal (on amazon.com): YA. Alcott's first novel, written at age 17 and discovered in 1988, is a delightful rags-to-riches ramble in the life of orphan Edith Adelon, who is taken in by Lord and Lady Hamilton to serve as a companion to their young daughter, Amy. When Lord Hamilton dies, Edith is treated as a servant in the household until she saves Amy's life. Purer than pure, young Edith takes the slights and verbal abuses of her jealous rival, Lady Ida, while Lord Percy, an older, wiser, and sadder friend of young Lord Arthur Hamilton and the reason for Lady Ida's jealousy, looks on in his attempts to love Edith from a distance. Set on an aristocratic English manor in the 19th century, the plot twists and turns its way to a "happily ever after" ending. Even though characters are stereotyped and the plot is at times contrived, this precursor of Little Women is sure to be popular among budding readers of Jane Austen or sprouting young writers looking for desirable role models. This squeaky-clean novel written by an outstanding author at the beginning of her career is a desirable addition to any YA collection. Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I more agreed with the second review from Booklist on amazon.com, but the above one provided more a synopsis of the story itself.
While probably not truly bad for a first novel written at 17 years of age, I found both the plot and the characters of The Inheritance to be rather contrived. All of the characters were static and one-dimensional. I even had a difficult time feeling any empathy for orphan Edith Adelon. The story was pretty predictable as well.