Book Review: The Test

Paul Parnell, patriarch of an extensive family including six grown children from three women plus a number of grandchildren, in-laws and assorted coattail relations spent most of his adult life amassing a fortune. When Paul died, his heirs lined up for the reading of the will on an estate worth billions, what they heard was a challenge. In an unusual test of character, the six siblings have one year to change their lifestyles, morals and outlooks while coming up with a way to improve society.

In the spirit of greedy backstabbing, when the children discover there is no way to contest the will, they each begin searching for ways to fill the requirements while subverting everyone else’s efforts. As the year unfolds, the family endures a series of tragedies set against the political backdrop of 2001 and the events of 9/11.

Gussin has created a fascinating mix of characters with more money then most of us can imagine. As might be expected, there are numerous subplots as the extended family get in on the test thus providing plenty of plot twists, many obvious, some surprising. The family tree located at the front of the book will prove invaluable as readers attempt to keep track of the many characters and their relationships. An enjoyable read with an important underlying message regarding the important role parents play in molding children into decent human beings.

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