Aunt Becky is the holder of the family heirloom. On her deathbed, she holds a levee, saying she is going to tell who is next in line for the coveted jug. Instead, she informs her relatives that she has written the name of the inheritor and passed it to her executor, to be opened in one year. This sets in motion many events that only come to pass as a result of Aunt Becky's levee and announcement.
The amount of characters that Montgomery introduces right at the beginning is overwhelming, and somewhat off-putting. It's nearly impossible to remember who is who and how they relate to the others. In addition, with so many characters, she wasn't able to give them as much personality as she has in other novels.
Instead of one large plot, Montgomery tells several stories encompassing many of the characters. The stories are generally good, but so little fleshed out that they seem like sketches instead of complete tales.
On the whole, A Tangled Web is just that: a tangled web of characters and stories that are sometimes hard to unravel into any sense. It was a good premise, promising an engaging story, but Montgomery simply put too many elements into it for it to be a quality novel. I'd only recommend it to long-time Montgomery fans that haven't yet read it. If you are new to Montgomery, I recommend reading the 5 star Anne of Green Gables series or my favorite, the Blue Castle, instead.