The Ashford Affair is the latest book by bestselling author Lauren Willig.
The story takes place in the past and present, from the 1906-1999. It spans England, Kenya and New York City, telling the story of Adeline and Clementine. Adeline (Addie) is Clementines' grandmother who was born and raised in England at the turn of the century.
Addie, faced with the death of her parents in London in 1906, is taken in by her much wealthier aunt and uncle. They transport her to Ashford, a sprawling county estate to live with them and her cousins Diana (Dodo), Beatrice (Bea), and Poppy. Shy and very much the poor relation, Addie is fascinated with Bea, who is closest to Addie in age and has declared herself Addie's protector. But loving Bea has its price. Bea is the Deb of her year in London after the First World War, and is courted by many eligible suitors. She settles for the most eligible, but her life quickly turns sour as her new husband has a philandering eye. Addie's life revolves around Bea, but her desire to get a job and be independent clashes with what the family wants.
Clementine, a NYC attorney for a high powered firm, is working hard for a partnership. She has eschewed relationships, friendships, and a life for this goal. Clemmie adores her grandma Addie, and is distressed to receive a call while working in London that Addie is not doing well and Clemmie needs to return home. While Clemmie was in London for work, she unexpectedly came across some of her family's history. History that her mother and grandmother have been reluctant to share. Clemmie, encouraged by what she found, seeks the help of Jon, a history professor connected to her family by marriage to find out more about her family. She ends up discovering more than she bargained for.
Willig is known for her past and present style, which she incorporates in her Secret History of the Pink Carnation series. Her stories are well researched and engaging. Readers of historical fiction twined with women's themes will enjoy this.
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Review by Cara