Thursday, July 11, 2013

Julie's Reviews: The Ashford Affair

Summary: As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything shes been working towards but now shes not sure its enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addies ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .Growing up at Ashford Park in the early twentieth century, Addie has never quite belonged. When her parents passed away, she was taken into the grand English house by her aristocratic aunt and uncle, and raised side-by-side with her beautiful and outgoing cousin, Bea. Though they are as different as night and day, Addie and Bea are closer than sisters, through relationships and challenges, and a war that changes the face of Europe irrevocably. But what happens when something finally comes along that cant be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond thats even stronger? From the inner circles of British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.  

Review:  The Ashford Affair is my first Lauren Willig but it most certainly won't be my last. Anyone who loves a good mystery, a stunning setting and wonderful characters will want to read this novel. Ms. Willig has a way of making even the despicable seem enticing. We are taken from London in the days of World War II to modern day New York, back to Kenya during the 1920s. It is a family drama with romance and intrigue.

Addie is the character that the novels stems around but Bea is always there lurking in the background. Addie was the orphan but she was also the strong and independent one. Bea is the debutante who relies on her looks and charm. Addie is the one who has to use her brain to get ahead in life. It is true that they were close like sisters until Bea needed a way out of her life, then she kicked Addie aside.

Clemmie is Addie's granddaughter who works too much and doesn't take the time to enjoy life. She's recovering from a broken engagement when she learns a little bit more about the way her grandmother grew up. As things start to work their way to the surface about her grandmother's life, Clemmie's carefully constructed life falls apart.

Ms. Willig does a very good job of taking you on a wonderful ride. Yes, there are a few twists and turns but not completely unlikely. This story has emotion and I found myself near tears a few different times. Sure there was one thing that I knew for certain that was going to happen but in the end, I was fine with it. It won't take a reader too long to figure it out.

I loved taking a trip to Kenya and visiting a coffee farm. This is one setting and time period I wish we would have spent more time in. It almost felt like a quick pass through. I wanted more. I wanted to know how they lived and survived there, why they left.

The Ashford Affair is a sweeping novel that you will read through quickly because you want to know what happened. You want the characters to find peace, have closure, be happy. This is a novel that historical fiction fans won't want to miss.

Final Take:  4.5/5

This is our Hashtag Book Club pick of July. You can follow the conversation with #AshfordAffair. 



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