The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
ISBN: 9781250014498 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250027191 (ebook)
ASIN: B009HP01I0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s 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 Addie’s 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 can’t be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond that’s 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.
Clemmie (Clementine) Evans is a hard-working woman. She's dedicated seven years of her life to the law-firm of Cromwell, Polk & Moore and is the fast-track (if seven years is considered fast) to be considered a junior partner. Clemmie has no social life to speak of and has recently broken up with her fiancé. She does, however, make time to attend her grandmother's ninety-ninth birthday party. One little slip of the tongue sets off an investigation into her family's past.
Adeline (Addie) Gillecotte was orphaned at age six and sent to live with her father's half-brother, the current Earl of Ashford, and his family at Ashford Park. She is quickly befriended by her cousin Bea and the two become as close as sisters. Bea grows up to be "the debutante of the decade," marries the Marquess Rivesdale and goes off to London taking Addie with her. Unfortunately Bea quickly becomes bored with her life, especially since her husband is prone to go off to the country with his mistress. In an effort to make her husband jealous she embarks on an affair with Addie's friend, Frederick Desborough . . . an affair that ends one marriage and quickly forces her into another. Frederick and Bea leave England behind and travel to Kenya where disaster strikes and changes the Desborough family forever.
Ms. Willig has provided another great read that blends contemporary and historical storylines. The past is presented as Addie's story from 1906 through the late 1920s. Addie's life with her uncles and cousins wasn't necessarily a hard life, but she never quite fit in at Ashford Park. She strives to make a life for herself in London after Bea's disastrous affair, and eventually finds gainful employment and a beau. Both Addie and Bea's lives are changed in Kenya. Clemmie is on a quest to find out just what happened to her grandparents in Africa, and ultimately discovers what she wants from life. I found The Ashford Affair to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Ms. Willig drew me in from the very first page and held my attention to the end. The Ashford Affair provides a tantalizing blend of family drama, romance, and intrigue and is the perfect read for a springtime weekend read.
Read an excerpt here.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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