5 of 5 stars
The Ashford Affair is a St Martin's Press publication. The book is scheduled for an April 2013 release. Our story bounces back and forth between 1999 New York and 1926 Kenya. There is a backstory that begins in 1906 when Addie is sent to live with her Uncle Charles and Aunt Vera in London after the death of her parents. Addie grows up alongside her cousin Bea. The two of them are very close, like sisters. Bea is a beautiful debutante and Addie is just her poor relation cousin, so their lives will be very different in adulthood. Bea does as her mother expects her to and married a Marquis. Addie is an idealist hoping to one day become a novelist. Addie and Bea's background sets up the story as Bea finds herself involved the worst scandal imaginable for those times. She leaves London and lives in Kenya. Several years later Addie finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She has been proposed to and is planning on marriage, but before she settles into married life, she just has to see Bea... and Bea's husband Franklin. The story fast forwards to 1999 when Addie's granddaughter, Clemmie has arrived for Addie's 99th birthday celebration. We meet Clemmie's mother and Aunt and other family members. If you have been paying attention, you will be struck immediately with a sense of foreboding. It is obvious that things in 1999 are not like you would expect them to be. Clemmie is a lawyer working herself to the bone in hopes of making partner. She has just broken things off with her fiance and is feeling a little off her game. Then she is informed that Addie is in the hospital and it doesn't look good. These events set in motion a startling series of revelations and questions for Clemmie. The multilayered story of Bea and Addie and Franklin, the deep emotional saga of love and heartbreak , the 1920's in London and the stark contrast of life in Kenya is wonderfully woven. Bea had everything and nothing. As for Clemmie, she has to work through her own mess of a life and come to terms with her changing idea of family and what is important in life. For those who recognize the name Lauren Willig as a mystery author, you will find this one is not her usual fare. This is one part historical fiction, one part family drama/saga, one part romance, and only a little bit of mystery. A completely absorbing tale I found myself really caught up in. This one is hard to put down. A really feel good ending and a Happily ever after too. I loved it. This book will appeal readers of all the generes mentioned above. One of the best I've read in awhile. Highly recommend! Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.