28. Ashenden: A Novel by Elizabeth Wilhide (2012)
Length: 339 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 26 March 2014
Finished: 29 March 2014
Where did it come from? From Barnes and Noble
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 January 2014
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Elizabeth Wilhide is a new author for me. Technically, Mareena bought this for herself when we went to Barnes and Noble – although she said she also bought it for me since she knows how much I enjoy reading books about houses.
When brother and sister Charlie and Ros learn that they have inherited their aunt’s palatial English country house, they must decide whether to keep it or sell it. Ashenden has been in their family since the eighteenth century and is steeped in family history. As the siblings survey the effects of time on the estate’s architectural treasures, a beguiling narrative spanning two and a half centuries unfolds.
We meet those who built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. The walls of Ashenden echo with the lives of the architect who directs the building of the house in 1775; the wealthy and affluent Henderson family in their heyday; the maid who is tempted to solve her problems by stealing a trinket; the Jazz Age speculator who hosts a fabulous treasure hunt; the prisoners held there during World War II; and the young couple who lovingly restore it in the 1950’s.
Each chapter is skillfully woven into the others so that the storylines of the upstairs and downstairs characters and their relatives and descendants intertwine to create a richly beautiful tapestry, full of humor, heart, and poignancy.
I absolutely loved this book. It was the type of story that I didn’t want to end. I have always loved stories about houses and their histories; and this book was no exception. Elizabeth Wilhide is a new author for me and this is her debut novel, although she has written many, many books on interior design. I give this book an A+!
A+! – (96-100%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight