The Ashford Affair

The Ashford Affair

by Lauren Willig
4.5 25


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The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig comes The Ashford Affair, a page-turning novel about two women in different eras, and on different continents, who are connected by one deeply buried secret.

A New York Times best seller!

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250027863
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/25/2014
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 155,625
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

LAUREN WILLIG is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Pink Carnation series and a RITA Award-winner for Best Regency Historical for The Mischief of Mistletoe. She graduated from Yale University, and has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.


New York, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 28, 1977

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., Yale University, 1999; M.A., Harvard University, 2001

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The Ashford Affair 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
A very readable book, but nothing you have not read before. Nothing about this novel is original. 'Downton Abbey,' 'House at Riverton,' 'The Bolter,' 'Out of Africa'...take your pick. The so-called 'mysteries' of the plot seem overblown and sort of pointless at times--really? A 35 year old granddaughter getting bent out of shape because she finds out her beloved grandmother had not shared intimate secrets with her--when even the granddaughter admits they had drifted apart with age? The modern side of the story is set in 1999/2000 yet these people act like computer research was unheard of in trying to find out the great 'mysteries' of the family. Indeed, the so called 'modern' angle boasts young men and women who seem to be living 50 years in the past instead of the 21st century. To add to the frustration, the writing is not great. Lots of unnecessary repetition in words, phrases, I started to wonder at times if the author was capable of using a pronoun when referencing people. Some sloppy editing with multiple typos. Yet all that being said, this IS readable; it is well paced and while any experienced, savvy reader can see the plot 'twists' coming from miles away, it will probably keep your attention. It did mine--all the while I was irritated by all the elements listed here. This novel is one of these reads that I equate with a 'popcorn movie' in the summer: you have seen it all before but you sit through it anyway. This is a predictable, not very original but fairly filling read for a weekend beach read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw some mixed reviews but as a fan of both the Pink Carnation and Two L, I gave The Ashford Affair a try. Happily I can say that I was in no way disappointed with my purchase. Willig is a very clever author and I enjoyed this book immensely.
slango28 More than 1 year ago
.The Ashford Affair is a standalone novel outside of the Pink Carnation series and it is amazing. Ashford is quite different from the Carnation series. It has a lot more depth and meaning and takes more “thinking” to read than her previous stories, but is well worth it. The novel is filled with complex relationships, family drama (which everyone can relate to at a certain point), and mystery (even when I thought I had everything figured out, another twist would pop up!). Ashford tells the tale of the confusing, heartbreaking, but oh-so-necessary transformation of two women from two different generations and lifestyles, Addie and Clemmie, from their follow-the-leader personalities to independent and confident ways. Addie is from 1920’s England when times were different, there were society rules to follow and women were supposed to be okay with whatever they were told to do and be. As a young girl Addie is thrown into a life of rules and formality after she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle at Ashford when her parents are killed in a tragic accident. Bea, Addie’s gorgeous yet wild and reckless cousin, takes her under her wing and tries to mold Addie, but how can Addie step out on her own? And when Addie finally finds a man she might love, will Bea let her make her own decision? Then there is the story of Clemmie in modern day New York City. Her transformation must come in another form. She’s been tied to work and school for as long as she can remember. Doing whatever she’s been told by her bosses; staying late, working holidays, throwing away relationships, but for what purpose? Is having a successful career more important than finding love and having lasting relationships? Or is there a happy medium? I loved this story it really made me made think about my life because all of the different issues it brought up. There are so many discussible topics in this book! World War I happens and its’ repercussions, the effects of divorce and affairs when they were first becoming more “popular” and the comparison to how they are viewed now, family secrets, the morals of marrying for love or for status, loving someone who is in a bad marriage, and the list goes on and on. This would make a great book club book; the discussion could go on for a very long time :) Plus part of the book takes place in Kenya in the post World War I era which I really enjoyed reading about because it was something totally new to me.
AngieJG More than 1 year ago
It took a while for me to get into this book. It is a good story, but I felt it should have been longer. There was a lot material and back story missing. I would have liked more of a window into the relationship between Addie and Frederick after Bea disappeared. I would have liked to know more about Bea and her choices. I was less interested in the modern part of the story. I did enjoy it, but would have liked more.
ebooks18 More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read - more than just another multi-genrational saga. The intrigue was sustained and the book was well written
camilledimaio More than 1 year ago
London, Kenya, New York. It has all the makings of a great novel. And, it delivers. I would not have found “The Ashford Affair” were it not for websites that recommend books based on your other likes. I am a HUGE fan of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, so when multiple people compared Lauren Willig to them, I had to look further. Her other offerings are part of a series with floral names. Being a fan neither of flowers or series, I lost hope until I came upon what is admittedly a departure for her. I hope that she will continue in this genre more. Alternating between the 1920s and 1999, Clementine Evans struggles with guilt over her grandmother’s failing health, a broken relationship, and the stress of trying to make partner at her law firm. Enter a long-lost love who is on the same quest she is – to piece together a history that hints that her family is not everything she has always been told it is. Decades earlier, debutant Bea and her orphaned cousin Addie compete for the affections of Frederick, leading to a face-off on his coffee plantation in Kenya. The disappearance of one and the subsequent murder investigation have repercussions that will affect the generations of their families well in to the turn of the millennium. Willig seamlessly weaves the time periods together, making parallels in their events that keep the momentum alive throughout the book. She also includes copies literary references, and I have to give her major props for mentioning Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester instead of the over-used Mr. Darcy with whom so many other people seem besotted. My only critique is that there were several places where the coincidences that occurred were unrealistic and the story line could have flowed without them. They distracted my reading with a “Yeah, right”, and in a lesser book, they would have weakened the credibility of the whole thing. But, in the hands of a master storyteller like Willig, they are mere blips. Ms. Willig’s next work of historical fiction is pre-Raphaelite, so I will look forward to reading that one as soon as my ever-growing stack of books-to-read has just grown again thanks to Christmas morning and relatives who know how to feed my addiction to words on pages.
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
I loved the mystery in this book, which spanned several time periods and generations. In 1999, Clementine Evans learns that she has a long-lost relative named Bea. The woman was her Granny Addie's cousin, and apparently Clemmie looks a lot like her. But why has nobody ever mentioned her before, and what are all these cutting and cryptic remarks from her Aunt Anna? The story moves between Clemmie's hectic life as a junior lawyer in Manhattan to the past where we learn about Addie and Bea as young girls, debutantes, and young women. The story also moves from Edwardian England before and after World War I to the plantations of Kenya in the 1920s. The tension builds as Clemmie delves deeper into her family's history to find out what happened to Bea. I found many parallels between Bea and Scarlett from Gone With the Wind. They are both debutantes brought up to be ladies, run great houses, and rule over the social set. However, their lives are interrupted by a great war that obliterates everything they have been trained for. I don't think Bea handled it as well as Scarlett, but you'll have to decide for yourself. There are also threads of romance throughout the book, both in the present and the past. However, I wouldn't categorize this book as primarily a "romance." It does have a satisfying ending, though.
TexasK More than 1 year ago
This book pulls in all the top literary writers of the time. It is set between 1900 and 2000 and a little beyond. Most characters were well written and note worthy. The story pulls you in from the very beginning and does not let you go. It is a must read for any book club!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of the Pink Carnation series, so I picked this up. I liked this just as much- Willig did a great job crafting an intricate plot that keeps the pages turning, and I found both story lines to be compelling. A great read!
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literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Addie Gillicote’s life has evolved into a series of dramatic changes, some of which fall upon her and some of which she inadvertently causes. Her granddaughter, Clementine (Clemmie), seems to be following the same journey.  It all begins with the sudden, accidental death of Addie’s parents when she is sent to live with her cousin, Bea’s family. Addie is really unwanted, the daughter of “bohemian” parents who really doesn’t fit into the aristocratic family she is now expected to call her own.  WWI looms almost immediately upon her arrival, but Bea and Addie promise from the very first day to be like “sisters.” What is to follow is far from sisterly behavior! The story goes back and forth between the late 1920’s in England to New York in the year 2000.  Addie is old and frail but we are treated to the story of her life, which includes falling in love with what she believes is the wrong man; Bea marries the wrong man, divorces, and then is forced to marry another man, Frederick; they quickly tire of each other and even come to loathe each other.  Bea believes she saved Addie from the likes of Frederick but the story shows otherwise with a shocking series of events that doesn’t come to light until Clemmie, years later finds out the truth that is really about lie after lie after lie. Frederick is a stereotypical character marred by the awful memories he carries from his time of service in WWI.  He is so shocked and marred that he is incapable of following his heart instead of reasoning what could possibly destroy the woman he truly loves!  He will change but not until he is so in love with a daughter that he fears to choose a lifestyle that might mean losing her and later his wife, Bea. In a time when couples married for social standing, love arrangements seem to be satirized, especially when they are reached through rebellion and from selfish interests.  Clemmie, after losing a senior associate lawyer’s position in which she hoped to become partner after seven grueling years of work and sacrifice, is circumspect about the possibility of love and finding where to fit in for one’s own worth, a position contrary to everything she was raised to believe would guarantee happiness.  Changing times often leave behind personalities who either refuse to change or who choose the most contrary opposite of lifestyles.  It’s all about finding one’s identity as one loses the old ways; for some it works, for others it’s tragic!  The Ashford Affair is a gripping story of love and hate gone awry and reaching out for a satisfactory union that will heal a mass of wounds almost worse than war itself!  Lauren Willig has crafted a stunning read that is quite reflective of the eighty year span of history that shaped and jettisoned generations into the twenty-first century.  Great Read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the whole book in 1 day. I loved it and could hardly put it down.
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Happy with my B&N orders... Except for those through Marketplace... They take too long... But otherwise, love to read and love the frequent 20% discounts... thanks!