"Ashford" by Melanie Rose is an exquisite read that draws readers in from the very first page. The story is revealed in first person by the lovely, innocent heroine, Anna. At 17, Anna experiences her first introduction to young adult freedom while in the care of her absentminded caretakers, the Beauforts, who are tasked with accompanying Anna to Europe just prior to the start of World War II.
The author does an exceptional job at evoking the setting and tone for this period piece of historical fiction. Readers are engaged into the dalliance and innocence of a young girl meeting her first love, Perry Bertram. Perry serves as the unsung hero, unable to serve in the war because of narcolepsy; Perry is loyal, selfless, and honest. His love for Anna is apparent early on, but circumstances keep them apart as both Anna and Perry are tested in different ways by the tragedy of war and separation.
Rose does a brilliant job of creating characters that readers will love and portrays both the eloquence and tragedy of wartime with exceptional narrative, poignant dialog, and well-drawn characters. "Ashford" is both a tender story of a girl growing up as well as a poignant story of epic love that will stay with readers for a long time to come. "Ashford" is a superb novel of literary quality and is appropriate for both young adult and adult fiction readers of historical fiction, alike.
I look forward to reading more of Melanie Rose's novels.