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The Ashford Affair [Kindle Edition]

Lauren Willig
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Willig veers away from her Pink Carnation Regency spy series in this stand-alone offering, which follows Clementine Evans, an ambitious young lawyer who decides to dig into her family’s history after discovering she bears more than a passing resemblance to a cousin of her grandmother’s who she’s never heard of. Clemmie’s grandmother, Addie, and the cousin, Bea, grew up together in England in the early twentieth century after Addie’s parents died and Bea’s family took Addie in. Addie grew up in the glamorous Bea’s shadow, eventually losing Frederick, the man she loved, to Bea. In the present, Clemmie tries to reconcile this new information with what she knows about Addie’s long and happy marriage to Frederick. Clemmie feels especially betrayed by Jon, the handsome stepson of her mother’s sister, who clearly knows more than he’s letting on. Though it lacks the swashbuckling charm of her long-running series, Willig’s new outing takes readers from WWI-era London to Kenya of the 1920s to New York in the 1990s, offering plenty of twists and intrigue to keep them entertained. --Kristine Huntley


The Ashford Affair is a reader's treat, an artfully-woven saga that sweeps us into the lives of three generations of a family entangled in life-changing secrets. Lauren Willig spins a web of lust, power and loss, taking us from England to Kenya to New York, from World War I to today's modern world, posing a timeless question: what in our own family stories might surprise or shock - or change our lives - if we had access to the whispers from the past? (Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker)

"There are few authors who make you want to take a day off from life to devour their latest book, but Lauren Willig is one of them. The Ashford Affair is absolutely impossible to put down!" -Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

"Rich with detail and historical imagination, The Ashford Affair evokes the lives and passions of the interwar era with harrowing precision. The enthralling mystery kept me up late into the night, and the characters will remain with me forever. Lauren Willig has delivered a stunning masterpiece." - Beatriz Williams, author of Overseas

"With The Ashford Affair, Lauren Willig crafts a lavishly detailed saga readers will devour." - Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Enquiry

Product Details

  • File Size: 1188 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 9, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009HP01I0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,554 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glittering brilliance! April 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In a departure from her Napoleonic spy romances of the Pink Carnation Series, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig ventures into new territory with The Ashford Affair. Entwining one generation's story with that of another, from post-Edwardian British society to modern day Manhattan to a coffee farm in Kenya, the long veiled secrets of a woman are unraveled.

Clementine Evans, a focused, driven law associate on the cusp of making partner in a large Manhattan firm, attends her beloved grandmother Adeleine's 99th birthday and is accidentally enlightened to a family secret. At 34, Clemmie, feeling like her life is nothing but a 70-plus hour workweek, and a failed engagement, this intrigue becomes more than a distraction to the un-fulfilling, lonely details of her days.

"Clemmie slid the picture back into the drawer. There was another underneath it, a studio portrait of a woman, her head tilted. Her pale hair was crimped in stylized waves around her face and her pale eyes gazed soulfully into the distance. She looked, somehow, strangely familiar, her cheekbones, the shape of her lips, as if Clemmie had seen her somewhere before." p. 65.

But trying to get any information from her own tight-lipped mother proves difficult. And how is it that her ex-stepbrother knows more about the family histories than she does?

Adeleine Gillecote's parents die when she is almost six and she grows up as the mouse-brown ward of her aristocratic aunt and uncle at Ashford Park, a grand English country house. Though brought up with her cousins, Addie never overcomes the status of a poor relation.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just about right..... April 21, 2013
Like most "alternating timeline/present-day woman investigates secret from the past/family saga with a couple of love stories thrown in for good measure" novels, I both very much enjoyed The Ashford Affair and found it fairly predictable and too neatly tied up at the end.

Unlike most alternating timeline novels, I enjoyed both lead characters - Addie from the early 20th century and Clemmie from the end of the 20th century. I never found myself racing through one's portion of the book to get to the other. The relationships between characters were well-developed - particularly the crucial centerpiece of the novel, the relationship between Addie and Bea. And while I thought the lead romantic interest in the early 20th century portion was underdeveloped, I did enjoy the nuanced portraits of the women and how Willig managed to show the impact their social circumstances had on the formation of their characters.

That said, Ashford doesn't have the sweeping, grand feel I was expecting from a novel billed as a Downton Abbey cast of characters meets Out of Africa. In fact, the parts that do take place in Kenya seemed to go by quite quickly and I never had a strong sense of place when the characters were in Africa. The late 20th century story tied up in a way that you can see coming from the very first chapter.

Oddly enough, none of these quibbles really distracted me from the pleasure of reading the book and I got through it in a matter of a few reading sessions. I think most readers will find a lot to enjoy as The Ashford Affair - it's the kind of guilty-pleasure, "no what you're in for" kind of read that can be a lot of fun.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Secrets and an Unforgettable Love Story April 9, 2013
Clementime Evans puts in an appearance at her grandmother Addie's, ninety-ninth birthday. She's been working long hours expecting to make partner in a large Manhattan law firm, but the effort has taken it's toll. She's dealing with a broken engagement and other evidence that her life is falling apart. Seeing her grandmother reminds her of the extraordinary love affair between her grandparents, but even there she finds something disturbing when a guest alludes to a family secret. Clementine's curiosity is aroused, and she begins a quest to discover the secret.

The story is told in the alternating voices of Clementine and her grandmother Addie. Clementine's story takes place in the wealthy sector of Manhattan. Her grandmother's story ranges from WWI society in Britain to the plains of Kenya. The historical locales are realistic giving a glimpse of what Africa and Britain were like before the world wars.

The characters are sympathetic. You can't help wanting to hear their story, and what a story it is: an intense love affair, murder or suicide, and complex family dynamics. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a family saga combined with an unforgettable love story.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Willig does her usual part of the story in the past, part in the present and constantly moving between the parts. Her characters in this book are well drawn, perhaps more so than in her Pink Carnation series, which made this book even better. It all takes place in the 20th century from around WWI and shortly thereafter to the present. The story moves from present day Manhattan to a coffee plantation in Kenya to high society in England in the teens and 20s. Clemmie, the modern day heroine is on the fast track, driven to attain partnership at a law firm while missing out on life and love. She finds family secrets and uncovers romance along the way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love
It goes back and forth between granddaughter and grandma it is a very interesting read and i hope she writes more about this family.
Published 8 days ago by Molly B. Laird
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like the pink carnation books, try this
This was a nice story. Willig is great at telling cross-generational stories. Engaging read.
Published 1 month ago by C. Garrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely read -- totally engrossing!
Published 1 month ago by Weinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 2 months ago by Carol Eubanks
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was a fun, romantic novel, easy on the brain cells, but fun
Published 2 months ago by Mary K. Kessler
4.0 out of 5 stars A titled family story
This story is about the Ashfords who Are a titled family. The main characters are Addie who was orphaned as a young girl and went to live with her father's brother's family. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DUTCH
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read. Fun and entertaining.
I enjoyed this book almost from the start. The characters were well developed as were the time periods. This the first Willig book I have read and will certainly read another.
Published 2 months ago by carolyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Families and their secrets
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, this family, and the exposure of their hidden lives. This was the first book I've read from this author, but it certainly won't be the last.
Published 3 months ago by K. Forbes
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought the book wonderful I have been homebound with a torn...
I thought the book wonderful
I have been homebound with a torn
Minescus and I was captivated the
Entire day reading it!
Published 4 months ago by Joyce Elkus
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read for fans of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley
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... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Camille Di Maio
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More About the Author

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

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