Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book of the Week - The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

Willig skillfully entwines the lives of two women, one born in 1900 and dying on her hundredth birthday and the other, an ambitious attorney living in the Manhattan of the late 20th century.

Orphaned Addie, was the daughter of a younger son of good family, who threw propriety to winds marrying the woman he was in love with and living in Bloomsbury. When they are killed in an accident she is sent to live with her uncle the Earl of Ashford and is taken under the wing of her cousin, Bea. Willig brilliantly limns the world of upper crust nobility and in counterpoint, the world of a poor relation in the early years of the 20th century, the tumultuous years of World War I and roaring twenties in Britain. Estranged, the cousin's lives change drastically when they meet up again in Kenya.

Clemmie, a Manhattan attorney on the partnership track has always felt close to her granny Addie but doesn't follow up on the family history until granny Addie dies on her hundredth birthday. Clemmie has put her life on hold until she can make partner. She's always been attracted to her cousin by marriage but he married someone else and she was in a long engagement that didn't play out.

Willig teases out bits and pieces, illuminating both women's stories and the eras in which they live.

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