The Ashford Affair

April 9, 2013

The Ashford Affair
By: Lauren Willig
355 Pages

Clemmie has nothing but fond, heartwarming memories of her beloved Granny Addie. However, upon her death, Clemmie learns that all wasn't what it seemed. As she works to make partner in the law firm she works, Clemmie's world takes a turn she never thought it would. Throw in the unresolved past with her once cousin through marriage, and Clemmie's world has gone from calm and certain to anything but. Clemmie discovers the truth as the reader travels back in time to read Addie's story.

Lauren Willig has a gift for merging a historical story line with a present one. I became an instant fan of hers when I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Her talent for weaving the past and present into an intriguing story line is nothing short of talented. But, does she carry this talent into a book that isn't part of her successful Pink Carnation series? Absolutely. Once again, Lauren Willig has penned a story you can't put down.

Addie is a young girl who is sent to live with an estranged Aunt and Uncle when her parents are killed in an accident. Knowing her Aunt doesn't want her there, the only source of comfort and happiness is found in her cousin, Bea. The two form an immediate, unshakable bond. They share many fond memories, including the time Bea accidentally let Addie's pet mouse lose at her older sister's coming out ball. However, it's at this very ball that Addie meets the man she's destined to fall in love with-Frederick.

Years later, Bea is married to a man who now turns to another for what he once looked for in her. In an attempt to make her husband jealous, Bea takes on a lover of her own- a depressed Frederick, who is trying to forget his wartime memories. She gets pregnant and is overheard by her husband. An embarrassing and public divorce follows. Bea ends up marrying Frederick and the two run a coffee farm in Kenya. Reality hits quickly and the couple are bitterly unhappy by the time Addie has the courage to visit several years later. 

The old attraction between Frederick and Addie is hard to deny. Bea plans a safari before Addie returns to her life (and boyfriend) in England. However, everything changes when Bea goes missing. Leaving behind 2 young girls, Addie stays to help Frederick. Once Bea is legally declared dead, Frederick and Addie get married. However, Addie has always wondered if Bea really was dead or just disappeared. 

Addie's story is told in between Clemmie's story. She's on the brink of making partner when her Granny Addie's health takes a rapid decline. While in London on business, Clemmie gets a call from her former cousin, Jon, to come home. Nothing can prepare Clemmie for Addie's passing. But Addie's body isn't even cold before Clemmie is hit with the revelation that Addie wasn't her blood relation. Now Clemmie wants to know the story of what happened.

There to help her figure everything out is her former cousin by marriage, Jon. The two shared a night together in Rome, but that was it. Everything had been left unresolved- until now. The time has come for Addie's story to be told.

Fans of Lauren will enjoy this book. The Ashford Affair may be a break from The Pink Carnation, but it's a worth while break. The plot is good- though it does have some holes I wish got filled. The characters are one you want to read more of and see what lies ahead for them. Addie's story is especially interesting and one you look forward to reading. 


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