Lauren Willig is awesome! 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.
And Willig’s next book, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, comes out in August !!