A grand English manor house is both the setting and central character in Elizabeth Wilhide's novel, Ashenden. Told through the voices of those who have resided or worked within its walls over a span of more than two centuries, the story is rich in architectural detail and poignant drama.
Ashenden opens in 2010, when siblings Ros and Charlie learn that they have inherited the deteriorated Ashenden Park from their aunt. As they reunite at the premises to undertake whether they can agree to restore or sell the property, the story moves back in time to the house's construction in 1775, with subsequent chapters chronicling the history of the house and its inhabitants in the 1800's and 1900's.
Through many generations and two world wars, individuals and families (and the estate as well) experience financial or other hardship as their lives unfold within Ashenden's walls. But the ultimate question is what will become of Ashenden Park itself--will it survive as a home for future generations?
Wilhide creates a cast of interconnected characters--owners, workers, and their descendants--whose common bond is the manor house. Ashenden is an engaging glimpse into the past which raises the question, can history and place be symbolically and literally preserved? The novel is sure to be enjoyed by a wide audience, including Anglophiles and historical fiction readers.
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Thursday Thoughts--Ashenden was originally published by Catherine for bookclublibrarian.com. This post cannot be republished without express written consent.