The Ashford Affair is a sweeping tale of family secrets and what happens when those secrets are brought to light many years later. Moving between the early part of the twentieth century to the last, The Ashford Affair tells the story of young Addie, whose parents are killed in the early 1900s; she is sent to live with her unknown uncle's titled family, where it is made clear that she is not really a part of them...except for her cousin Bea, who immediately takes Addie under her wing. As the years go by, we see incidents of the girls that show Bea's true nature and Addie's willingness to accept everything Bea does, until Bea's life takes a tumble into scandal that also breaks Addie's heart.
Meanwhile, in 1999, Clemmie, Addie's granddaughter, is working herself to death to make partner in a law firm and trying to get over the break up of her engagement. When Addie becomes ill, Clemmie begins to realize that she's neglected her grandmother; the stepson of her aunt Anna leads Clemmie to try to discover a few family secrets before it's too late. The hint of lost romance between the two also makes for much tension, but it's what Clemmie learns midway through the novel that knocks her for a loop.
The Ashford Affair is so well written that I was pulled into the lives of its characters immediately, often reading long past my bedtime just so I could see the next layer revealed. While it was fairly easy to see where at least part of the story was headed, the gorgeous writing pulled me into the era so fully that I was never quite sure if I would be correct. My biggest issue is the way things were neatly tied up at the end; there are a couple of problems with detective work that I might not buy into if I let it bother me. But overall this story is grand, and one I'll be thinking about for a while to come. Recommended!