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Ashenden

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Ashenden Cover

ISBN13: 9781451684865
ISBN10: 145168486x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, a beautifully atmospheric novel about an English country house and the people who inhabit it, upstairs and downstairs, over the course of 240 years.

“The house contains time. Its walls hold stories. Births and deaths, comings and goings, people and events passing through. For now, however, it lies suspended in a kind of emptiness, as if it has fallen asleep or someone has put it under a spell. This silence won’t last: can’t last. Something will have to be done.”

     When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited their aunt’s much-loved house, they must decide if they should sell it. Moving back in time, in an interwoven narrative spanning two and a half centuries, we meet those who have built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends, including the original architect as he directs the building of the house, the big Victorian family who happily live there for forty years, the maid who thinks her problems will be solved if she steals a small bibelot, the soldiers who are billeted there during World War I, the speculator who holds a treasure hunt there during the Roaring Twenties, the young couple who restores it during the 1950s, and the house’s final owner. A novel about people, architecture, and living history, Ashenden is an evocative portrait of a house that becomes a character as compelling as the people who inhabit it.

Review:

"Wilhide, an interior design and architecture writer, delivers a tedious historical exploration of an 18th-century English estate house in her debut novel. When Charlie Minton and his sister, Ros, inherit Ashenden Park (based on an actual estate in Berkshire, England) from their recently deceased aunt, they are forced to decide its fate., The house's history is revealed through chronologically ordered flashbacks, one per chapter. The unidentified narrator, however, focuses more on the people whose lives revolve around the house; each chapter begins with a quick look at the house during that particular period before following the characters who then inhabit it. Unfortunately, there is little to thread this series of short stories together other than the building itself. As the supporting characters barely resurface from one chapter to the next, they are hardly given a chance to develop, and though the house is the intended central character, the execution is too disjointed, leaving the reader uninvested in the story. Though the descriptions of time and place befit an author who has made her name in the design and décor world, Wilhide's ho-hum book lacks narrative tightness. Agent: Anthony Goff, David Higham Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A novel about people, a country estate, and living history

“The house contains time. Its walls hold stories. Births and deaths, comings and goings, people and events passing through. . . . For now, however, it lies suspended in a kind of emptiness, as if it has fallen asleep or someone has put it under a spell. This silence won’t last: can’t last. Something will have to be done.”

When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited their aunt’s grand English country house, they must decide if they should sell it. As they survey the effects of time on the estate’s architectural treasures, a narrative spanning two and a half centuries unfolds. We meet those who built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. Each chapter is skillfully woven into the others so that the storylines of the upstairs and downstairs characters and their relatives and descendants intertwine to make a rich tapestry. A beautifully written novel full of humor, heart, and poignancy, Ashenden is an evocative portrait of a house that becomes a character as compelling as the people who inhabit it.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wilhide is the author of more than twenty books on interior design, decoration, and architecture and a coauthor and contributor of many more, collaborating with authors such as Terence Conran, Orla Kiely and Tricia Guild. Born in the United States, she has lived in Britain since 1967. She lives with her husband, an architect, and their two children in the East End of London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Rachel Coker, September 14, 2013 (view all comments by Rachel Coker)
This delightful novel was a true treat! It touches on more than 200 years of British history, as seen through the people who live and work in a grand estate outside London. The stories are interwoven beautifully, without a single forced or trite leap. Author Elizabeth Wilhide does an amazing job describing fashion, politics, architecture and even women's rights through the decades without getting bogged down in any one area for too long. Anyone who loves Jane Austen or Downton Abbey (or both, as I do) will find themselves swept away.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451684865
Author:
Wilhide, Elizabeth
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20130131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Ashenden Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451684865 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wilhide, an interior design and architecture writer, delivers a tedious historical exploration of an 18th-century English estate house in her debut novel. When Charlie Minton and his sister, Ros, inherit Ashenden Park (based on an actual estate in Berkshire, England) from their recently deceased aunt, they are forced to decide its fate., The house's history is revealed through chronologically ordered flashbacks, one per chapter. The unidentified narrator, however, focuses more on the people whose lives revolve around the house; each chapter begins with a quick look at the house during that particular period before following the characters who then inhabit it. Unfortunately, there is little to thread this series of short stories together other than the building itself. As the supporting characters barely resurface from one chapter to the next, they are hardly given a chance to develop, and though the house is the intended central character, the execution is too disjointed, leaving the reader uninvested in the story. Though the descriptions of time and place befit an author who has made her name in the design and décor world, Wilhide's ho-hum book lacks narrative tightness. Agent: Anthony Goff, David Higham Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A novel about people, a country estate, and living history

“The house contains time. Its walls hold stories. Births and deaths, comings and goings, people and events passing through. . . . For now, however, it lies suspended in a kind of emptiness, as if it has fallen asleep or someone has put it under a spell. This silence won’t last: can’t last. Something will have to be done.”

When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited their aunt’s grand English country house, they must decide if they should sell it. As they survey the effects of time on the estate’s architectural treasures, a narrative spanning two and a half centuries unfolds. We meet those who built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. Each chapter is skillfully woven into the others so that the storylines of the upstairs and downstairs characters and their relatives and descendants intertwine to make a rich tapestry. A beautifully written novel full of humor, heart, and poignancy, Ashenden is an evocative portrait of a house that becomes a character as compelling as the people who inhabit it.

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