Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ashenden Elizabeth Wilhide

Ashenden: A NovelAshenden: A Novel by Elizabeth Wilhide

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from First Reads in exchange for a fair review.

I enjoyed Ashenden and found the concept of the novel interesting. Ashenden is really a series of short stories that follow the history, told through its occupants and these connected to the home, of a grand English country home from the time building begins in 1775 through 2010.

The first Chapter of the book, the Cuckoo's: 2010, was a great introduction to the story and I was excited to continue to read about those who had lived and worked in the home and to discover what Charlie and his sister would ultimately decide to do with the home. However, the next two chapters, Stonework: 1775 and A Book of Ceilings: 1796 were a struggle to get though and I seriously considered abandoning the novel. My patience was rewarded in the next chapter, The Portrait: 1837 and several other standout chapters. Butterflies: 1844, The Janus Cup: 1889, The Photograph: 1916 and Hut C: 1946 were the novels finest, with the most fully developed characters, the strongest connections to history and the most emotion and depth.

The author, Elizabeth Wilhide, has written many books about interior design and architecture and her attention to the details of the house are evident, many times through out this novel I found myself busting out my dictionary to look up what things meant and finding examples on line. At times I found this distracting from the story itself, however I really appreciated the authors research into the home. I was also distracted at times when the author used british terms for things, but that made the book more authentic and once I grew use to them I hardly noticed.

i enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those interested in English country living, architecture, and English history.

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