Based on the real home Basildon Park, Ashenden recounts the story of an English country house from 1775 to the present. The reader initially meets the architect James Woods and his family, and then the first owners of the home (along with their housekeeper). Through the years, the inhabitants' fortunes rise and fall, affecting both the condition of the house and who lives in it. During World War I, we see it turned into a convalescent home for soldiers, while during World War II, it houses prisoners of war. The current owners are brother and sister, Charlie and Ros, who inherit Ashenden from their uncle and aunt. Charlie desires to sell, while Ros wants to hang onto the house. Overall, the estate is really the main character, although the inhabitants over the years and people's connections to the home are intriguing. An enjoyable novel for readers who like the television show Downton Abbey and the novel The American Heiress.
I'm a librarian with a background in Reader's Advisory who left librarianship for domestic...uh...bliss.
From 1992-2003 I worked at the Downers Grove (IL) Public Library. I served on YALSA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (1998-2000, chair 2000) and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2001-2003, chair 2002). I wrote the article "Zap! Woosh! Kerplow! Build High Quality Graphic Novel Collections With Impact" (School Library Journal, January 1997). I am a substitute Reference Librarian at the Indian Prairie Public Library.