This is the second novel I’ve read from bestselling author Lauren Willig and it was just as compelling as the first. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
Like the first one, this is part mystery — involving two story threads that happen years apart. One thread takes place between the years of 1906 and 1926. Six-year-old Addie comes to live with her wealthy, aristocratic aunt and uncle at their great British estate, Ashford, after her parents are suddenly killed. Though an outsider, Addie develops a close friendship with her slightly older cousin Beatrice – who takes Addie under her wing. As they grow up, glamorous Beatrice, becomes known as “Debutante of the Decade” — sought after by titled men and a recognized fashion setter among her peers. Addie, with no title and no inheritance, stands in Bea’s shadow. This is our glimpse into the pre-World War I world we know from Downton Abbey. Addie and Bea’s stories go on to include romance, the war, and later, a coffee plantation in Kenya.
A second story thread involves Addie’s 34 year old granddaughter, Clementine, an ambitious attorney living in New York City in 1999, expecting to soon become a partner in a prestigious law firm and having just broken up with her boyfriend. When Addie’s health begins to decline, long buried family secrets begin to surface. And most of the book involves moving back and forth in time as the reader slowly collects pieces of a very complex puzzle.
I can’t say this is great literature, but it is very good story. Imaginative and full of unpredictable plot twists to keep you reading. For me, it was a two-day read. And I plan to read some of Willig’s many other novels.
You may want to read my review of Willig’s novel, The Summer Country.