Elizabeth Wilhide's debut novel Ashenden traces the history of an English house across two and a half centuries.
When Charlie and Ros inherit Ashenden from their aunt Reggie a decision must be made. The beautiful eighteenth-century house, set in acres of English countryside, is in need of serious repair. Do they try to keep it in the family, or will they have to sell?
Moving back in time, in an interwoven narrative spanning two and a half centuries, we witness the house from its beginnings through to the present day. Along the way we meet those who have built the house, lived in it and loved it; those who have worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends, including Mrs Trimble, housekeeper to the rackety, spendthrift Mores; the wealthy Henderson family, in their Victorian heyday; six-year-old Pudge; Walter Beckmann, prisoner in its grounds.
A novel about people, architecture and living history, Ashenden is an evocative and allusive reflection on England and its past.
'Lively interlinked historical vignettes display distinct post-Downton commercial savvy . . . a pleasurably subtle web of connections . . . a beguilingly effortless read' Daily Mail
'An engrossing debut . . . a sparkling jewel: full of fascinating detail, high drama and sly wit' Amanda Foreman
'I adored this book; I saw it as a sort of love letter to a vanished way of life, and a slice of English history at the same time, tracing as it does the lives of all the people who lived in Ashenden, a beautiful English country house, for over two hundred years. It's very touching and very compelling' Penny Vincenzi
Elizabeth Wilhide is the author of over 20 books on interior design, decoration and architecture and a co-author and contributing editor to some 30 other titles, collaborating with authors such as David Linley, Terence Conran 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.