Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: Lauren Willig's The Ashford Affair

Lauren Willig takes us back to the 20's and forward with the present in a novel that is about two different ladies from two different eras. Willig has potential, particularly with this story. She gets the sass of the characters down, and writes about an interesting story, but the beginning lulls for a while, and what comes out as an almost 400 page something book seems like it could have been dwindled down to a 300 page book. There was a lot of puzzle pieces at the beginning that just didn't intrigue enough, and it isn't until the last half part of the book it kicks in a good bit more with being interesting.

Summary: Clemmie has a successful job as a lawyer, and she is continuing to advance at the firm. Clemmie though is beginning to wonder if her job has been worth all the sacrifice it took to get there, particularly in her romantic life. Her recent engagement failed after her long hours at her job, but now she is reconsidering especially after the events revealed at her grandmother's Addie's 99th birthday. Her grandmother seems to be holding in a lot of secrets from her past, and Clemmie wants to find out more about the real story of her family.

Characters: Clemmie isn't a likable lead, and honestly anything occurring in the future, especially with her and Jon just didn't interest me that much. Maybe it's just me but even if you're not blood related, but relationships between characters that have been raised to be related to one another is just really gross to me. What is very interesting is the story that lies within in the past, and it makes me wish that Willig had just framed the story as Clemmie being told the story in the future, and then flashing back to the past to let the story play out with Addie, Bea, and Fredrick without interruption from the future. The flow gets disrupted, and with the building tension in the past it would have built better had Clemmie's part been way dwindled down. Maybe it's just me but the role that Clemmie is in is just way overplayed in a lot of books now.

Writing: The writing is good, and it's much stronger than in a lot of other chick novels I've read. For some reason the cursing just didn't flow naturally in the dialogue though. Perhaps it was to show a contrast in the language of the 20's and how we talk now, but regardless it somehow felt forced whenever the characters would use certain words, and besides Fredrick I felt the other male characters were poorly written. I think it was obvious that the author had certain characters she loved, which seemed to be more so the ones in the past, and her focus was on perfecting that story, so the future story suffers a bit. It's why the past reads so much better than Clemmie's story.

Plot: I think I made my thoughts on the plot pretty clear. Clemmie's story features a lot of love development and personality traits I didn't find easy to relate to, and her story is more so a drive to the past, and her story suffers because the past story with Addie is just way better. The only thing that is obvious is that an affair is involved, but how they story plays out is left in the dark till over halfway into the book, but once the triangle gets started between the lovers it makes for an interesting story. This book though is obviously wrote for females, but I like how it isn't overly feminine. Something about the plot wasn't too soft or lacking in harsh females to make it seem unrealistic.

The Ashford Affair becomes a more entertaining read as you continue reading. The major issue is just the flow of the story and how slow it starts. I couldn't help but wonder about Bea though, and she becomes the pivotal character that carries this story. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that a character who wasn't Addie or Clemmie though intrigued me more than them.

Rating 6.5 of 10.

This book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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