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Ashenden - Elizabeth Wilhide Ashenden is a charming historical read that concerns itself with the generations of owners and servants living in a manor house built in the English countryside in 1775. Beginning in the present when siblings Charlie and Ros inherit Ashenden upon the death of their great aunt, it meanders back to when its foundations were first carefully chosen and laid. Charlie and his sister must decide whether to sell it, or keep it for future generations of their family to enjoy. Charlie is happily married and settled in the United States, and sees the expense of the old mansion as prohibitive, but Ros is determined to save it, and has mapped out what she thinks is a plausible plan for its restoration.Wilhide fills the story with history and atmosphere - the novel and its vignettes show the house in war time, poverty and at the height of its glory. Even as Ashenden, the novel explores how former owners have gained and lost the house and surrounding property, Ashenden itself is the star of the show, so much so that its almost pointless to bother getting attached to the people who live, work and die there. Their stories are picked up on a whim and dropped just as quickly, with some coming to more satisfying resolutions than others. Home restoration and architecture are prominently considered within the narrative, and readers who enjoy those details will find them in this pleasant, though rambling meditation on the history of a historic house.

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