An American woman and her son stumble upon the dark history of a rambling English manor house in this “masterful, riveting, and atmospheric” (Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist) novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Befler.
“With vibrant prose, Lauren Belfer shepherds us through a centuries-old mystery and into a modern-day introspection on motherhood, marriage, and love.”—Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones
When a close relative falls ill, Hannah Larson and her young son, Nicky, join him for the summer at Ashton Hall, an historic manor house outside Cambridge, England. A frustrated academic whose ambitions have been subsumed by the challenges of raising her beloved child, Hannah longs to escape her life in New York City, where her marriage has been upended by a recently discovered and devastating betrayal.
Soon after their arrival, ever-curious Nicky finds the skeletal remains of a woman who had been walled into a forgotten part of the manor centuries earlier, and Hannah is pulled into an all-consuming quest for answers, Nicky close by her side. Working from clues in old ledgers showing what the household spent on everything from music to medicine; lists of books checked out of the library; and the troubling personal papers of the long-departed family, Hannah begins to recreate the Ashton Hall of the Elizabethan era in all its color and conflict. As the multilayered secrets of her own life begin to unravel, Hannah comes to realize that the lives of Ashton Hall’s women before her were not so different from her own, and she confronts what mothers throughout history have had to do to secure their independence and protect their children.
In the tradition of The Clockmaker’s Daughter and The Lost Apothecary, and rich with female passion, strength, and ferocity across the centuries, Ashton Hall is a novel that reveals how the most profound hauntings are within ourselves.
Lauren Belfer is the New York Times bestselling author of And After the Fire, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; A Fierce Radiance, a Washington Post Best Novel and NPR Best Mystery of the Year; and City of Light, a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and an international bestseller. Belfer attended Swarthmore College and has an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.
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