Ashton Hall

By: Lauren Belfar

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing – Ballantine for the ARC of this Book!

Hannah Larson and her 9 year old son Nicky take off from New York to Cambridge, England to care for her close uncle who has fallen ill. They stay at the historic manor house, Ashton Hall, with her uncle. Hannah always had a vision for her life, but her life wasn’t what she thought it would be – a son with mental health issues and a husband who has been keeping a secret. Nicky begins exploring the historic manor house and stumbles across a skeleton in a forgotten part of the house. A historic, archeologic investigation ensues. Working from clues found in the room where the skeleton lie, ledgers and other writings, Hannah begins to piece together the life and times of the woman who died in that room. Who exactly is that woman, what was she doing there in that room, and why was she left for dead?

A mystery wrapped in a historical discovery is the perfect combination of genres. The book is rich with history and well researched. It was equally engaging and educational (at least for someone like me who had no idea about the religious happenings in Cambridge, England in the 1500s). Sometimes I believe that in school, they teach you things that in youth you cannot appreciate. I reveled in the youth of Nicky and Janet and their excitement to learn new things. There is also a subplot of Hannah’s struggle with Nicky’s mental health. I connected with Hannah on this level as I have the same. While it isn’t quite to the extreme in the book, I empathized with the feelings and thoughts that occurred to Hannah. By the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes and streaming down my face both in sadness and in warmth.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction (and a good mystery). This book will be released on June 7, 2022. You can pre-order your copy here.