Monday, 2 October 2017

Read in 2017 - 31: Ashby House

(Contrary to what the title may imply, this was a German novel, not an English one.)

"Ashby House" by V. K. Ludewig was a fun read with surprising twists and turns. Starting like a Victorian mystery (in fact, it took me a while to realise the story is set in our time; the first description of the main characters and the language could just as well be 100 or more years old), it soon develops into a novel hard to sort into any drawer.

There is a lot of humour in it, most of it of the ironic/sarcastical type that not every reader will appreciate. There are spooky things going on, but they take a back seat as the story turns more and more into a bizarre chain of events, spiced with celebrity gossip and red herrings.

What is it about?
Sisters Lucille and Laura Shallot arrive at their newly bought home, Ashby House near Land's End. The women have a love-hate-relationship: Lucille is rich and famous, photographer of celebrities and a celebrity in her own right. Laura is... her sister. But Lucille is hiding from "the media" since an accident that confines her to a wheelchair, and Laura, financially dependent on her, acts (more or less) as her carer.

Ashby House has a mysterious past, as the sisters soon find out. And of course hardly anyone in the book is who they appear to be at first: neither the butler nor the cook, and not Laura's love interest.

Right during their first night in the big house, mysterious noises from the "forbidden" second floor are heard. A nursery/school room is found although the former owners never had children. Lucille disappears. And when "the media" learn of the sisters' new domicile and gather outside the gates, all culminates in a furious finale.

Like I said, this was a fun read, and the outcome was rather different from what I expected. None of the characters is of the kind the average reader will truly care about, which makes reading about their struggles - with each other, the house and with their own self - all the more amusing and less threatening. I have never heard of the author before and doubt the book is available in English. Of course it was a free ebook when I downloaded it some years ago.


  1. Replies
    1. I noticed it, too, when I went to Amazon for a picture of the cover.