Review: Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer

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Last Updated on December 25, 2022 by Mary Elle

Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer is a refreshingly unique historical mystery set in present day England.

This is the first book I’ve read by author Lauren Belfer, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The book didn’t disappoint, and I’m looking forward to exploring other work by this author.

A Review of Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer

ashton hall by lauren belfer

Lauren Belfer is an American author who lives in New York City.

I always find it interesting to know some details about how an author got started, and how long it took them to become successful authors.

Lauren Belfer, like many other successful authors, had many rejections of her work in her early writing days. Her first published short story had 42 rejections before it finally found a publisher that would publish her story. Her second published story had 27 rejections before it was finally published.

It certainly takes alot of perseverance to keep going after that many rejections of your work.

Lauren Belfer’s debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, and a Main Selection of the Book of the Month Club. 

Ashton Hall is her 4th novel.

Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer – What I Liked

“I waited with my son at the side entrance of a stately home near Cambridge, England. We stood on a stone bridge that spanned what was once a moat.” Any book that begins like this usually has me hooked immediately, and this book was no exception. I felt like I was the one standing on that stone bridge, as I’ve done many times at similar stately homes and castles while traveling throughout Europe.

This book is wonderfully unique in the way parts of the story are told. No spoilers here, so I can’t divulge too much here in this review, however, the way the author has told parts of the story is refreshingly unique.

Central to the plot is discovering a secret from the past. Although the book is set entirely in present day England, I could imagine myself right in the middle of the scenes from the past that the author was describing.

There is lots of dialogue, which keeps the book moving fairly quickly.

I loved that I learned somthing about how historians go about gathering evidence and researching the lives of people that lived centuries ago. This subject is immensely interesting, especially if you’re a fan of historical fiction.

I also enjoyed learning more about the complicated religious situation in England during the 16 century years portrayed in the book. Again, I can’t give you any spoilers, but, it’s a well-known fact that England changed religions depending on who was the crowned monarch at the time. The book provides a closer glimpse into the difficulties that this caused to people living there at time.

I felt a connection with and really liked all the characters, almost right from the very beginning of the book. Especially the main character Hannah and her young son, Nicky.

And finally, despite all the historical fiction I’ve read in the past, I learned a new term in this book that I’ve never run across before. That term is anchoress. I’m not going to reveal how or why this term was used in the book so as not to give you any spoilers. But, since I was clueless about what the actual definition of this word was, I’ll help you out with that now in case you don’t know either. An anchoress was a woman who was walled into a cell to live a life of prayer and contemplation.  You can make of that what you want at this point. You’ll learn more when you read Ashton Hall.

Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer – What I Didn’t Like

I honestly can’t think of a single thing that I did not love about Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer. Except, maybe too short? Seriously, the book is great – I would have liked to see it go on and on…

Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer – Read, ReRead or Reconsider?

And now, for my 3 Rs of book reviews. Should you Read, ReRead or Reconsider the book Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer?

A Definite Read!

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