Sunday, September 5, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

In Regency Romances, the characters are often jaunting off to house parties in the country. Curious about these British country houses, I was pleased to be able to read The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet. The book takes the reader on an architectural tour of country homes through the ages: Medieval through the current day.

The text focuses on the houses themselves, along with the owners and architects. There is only a nod to the historical context. The “story” is interesting, but the narrative makes for a rather rambling tour. Details began to blur.

I often found it hard to visualize what the author was describing. There are a few photographs, but not as many as I would have liked. Of course, photographs are not possible for many of the buildings. The author makes the point that a lot of the homes are gone while others have been altered significantly over the years. There are in-depth descriptions of some homes, but sketches or floor plans may have made it easier to visualize what the buildings looked like.

Overall, I think this may make a better reference book to dip into for representative houses of different time periods than as a story to read straight through.

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