The plot description had me at "bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters."

Does that make you squeal a little bit? (Admit it: You're imagining Karen Blixen and ?Denys Finch Hatton? having tea with Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley.) Read on . . .

The year 2013 is going to be a great one for fans of Lauren Willig. Not only will The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, the 10th installment of the Pink Carnation series, be published in August 2013—reason enough for celebration—but she has a new stand-alone novel coming in April.

It's called The Ashford Affair, and it's the aforementioned mix of Downtown and Out of Africa. Willig's fans will be thrilled that this novel—like the Pink Carnation books—takes past in both past and present. Here's the official plot description from St. Martin's:

As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.

Read more on Willig's website. As she told us back in February 2008, Willig has experience working as an associate at a New York law firm herself—although she's since quit that gig to write full-time. Lucky us!

Are you as excited about The Ashford Affair as I am?

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