Ashford Manor is a centuries old estate having passed from father to son over a period of 600 years. Upon Lord Oliver Randolph Ashford’s passing the property came into the possession of his eldest daughter, Beatrix Ashford-Scone, currently great aunt to one Jemiyah Jones.
The formidable home offers secret passage ways and rooms, stairs leading to nowhere in particular, long hallways lined with framed paintings of previous and current owners, each with eyes that seem to follow unwanted or, in many cases, unseen guests.
The estate is surrounded by lush, verdant gardens - and beyond that a thicket of deep, impenetrable forest. Warnings, however, have persisted throughout the years to stay within the boundaries of the estate, to avoid at all cost, being lured into the deep forest.
It is said the forest claims those who dare to enter her foreboding bosom where thicket becomes so dense it virtually blocks out any hint of sunshine and light.
On earlier visits Jemiyah would sit and watch little hedge hogs - and sometimes foxes at play. She, like others, had heard the warnings but would always imagine what lay beyond – conjuring up all things unimaginable. She noticed at times how her mother, Nigella, would stand in the garden staring at the perimeter that separated the forest from the estate grounds – as if in a trance.
She would inevitably shudder, as if cold, and pull her sweater tightly around her shoulders, her dark eyes turning away from something that lurked beyond. What was it Jemiyah would wonder? What unseen power held sway held over her mother?
She would soon learn that tranquility exists even in the most deceptive of places.
Follow Jemiyah and friends Toby, Oliver and Sarah back through the ages – from 624 BC Sepharad through the deserts of ancient and present day Yemen; follow long dead Roman soldiers who arise to fight for Nir and back to the bedroom of one Miss Jemiyah Jones of 322 Queens Gate, London.