A Gilded Cage

Janny Scott, a former New York Times reporter, has staked her claim to an unusual beat: exploring secret family legacies. She roamed widely in pursuit of “the untold story of Barack Obama’s mother,” the subtitle of A Singular Woman, about Stanley Ann Dunham. This time, Scott’s terrain is her own family’s 800-acre estate, Ardrossan—a multigenerational compound outside Philadelphia that “had survived against the odds from one gilded age into the next.” The mystery she probes is...

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