Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ashton Park by Murray Pura - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ashton Park
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Murray Pura


Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park. Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park. The year is 1916.  The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

My Thoughts:

“…but we must be brave when our children have taken on adult lives of their own.”  (p 32)

Ashton Park is a book that spans seven years in the lives of a rather large family.  The Danforths – Sir William and Lady Elizabeth - have seven children at various stages of adulthood.  Three sons serving in the Great War, four daughters, two are married, one about is about to be married, and one sneaking around…oops!! Sorry, can’t say more about that! There is just so much going on in the vast estate of Ashton Park.  England is embroiled in war against Germany, the Irish are raging in civil unrest, and the Danforth family finds itself touched by every facet of the trouble brewing just outside their door.

Trouble stirs within the walls of this vast estate as well, because lords and ladies of the manner are falling in love with the household staff!  Mr. and Mrs. Seabrook are doing all they can to prevent the blending of the two classes, and they are aided by good old-fashioned sibling rivalry.  The many people who inhabit this vast estate will keep readers on their toes and, alternately weeping and rejoicing as they share major life-events with this family.

Ashton Park is book one in the Danforths of Lacashire Series and presents a sweeping saga of historical events.  Rather than distracting the reader from the family drama and romance, the historical backdrop only enhances the reader’s attachment to the characters.  Truly, this is a historical series that will enchant fans of the genre!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

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