What a delightful book this turned out to be! I enjoyed getting to know the entire Danforth family so much. If you've heard anything about this book, you've probably heard that any fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy it. Having not yet seen Downton Abbey myself, I can't speak to the truth of that statement - but from what I've read, I think it's probably true. Certainly, anyone with an interest in World War I fiction will find this an interesting book! There were a lot of characters, and especially at the beginning, I had a bit of trouble keeping them apart. However, there was also at the beginning a Cast of Characters sheet - which I ignored, as I hate flipping back and forth to that kind of thing. So it's at least somewhat my own fault that I had any confusion. As the book continued, however, I grew quite familiar with all of them, and attached to many. There was plenty of excitement and unexpected plot turns. This book will keep you guessing! Ashton Park - overall, a good book that I'll keep in my library. Definitely anticipating the next one! Recommending for any fans of World War I fiction, period dramas.
**The author sent me a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not recompensed in any other way for this review, and wasn't required to be positive.**
If you love Downton Abbey you will love this book! Ashton Park, The Dansforths of Lancashire, Book #1 by Murray Pura is a work of art. Set in the early part of 1900's in England during World War I, this book will take you on a grand adventure with the Dansforth's family. I would love to see this series made into a PSB series. There are many great story lines in this book and the characters just draw you right in to their individual stories as well as the story as a whole. You will laugh, cry and find yourself cheering for your favorite characters. I will be the first in line for the next book in the series. Way to go, Murray, this is a winner and gets 5 out of 5 stars.
I received this book from Net Galley and Harvest House Publishers for my honest review.
Ashton Park, the first in The Danforths of Lancashire series, is being marketed as for those who watch Downton Abbey (isn't that everyone?). It is written by a Canadian author and published by an American company. I had a natural fear that it would be full of illogical Americanisms which I find very annoying in books written by Americans but set in England (although it is always a relief to find books that set somewhere other than in the US). Sadly, my fears were soon confirmed.
Our first introduction is to Victoria, one of the Danforth daughters, who comes across as spirited if somewhat unappealing. In this, she reminds me of Lady Mary, my least favourite character from Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, while Lady Mary has improved with age, I am unable to say the same for Victoria. Overall, the characters are lifeless, missing the acerbic wit of the Dowager Duchess, and the dry wit of Carson, the butler at Downton Abbey.
In some respects, Pura has captured the English essence, like putting up bunting for a celebration. In others, he has failed miserably. There was the patronising spelling of English words like `Leftenant' and 'ma'arm'. There were factual errors, like references to Northern Ireland (which didn't exist until 1921) and Christchurch, Oxford (Christchurch is a city in New Zealand. The Oxford college is Christ Church).
There was a conversation about passing notes to girls in school, at a time when only the lower classes attended mixed schools (the upper classes were either tutored at home or attended single-sex boarding schools). At one point, Kipp couldn't seem to remember `what little French he knew', where most boys of his social class would have received extensive schooling in both French and Latin. And, as a single man in April 1916, Ben Whitecross should already have been conscripted (under the Military Service Act), so shouldn't have been at Ashton to woo Victoria. I'm also not convinced that a Conservative would have been in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, as this implies.
And then we have the Americanisms - quit (resigned in this context), gotten (received - the English don't use gotten as the past participle of `get'), two hundred and thirty pounds of weight (the English weigh in stone and pounds), calling people `cute', meaning attractive (it meant `shrewd' in England at this time), eating oatmeal (porridge), cables (telegrams), and May thirty-first (the thirty-first of May).
I haven't read any previous books by Murray Pura, because the ones I've seen have been Amish, a genre I don't particularly care for. Based on Ashton Park, I don't think I will read any of his future books either. Please, authors, if you are going to set books in England, make sure the facts are correct and make sure your English characters don't sound like Americans. This book is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Not recommended for those who like their historical fiction to be historically and culturally accurate.
Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Covering the many changes of England's society from 1916 to 1923, this Christian fiction book addresses one family's romances and marriages. Social lines are crossed and barriers are lifted. One of the themes of this work is that the Bible says that "God is no respecter of persons." People should not be judged on class.
When I first saw the long list of characters, I groaned. However, I found myself appreciative of the list as I flipped back from time-to-time to review it.The author worked hard with many repetitions to help the reader remember who was who. Nonetheless, I did feel that overdone. Unnecessary repetition makes for a longer read. With so many characters, no one stood out; they were all alike--rather flat.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Harvest House Publishers for my copy.
This was an amazing book! I could not put it down. It had well developed characters, interesting story lines and a host of well described landscapes. The relationships between characters was complex and real not namby pamby. I wanted to "see" the castle and the ash trees. I could feel the breeze through them. This author is on the order of Jane Austen but for our time even though he is writing about a time long gone. I cannot wait until the next book comes out in July. I would highly recommend this book and hope to see it in a mini-series or movie.