Murray Pura in his new book, "Ashton Park" Book One in The Danforths of Lancashire series published by Harvest House Publishers takes us into the life of Victoria Danforth and the goings on at her home, Ashton Park.
From the Back Cover: Behind the doors of the ancient and magnificent Ashton Park estate, there lurks the high drama of romance between the nobility and the household staff.
But when war (and interference from a meddlesome sister) separates Victoria Danforth from Ben Whitecross-one of her father's groomsmen-the young woman assumes she'll never see her beloved again.
Victoria's plight is just one of the obstacles facing the seven adult children of Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Danforth. The three sons, Edward, Kipp and Robbie, are all in uniform facing mortality daily. Victoria's sisters-Catherine, Emma and Libby-each face their own hurdles to happiness with the men in their lives.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Mr. And Mrs. Seabrooke oversee the household staff with a stern hand, sending anyone foolish enough to fall in love with a Danforth on their way packing. But what can they do when it is a Danforth who falls in love with a member of the staff?
Join the lords and ladies, servants, and household staff of Ashton Park as they face the perils of war and affairs of the heart.
If you are a fan of Downtown Abby, you'll enjoy your visit to Ashton Park.
"Ashton Park" is a high quality drama involving the family of Lord and Lady Danforth. They and the lives of their seven children play out against the backdrop of World War I in 1916. The three sons are all serving their country while the four daughters are all at home. Then there are the lives of the household staff led by Mrs. Seabrooke, best friend of Lady Danforth, and how they play out with the Danforths. Murray Pura knows how to write great stories and "Ashton Park" is a great story. Mr. Pura has given us well thought out characters that, each, have a life and identity of their own. You come to care for these individuals as they try to live out their lives according to the rules of society. Mr. Pura explores the differences between the Upper Class and the Servants and how they are not supposed to mingle. He also explores the fact that God created men and women, not upper and lower classes, and that men and women are drawn to each other despite their societal standing. Set aside the chores, order take out for dinner, make yourself comfortable because once you get started reading "Ashton Park" you are not going to want to stop until the pages run out-and even then. This book will keep you up late until you finish it so I recommend that you start reading early. Mr. Pura does a wonderful job with all his characters you would think you had known them all your life. "Ashton Park" is a great read and I am already looking forward to the next book in the wonderful series..
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Wynn-Wynn Media for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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.