Monday, January 28, 2013

Ashton Park

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.

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


I may be one of the few people who has never watched Downton Abbey, so I can't speak to the claims that this novel will appeal to fans of that popular show. However, I can say that Ashton Park is a mesmerizing and thoroughly enjoyable read! I was immediately swept away to England in the early days of the twentieth century and the estate of the large and quite wealthy Danforth family. Murray Pura has penned a fascinating saga of the complexities of life and relationships, the rules regarding what was proper and what was deemed off-limits - especially regarding the suitability of potential spouses for the seven Danforth children - and the contradictory power that the below-stairs servants wielded. Amidst the backdrop of World War I and the Irish uprisings, the family must cope with the anxiety of sons at battle and cables bearing uncertain news, all while Sir Danforth serves as a Member of Parliament and tries to maintain his political, familial, and religious leadership. Through it all, the meaning of faith and its impact on every aspect of life challenges family members in new and unexpected ways. Ashton Park is a must-read for anyone who loves that period of history.


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