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.
Average Customer Rating:
(9 Reviews) 9
Rating Snapshot(9 reviews)
7 out of 978%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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.**
My Review: 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.
I was looking forward to reading Ashton Park, but I struggled with the rapidly changing scenes between too many characters. I never had a chance to connect with any of them in such short spurts. My favorites were Libby and Michael, but they aren’t even introduced until almost halfway through the book...and like everyone else, only a few paragraphs are written before the focus is moved to someone else, and you hope to catch another quick glimpse of them before moving on again.
Apparently, those who love PBS’ Downton Abbey will love Ashton Park. I can’t confirm that, as I’ve never seen it; but, if Downton Abbey is soap opera-ish with high drama and a million characters to keep track of, then, yes - Ashton Park might be just for you.
For me, though, I’d prefer a longer series, focusing on less characters per book. Unfortunately, Ashton Park just wasn’t my cup of tea.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. acookingbookworm DOT com*
If you're a fan of Downtown Abbey, then you will absolutely fall in love with the latest novel from Murray Pura, Ashton Park. In this novel set in the early 1900's the reader is about to meet the Danforths of Lancashire, a wealthy family of 7 children, 3 boys and 4 girls. Along the journey you get a glimpse into each of their personal lives and the struggles they each face not only growing up in a well-to-do family but also in dealing the conflict that evidently follows when your family wants you to marry in the same class as they are. The parents Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Danforth struggle with the same issues all parents face. The sons, Edward, Kipp and Robbie are all serving in the armed forces just at the beginnings of World War 1. As any mother would be, Lady Elizabeth is praying for the safety of each of her sons and hopes that each will stay as far away from true danger as possible, but that will not be the case.
With her daughters, Emma, Catherine, Elizabeth and Victoria, she has to deal with the issues of finding suitable husbands for each of them to marry into, only what's a parent to do when one of their daughters soon falls in love with a member of the household staff? The novel will definitely keep you on your toes as you attempt to keep up with each of the children, their love lives and the members of the household staff who are not mere supporting characters. In the truest sense of Downtown Abbey, it is bound to keep you guessing with what will be happening in the household next. Like most children, some are a bit on the rebellious side and wish to live their own life outside of what their parents believe is in their best interests. However will their parents wishes ultimately win out in the end?
I received, Ashton Park compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Harvest House Publishers for my honest review and if you've never read a book from Murray Pura, then you are in for a real treat indeed. Contrary to the stereotypes that most women write from the heart of a woman when it comes to romance novels, Murray shatters that image. Having read his other books from Amish Historical Romance with a twist of stories from the wars and everything in between, he truly captures what women want I believe in their romance novels. He writes well rounded characters often portraying the women in them as strong and determined, not your frail weak willed, fall at the sight of any handsome man in the story. I believe this is what appeals to his female fans the most. In any case, this one will not disappoint fans of historical fiction among the wealthy class and see what happens when the family sleeps and the household staff have to tend to the needs of the estate. Truly one not to be rushed through and one I hope Murray Pura writes more of. This one hits home with a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Standing firm in one's cause can often times elicit many challenges.
Sir William and his wife Lady Elizabeth Danforth are master and mistress of Ashton Park in Lancashire England and have three sons and four daughters. William, as well as their sons, are pledged to defend their homeland of England in World War I. With a yearning for independence, the forces of frequent adversaries are swift taking with them at times innocent victims. Onshore as well as off duty and love have snarred the hearts of the Danforth's and their servants. Will the estate of Danforth withstand all that hold them captive?
War, combat, danger, faith and romance commands the storyline of this impossible to put down read. Fans of Downton Abbey (as I am) as well as followers and admirers of inspirational historical fiction will want to be sure to grab this book to become a part of historical significance. Exciting and intense from the beginning until the ending, the reader will instantly connect with realistic, charming and personable characters, picturesque scenery, engaging, enjoyable and easy to follow dialogue that promises absolutely no dull or broken parts. I believe this can be a novel that can be enjoyed by all, male and female. Extremely well written worthy of more than 5 Stars!! Thanks to Harvest House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC for my review.
It is halfway through WW1 and there is a lot of unrest in England and Ireland. It is during this period that Sir William Danforth with his wife and seven children are trying to live a normal life at Ashton Park—a large estate with a beautiful manor, old family castle, forests, and the Irish Sea nearby.
Sir William, the master of Ashton Park, and his wife Lady Elizabeth have three sons and four daughters. They are all of marriageable age—some are looking for love while others have already found it. It is expected that the children marry in their own class. But what will happen when they start falling in love with someone of the lower social class?
Sir William expects everyone in his household to remain loyal to the Church of England, just like his family has been for many generations. When he is away for business – he is a Member of Parliament – his wife decides to go to a Baptist church together with the head cook. When Sir William finds out about this he’s none too pleased.
There is a lot of drama in this exciting and enjoyable story. Is the family falling apart because the children go their own way? And what unforeseen dramas will occur after the children marry? I really liked seeing all the family members playing an important role, and all having their own drama to deal with.
A story set in a tumultuous period, with lovely and lovable characters, looking for and finding romance—this is a fabulous read!