“Ashton Park” by Murray Pura


As a huge fan of Downton Abbey, I jumped at the chance to read Ashton Park.  While I think it’s smart to jump onto the coat-tails of such a hugely popular historical drama, one must do so carefully.  While I enjoyed Murray Pura’s own version, I felt that it fell short in a few ways.

The novel is the first in the Danforths of Lancashire series, which centers on the Danforth family and their servants (sound familiar, DA fans?).  I felt that some of the characters, who were raised in proper British society, did not act as if they had been.  A lot of the novel read like an extremely dramatic soap opera.  While I’ll agree that it makes for fabulous television, I got a little lost when it was all within one book.  You’re constantly flipping towards the front to the long list characters to figure out who is who.

This is the first book that I’ve read of Murray Pura’s.  I’m not 100% positive that I’ll pick up the second in the series.  I might wait to see what other people have to say about it first.  I reviewed this book for Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and received the book free from Harvest House Publishers.

This week, the 

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance 

is introducing 

Ashton Park 

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013) 



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.


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