If you’ve become a fan of Downton Abbey (in spite of what happened Sunday night!), and you’ve wondered if a book existed that captured the same feel of following upstairs and downstairs in a large hall in England, then you might enjoy Ashton Park. It falls into short scenes (reminiscent of the passing on the TV show) that bounce between the servants and gentry. Many of the scenes occur on the front during WWI, and there are also some in Ireland. I did find it challenging to connect with the characters at first because there was so much bouncing between them, but as I kept reading that changed. And I enjoyed the time period (late 19 teens) very much.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.