Friday, June 28, 2013

Murray Pura's Ashton Park: Book One in The Danforths of Lancashire series, ©2013

The First World War has engulfed Europe. The three sons of Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Dansforth are all in uniform―their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.
Ashton Park is the first of The Danforths of Lancashire trilogy by Murray Pura, set in Lancashire, England in 1916-1923.

Wouldn't you like to join Todd Turpin, assistant groundskeeper, with the fragrant scent coming up the drive? But then, maybe you would like to pass by, as Old Todd Turpin has long been guardian of Miss Victoria Dansforth, high-spirited youngest daughter.

                                                                                                      cliffs above the Irish Sea
And then she hauled back on the reins, turned the mare's head to the left, sprang from the saddle, and hit the ground boots-first with a shout. The horse dug in all its hooves and tossed up mud and stone and grass. The cliff edge was only a few yards away when she stopped.
--Ashton Park, 11

Now, whoever would suspect that of this genteel young lady?
book title frontSir William Danforth is a Member of Parliament and master of Ashton Park estate. He is frequently away at Westminster. Firstborn son, Edward, is part of the Royal Navy at dock in Scotland; son Kipp, with the Royal Air Force, is flying with his squadron in France; and youngest son, Robert (Robbie), is with the British Army, in Dublin, a part of Britain. Daughters are Emma, soon to wed, and Catherine, married, lives across the Irish Sea in Belfast; Elizabeth (Libby), nursing in France, and Victoria at home at the 116-room manor house. Sir William also has a hunting lodge in Scotland. He has other holdings. Albert Moore, daughter Catherine's husband, manages the Danforth shipyards in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Eldest daughter Emma's soon betrothed is an Anglican minister, Reverend Jeremiah Sweet. Catherine and Albert have come early to be with the family Easter week preceding Emma and Jeremiah's prepared wedding ceremony.
A few yards away from Ashton Park is the Danforth Castle. Sir William's ancestral home is overseen by the main groundskeeper, Harrison. Tourists come to view what life must have been like within its walls, being interested in their English heritage.

I like that there is a map in the front of the book so you can tell where everyone is at, and a list of characters so you know who everyone is from the start. Then we can get on with the action! Helps move the story along, indeed.

I must confess that I cannot take you beyond the middle of chapter two, as change begins both within the household and abroad. to say, Murray Pura's novels are fabulous, not only because I love historical fiction, but the intricate ways he blends the happenings within and without the family structure. Highly recommend Ashton Park. Rich in history, you will travel far beyond the estate and look forward to the next books in The Danforths of Lancashire series.

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and his ThM degree from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to his writing, Murray has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Alberta. His novels include the Snapshots in History series The Wings of Morning, The Face of Heaven, and Whispers of a New Dawn featuring the characters 20 years later. The novel after Ashton Park, Book 2 in the series, comes out July-August and is entitled Beneath the Dover Sky – it covers the years 1924–1933 in the family saga. Book 3 is due out for Christmas-New Year’s and covers the years 1934–1941. Murray writes from his home in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains.

Ashton Park by Murray Pura
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736952853
ISBN-13: 978-0736952859

***Thank you to author Murray Pura and Wynn&Wynn for sending me a copy of Ashton Park to read and review in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

book title frontI am sure you will agree Book 2, Beneath the Dover Sky, has a beautiful cover! It is ready for pre-order and releases August 1, 2013. Just time enough for you to read Ashton Park. You won't want to miss this background story.

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