Ashton Park by Murray Pura

We live in a fast lane society now with nothing taking more than 30 seconds to heat in a microwave. That truism is never more evident than in this book which supposedly takes place in the 19th century. I can tell the editors have chopped this story up to make it more "palatable" for the "modern reader" who is whizzed past many interesting scenes without being given the opportunity to savor or even soak up any of them. The characters are presented to the reader in sort of a lazy-susan fashion so you have the feeling the goings-on take place in a doll house instead of real life. The reader is not invited in to become a part of the family, but to view a celluloid facsimile in fast forward.

This book is touted as being similar to Downton Abby. It is not. You get all excited; settle down for a really good time reading something similar to what you love to watch, and get disappointed. It is hard to keep reading through that disappointment.

The reader is introduced to far too many characters to be able to keep track of them or to even connect with them (love-hate-care about). The rapid scene changes, and the dashing about the countryside leave the reader breathless and unable to unscramble the storyline. In fact, I'm still not sure what the storyline is about except that one of the daughters of the house falls in love with a groomsman (which is similar to Downton Abby because Sybil falls in love with the chauffeur).

If you have an excellent head for names, and if you like quick scene changes, and you like to stitch word puzzles together, I still would not recommend this book to you until the editor has had the opportunity to read a few reviews and have another go at editing a potentially great series.

I can tell the author has a gift for story telling, but the editors have bridled him. I advise both the author and the editors to take a lesson from Jane Austin in character development.

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.

No comments:

Get widget