Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Murray Pura
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
“Over the past few years a number of our children have chosen partners outside of the English nobility. At first, Lady Elizabeth and I resisted. But one after another our sons and daughters won us over. I suppose I could say the God won us over as well.” Sir William Dansforth explains in Murray Pura’s novel, Ashton Park.
This three hundred and seventy-three page paperback book has a young woman dressed in early twentieth century apparel standing in front of a mansion on the front cover. Targeted toward young or old women who enjoy romance, forbidden love and nobility of the time period, there is no profanity or lewd scenes except for minor references to violence, sex and premarital pregnancy. With over thirty characters, a helpful list and drawn map are included at the beginning of the book with an author biography, acknowledgements and other written works promoted at the end of the book.
The well-known Danforths live in Ashton Park, complete with a one hundred and sixteen room manor and historical castle on their vast property overlooking the Irish Sea while World War I erupts around them. Sir William, Member of the Parliament, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth, have three sons and four daughters who are brought up under their father’s staunch, over-protective care.
When two of the children, the oldest and youngest, each secretly fall in love with the hired help, the managers of the household must stop their behavior quickly before the master of Ashton Park finds out. Besides other children wanting to marry those of different religious beliefs, both father and mother blatantly reject the concept but must come to terms with each of their children’s marital choices.
Between three serving their country, one becomes a prisoner and one is injured while one protests women’s suffrage interspersed with romantic alliances of American, French, and Irish, all must decide what path God has chosen for them. With the controlling parents, both children and servants have to steal away precious moments to not be banned from the estate. Scenarios of bombings, dog-fights in fighter planes, and dueling keep the pages turning while secret trysts of love, re-establishing forlorn relationships and infidelity involve the reader.
With the myriad of characters in love, the tome tries tediously to stay on tact by using repetitiveness explaining the numerous relationships between the wealthy and poor while the war rages on around them. As book one in the Danforths of Lancashire series, Pura has plenty of idealistic and amorous stories to capture in future books.
This book was furnished by Harvest House Publishers for review purposes.