Ashton Park by Murray Pura

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.

divider2MY REVIEW:

I have heard this book recommended for fans of the currently popular Downton Abbey television series but since I have yet to watch it I am unable to make a comparison. Ashton Park chronicles the lives of the Danforth family which includes Sir William and Lady Elizabeth and their three sons and four daughters as well as the lives of their servants. Set primarily in England during World War 1, the tale jumps from character to character and place to place so often that I found it a bit difficult to keep up with who was who and what exactly was going on. With one son in the Navy aboard ship, another son in Ireland dealing with the rebellion there, another son a fighter pilot, and daughters with ideas and troubles of their own, there are plenty of interesting historical details as well as some intriguing personal stories. Interaction between the Danforth family and their servants is detailed including more than one forbidden romance.

Personally, I prefer a novel that does not have quite as much going on in it. I like to read about fewer primary characters and get to know them a bit better so that I become somewhat invested in their story. I know that different authors have different styles and that I have probably gotten used to series that feature one hero and one heroine with perhaps a side story or two that lead up to the next installment of a series. There are just so many interesting characters in Ashton Park that I would have liked to spend more time with each of them in stories of their own.

By all means, do not let my personal preferences stop you from reading Ashton Park. I may very well be the only person who found it a bit too busy for their taste.

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer & Ocieanna Fleiss


“Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska” is a skillful fusion of both contemporary and historical fiction in one novel. Up-and-coming singer Ginny Marshall is on the threshold of success with a contract waiting to be signed and an invitation to sing at the grammies. Not only that but famous music producer Danny Kingston has shown serious romantic interest in her as well. Her dreams are all coming true so why does Ginny feel so unsettled? Why can’t she forget Brett, her former fiance? A spontaneous decision takes Ginny to Alaska for the purpose of getting Brett’s advice but circumstances keep her there much longer than she had planned. While staying at the home of Brett’s grandmother, Ginny (and the reader) are given an intimate look into the lives of Ellie and Clay, earlier residents of the small Alaskan town by reading through a box of old letters.

A character driven book, “Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska” has loads of drama, adventure, history, geographical details, misunderstandings, personal growth, a great romance, and a good spiritual theme.  I loved how Ginny was able to identify with Ellie through her letters and to see parallels between their lives. Brett was a perfect hero who was able to understand and minister to Ginny despite how she had wounded his heart. There were a few surprises in both Ginny and Ellie’s stories that added to the reading enjoyment. I enjoyed seeing how each of them was able to break down the walls surrounding their hearts and learn to be the person God created them to be.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


LoveFindsYouInGlacierBayAlaskaSinger Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests—her former fiancé, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA’s pressures.

In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children’s governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover—as Ellie did—that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?

Pre-order a copy here.


Tricia GoyerTricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by Tricia is also on the blogging team at, and other homeschooling and Christian sites.

In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at

OcieannaFleissFind out more about Tricia at

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published author and editor. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area.

Find out more about Ocieanna at





Win a “Glacier Bay” Prize pack from Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

Celebrate with Tricia and Ocieanna by entering their “Glacier Bay” Giveaway and RSVPing for their Facebook Party on Feb. 12th!


One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A gorgeous handmade “Glacier Bay” bracelet
  • A handmade cowl in “Glacier Bay” blues and greens
  • A bottle of custom-made “Glacier Bay” sparkle polish in blue
  • Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss and their two other “Love Finds You” titles {Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana, and Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington}

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the “Glacier Bay” Author Chat Party on February 12th. Connect with authors Tricia and Ocieanna, get a sneak peek of their new book projects, try your hand at the Alaska trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways—gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and join Tricia and Ocieanna on the evening of February 12th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport


The second installment of Olivia Newport’s Avenue of Dreams series, “The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow” offers the reader an inside look at the lives of servants during the late 1800’s in Chicago. This novel features Charlotte, a maid in the Banning household who readers first met in “The Pursuit of Lucy Banning”. Believing her friend Lucy has made arrangements for her young son that will allow her to retain her position in the Banning home, Charlotte is blindsided when the baby’s caretaker delivers him to her just before the family is to arrive home from their summer at the lake. Knowing she will be terminated if the Bannings learn of her baby, Charlotte must pretend that he is a foundling and conceal her true relationship to the child.

As Charlotte wrestles with decisions about what is best for baby Henry, whether she should tell the Bannings the truth, and her angst at watching an incompetent and disinterested young servant take charge of him, she feels as if her problems are hopeless. Archie, the head coachman, loves Charlotte and tries to support her as much as he can without knowing the secrets she is hiding. Little does he know how those secrets could affect his own life.

“The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow” is a well-written story with abundant historical details about life among the rich during that era and interesting features of the Chicago World’s Fair, including a description of the first Ferris Wheel that intrigued me enough to investigate it further on the internet. I had no idea how much Ferris wheels have changed since their original design. With plenty of drama, a sweet romance with a hero to admire, and a strong theme about the importance of depending on the Lord, this book is a must-read for historical fiction lovers.

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


The Dilemma Of Charlotte FarrowIn the second book of the Avenue of Dreams series, Olivia Newport explores the complicated relationship between social classes while creating a story of courage, strength, and tender romance.Set against the glittering backdrop of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition,this compelling story captures the tension between the wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.

Charlotte Farrow, a maid in the wealthy Banning household on Chicago’s opulent Prairie Avenue, has kept her baby boy a secret from her employers for nearly a year. But when the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child’s fate. Can she face the truth of her own past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life’s tragedies determine the future for her?

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Olivia NewportOlivia Newport is the author of?The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Her novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two adult children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Endorsements for Olivia Newport and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow:

“In the character of Charlotte Farrow, Olivia Newport gives voice to the countless thousands of women in domestic service who were seen but rarely heard. Set with exacting detail in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition, Charlotte’s tale of courage and struggle will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last.”–William Tyre, executive director and curator, Glessner House Museum


“Newport’s latest novel, The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, provides an enthralling examination of the complex class and gender barriers in nineteenth-century Chicago. Second in the Avenue of Dreams series, this book will find swarms of devoted fans rooting for Charlotte Farrow, a mother forced to make excruciating choices in a world where women have limited options. The storyline is not only unique but also framed by a delicately designed backdrop of both luxury and longing. With timeless themes, Newport gives voice to women across the ages who have found themselves fighting for what matters most, and in the end, readers will join the battle cry.”–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Into the Free

The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen


In my opinion, “The Tutor’s Daughter” is another winner by Julie Klassen who has quickly become one of my go-to authors. A regency era romance with a somewhat gothic Cornwall setting, this novel begins well and builds the suspense and excitement as it progresses.

When Emma Smallwood accompanies her father to the Weston manor to help him tutor the baronet’s two younger sons,  she renews her acquaintance with the two older sons, Henry and Phillip who had once been students at her father’s boarding school. Happy to see Phillip again but apprehensive about Henry who had tormented her during his school days, Emma tries to be cordial to both of them. As can be expected in a book of this genre, a romance develops but it is not obvious for quite some time which direction it will take and which, if any, of the brothers will Emma grow to love.

A story filled with family secrets, mysterious music during the night, anonymous notes under the door, as well as other strange events, “The Tutor’s Daughter” certainly kept me turning its pages. I didn’t want to put it down in order to take care of my everyday mundane chores. I am looking forward to Klassen’s next novel and any other she cares to write in the future. If you haven’t read one of her books yet, I would recommend that you give “The Tutor’s Daughter” a try. You will probably find yourself a fan like me.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


The Tutor's DaughterFilled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast–a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions–where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her…

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

Purchase a copy here.


Julie KlassenJulie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


”The Tutor’s Daughter” by Julie Klassen! Enter to win a “Downton Abbey” Kindle Prize Pack

Julie is celebrating by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (January 31st)


One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at “The Tutor’s Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways – gift certificates, books and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor’s Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

Grace Given by Beth Shriver

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Grace Given
Realms (January 8, 2013)


Beth Shriver

Childhood memories of her grandfather’s ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she appreciates pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She visits a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

Beth received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband, two children, along with two cats and a beagle live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency.

Learn more about Beth and her books on her Website.


“Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” —Amish Proverb

Elsie Kline can’t forgive her sister for leaving the community. Gideon Lapp helps Elsie through her bitterness by studying the Martyr’s Mirror book that is centuries old, describing their ancestors’ sacrifice for their faith. But he feels there is something more. When the community moved to Texas, they were not welcomed by some of the locals. They have told Katie and Elsie that harm will come to their community if they don’t go back up north where they came from. Gideon stays by Elsie’s side as she learns to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well.

“Beth has a heart for helping others, whether through her nonfiction and fiction writing or in other capacities. It has been my pleasure to read and respond to her work during the past few years of knowing her.” —Leanna Ellis, Author of Facelift and Forsaken and winner of the National Readers Choice Award.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Grace Given, go HERE.