Beneath the Dover Sky

Written by Murray Pura
Review by Rebecca Henderson Palmer

A sequel to Ashton Park, Pura’s Danforth family saga continues in Beneath the Dover Sky, which covers the years 1924-1933. In the years after the Great War, Lord and Lady Preston, their seven children, as well as their sons- and daughters-in-law and grandchildren, face new challenges. The typical themes of illness, injury, death, romance, marriage, and birth are set against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power, religious violence in Jerusalem, the momentum of the Labour Party, and the early days of aviation.

Pura’s writing frequently crosses the line into melodrama, but the novel does provide an intriguing look inside the lives of British nobility during the early 20th century. Readers will detect clear echoes of Downton Abbey and other similar World War I narratives, although Pura peppers his story with strong Christian themes. The book bounces from character to character, giving the reader a broad, if not deep, view of the family’s life. If readers can keep track of the increasingly large cast of characters, they will find an engaging tale. The third book in the Danforths of Lancashire series is expected in 2014.