Mr Ashcroft is one of three major potential suitors in Regency Love. The path involves themes of familial relationships and responsibilities, as well as coming-of-age and independence for ladies of the Regency period.
Meeting the Ashcrofts
The protagonist first becomes acquainted with the Ashcrofts while out shopping for fabrics at Mr Mortimer’s Haberdashery, coming to the younger sister Miss Ellie Ashcroft’s aid after the owner’s son unfairly accuses her of damaging goods in the store. Mr Ashcroft expresses his gratitude and introduces himself, thus beginning a new relationship with the Ashcroft family.
Shortly after, the protagonist receives an invitation from Ellie for tea at the Ashcroft estate, Thornleigh Abbey. After spending some getting to know Miss Ashcroft, her older brother offers his carriage as transportation home.
The protagonist continues to take tea and enjoy outings with Miss Ashcroft while chaperoned by her older brother, who she also develops a relationship with. Mr Ashcroft discloses Ellie’s history of illness and his fears about her future to the protagonist.
During one such outing in town, the protagonist admires a beautiful and expensive riding coat and later receives it as a gift. Although purportedly from Miss Ashcroft, the protagonist realises Ellie could not have seen her admiring the coat and realises that it must have been her brother’s doing.
While walking to the Ashcroft estate to dine with the family, the protagonist is met by Oliver, their footman, who relays that Miss Ashcroft must regretfully reschedule their dinner. The protagonist later discovers that the reason for the cancellation is due to an unexpected guest: Richard Ashcroft, the illegitimate son of Mr Ashcroft’s late father, who is greatly loved by both his half-siblings.
The news about Richard spreads around the town of Darlington. While the protagonist’s mother and Mrs Norris urge her to minimise relations with the family, others like Mary are unfazed. Should the protagonist choose to react in horror, her ties with the Ashcroft family are severed and Mary may take an interest in Mr Ashcroft. However, if the protagonist chooses to continue her relationship with the Ashcrofts, she will grow in intimacy with the family.
One afternoon, the protagonist is invited to a trip to the meadows with the whole Ashcroft family. The protagonist and Mr Ashcroft ride through Thornleigh Forest to Rowan’s Edge and enjoy each other’s company. As they are relaxing, Mr Ashcroft’s demeanour suddenly changes and the outing abruptly ends. Mr Ashcroft later apologies, and Ellie explains that her brother’s joy in that moment reminded him of a season of his life where, following the death of his father, he lived irresponsibly and neglected to care for his younger siblings.
Richard Ashcroft's decision
Mr Worthington, a close friend of the family, seeks the protagonist’s judgement about making the acquaintance of the Ashcroft family with the sensitive issue of their half-brother Richard. At the protagonist’s encouragement, he invites them to a ball at Castoridge Court where Richard meets Colonel Watson.
A while later, Oliver arrives at the protagonist’s home with a carriage and letter from Miss Ashcroft begging for the protagonist’s assistance as the two brothers are in the midst of an argument. Should the protagonist decline, her relationship with the Ashcrofts will end. Should she agree to go to them, she will arrives by carriage at the residence and discover that the argument stems Richard’s sudden decision to join the militia. At the her appearance, Mr Ashcroft turns his anger on the protagonist for her alleged complicity by introducing Richard to the Colonel, and severs his the family’s relationship with her.
The protagonist receives no contact from the Ashcrofts until Ellie once more begs for her assistance when Richard runs off. The protagonist agrees and learns of his whereabouts. She has the choice of persuading him to either cast of his family or to reconcile with them. In either case, the protagonist resumes her relationship with the family and receives an apology from Mr Ashcroft for his behaviour.
Proposal and epilogues
Epilogues associated with Mr Ashcroft can be found here.
Sometime later, the protagonist and Mr Ashcroft go horse-riding together. At Rowan’s Edge, he confesses his love and affection for her and the protagonist can choose to accept or refuse his affections. Refusing them concludes her time with the family; accepting them brings the protagonist closer to the family and she helps Miss Ashcroft plan a successful coming out ball in Darlington.
The epilogues vary depending on the protagonist’s interactions and choices. In happier ones, the protagonist remains close with Ellie and Richard joins the military with his brother’s blessing. In less happy conclusions, the protagonist has a distant and stilted relationship with Miss Ashcroft and Mr Ashcroft tires of you, finding companionship elsewhere.