Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (Howard, June 2015)
When Heather Toulson returns to her parents' cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.
Libby, a free spirit who can't be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver's death.
Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family's cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She's mourning her father's passing but can't let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family's belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family's history.
Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.
Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1HuCCkT
See what other reviewers are saying here:
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of thirteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. Melanie lives with her husband Jon and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.
Find Melanie online: website, Twitter, Facebook
I am a sucker for "past and present" stories these days. The book club I am in has read many of these types of books over the years, and we seem to continue to pick them every year. I think it's difficult to tell stories like this well without getting the reader all mixed up, and Ms. Dobson did this well. The "past" time period sometimes felt as if it was a lot earlier in history than what it was, but I still enjoyed the storytelling.
After a bit of an overwhelming start with lots of characters and events, this novel pulls you in and keeps you enthralled throughout. At times the circumstances were just so heartbreaking that it was hard for me to read, but ultimately the love of God, the power of forgiveness, and the hope we have in Christ shone through.
The setting of the story was very interesting and gave a little bit of new life to the usual English countryside novels.
I actually wish more of the novel would have focused on the mystery aspect rather than on the character development, but that is mostly just my personal preference. I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery, and it kept me wanting more.
The characters were written well and seemed very real, but with at least seven points of view, it was sometimes hard to remember who was "speaking" and what was going on. Also, sometimes the realness of the characters was frustrating because the people just kept making the same mistakes over and over from generation to generation! Again, this put them in the position of realizing the power of forgiveness in Christ, which is ultimately what we all need anyway, regardless of how many times we make the same mistakes - but it was a bit of an overplayed plot point by the end of the book.
Like I said several times, the points of forgiveness, healing, and hope in Christ came through very clearly in this novel. It was a very emotional book, and the characters dealt with real-life situations that can only be redeemed by God. I tend to enjoy novels that are not so emotional, but this was still an engaging story that kept my attention.
I will give Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor ... 3.5 BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books through Litfuse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."