Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
(Howard Books, 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 from Amazon 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.
Well, I read this in one day... so even though this book didn’t turn out to be my favorite genre, that’s definitely something especially considering I have a 16 month old! :)
Melanie Dobson writes very well, and her story-lines are always emotionally moving. She’s written a few different genres over the years, and I like to see that she’s trying new things. Not many authors have the ability to be successful at that.
Now, about the story. There were quite a few times that I wanted to cry while reading this heart-breakingly sad look at the lives of three generations of prodigal daughters. It was a good story with great characters, but so many of them! It was a little distracting to keep track of everyone at first, and I was surprised by there being seven character POVs “shown” to the reader by the end of the book. I felt that two of them could have been easily taken out without hurting the story one bit.
The story also has the split timeline that seems to be gaining popularity lately. Honestly, I would rather read a deeper story all about one character over a shorter period than one about so many characters over the span of sixty years. That’s just my opinion and why I gave it four stars instead of five. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is well-written and is pulled together quite well for all the different things going on within its 333 pages.
I’m sure anyone looking for a good, suspenseful split-timeline contemporary/historical will love the journey this book will take them on.
Melanie Dobson’s Shadows of Ladenbrooke has a rating of 4.28 out of 5 stars (from 133 ratings) on GoodReads. I was given a copy of of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book released June 16, 2015.
“Dobson handles sensitive issues with tact, careful to avoid too much detail but remaining honest. Mysteries are solved, truths revealed, and loves rekindled in a book sure to draw new fans to Dobson’s already large base.” —Publishers Weekly
“How far do patterns of behavior echo through generations? Are they passed down through a family’s DNA — or through choices subtly modeled by one parent after another? ‘Armchair psychologists’ will love how Dobson tackles these intriguing questions in this past-meets-present page-turner.”
—Christian Book Distributors
“Mystery, intrigue and grace . . . these are the hallmarks of Dobson’s time-split novels. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is meticulously researched amid England’s lovely Cotswolds. Beautifully written by this master storyteller and not to be missed.”
—Cathy Gohlke, Christy Award-winning author of Secrets She Kept and Saving Amelie
“Dobson’s latest is a splendid combination of the past and the present, skillfully woven together with an interesting mystery. The fascinating British setting, exploration of family secrets and hopeful ending create an engaging reading experience.”
—RT Book Reviews