Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review - Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor


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.


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


This book is one of he best books I've read in a long time! The story is so hauntingly beautiful and kept my attention the whole time and I hated for it to end. I loved these characters and they won't soon leave me.

The book goes between two different time lines and, surprisingly enough, it works very well and is not confusing at all. The author makes sure we understand what era we are in and you will very quickly fall into a rhythm with it. 

Maggie, Walter, Libby, and Heather form a little family with lots of secrets and these secrets trickle down through each of their lives. It affects their relationship with each other and with others. There is tragedy and surprises for the reader that keep you turning the pages well into the night! I know - I lost a lot of sleep because I didn't want to put the book down.

I loved the relationship between Libby and Oliver despite the tragedy that befalls them. It's beautiful how Maggie, Libby's mother, allows her daughter to be who she is. I thought the love she shows for her daughter is so beautiful and caring. Her artistic talents are not squashed by her mother but encouraged and we see Libby thrive because of it. 

I also love the relationship between Libby and Walter as it progresses from apathy to real caring on Walter's part. It's so heart-warming to see towards the end of the book all he has done for his daughter.

Heathr and Christopher have lived believing lies that their mother's told them in the effort to protect them as they felt they were too young to marry. There are secrets within their relationship, too, and we see what happens when the light is finally able to hit all these relationships and healing can begin.

The underlying theme of forgiveness and redemption is so beautiful in this book. Also, encouraging the gifts that God gives us, was a great reminder as it helped these characters to thrive in what God wanted them to be. I absolutely loved this book and it's one of the few fiction books that I will keep to read again. It really is a must-read for anyone who loves a great story! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

You can read more reviews of this book HERE

Blessings - Julie

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