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Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Melanie Dobson
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 w... Read More

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Softcover
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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.
  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Softcover
  • Release Date: Jul 7, 2015
  • UPC: 9781476746142
  • Volumes/Discs: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Publish Date: Jun 16, 2015
  • Language: English
  • Audience Age Maximum: 0
  • Audience Age Minimum: 0
  • BISAC: "FIC042030"
  • ISBN: 1476746141

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A life left in collected memories of the past unraveled in the future by Kathleen E. on 7/31/2015
Rating

Friday, July 31, 2015
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson, © 2015

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. --2 Corinthians 12:9

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a strong story of generations following each other in sequels with love so powerful it can break every obstacle in its path and past. Cycles that have not been broken except by God. Self-doubt and uncertainties brink exposure when we decide for another of what we think they would do. Time has been lost because of omitted observations that love could have healed, that acceptance would epoxy the breaks back together stronger than they were apart.

Libby Doyle is free to be who she is without hindrance until others try to encapsulate her into their mold. Walter Doyle sees who she is, perfect as she is, loved forever.

Melanie Dobson has brought to the forefront what can happen for families when seeing others as they are does not hinder but frees them to express all they are meant to be. Full, content, loved, accepted, and not hidden away. So reminiscent of Psalm 139, The Message ~

Shadows appear from intercepting light, reflected. Readiness to accept each other and not hide away. After the passing of her parents, Walter and Maggie Doyle, Heather Toulson and her newly married daughter, Ella, return from the States to their Willow Cottage in the village of Bibury, the Cotswolds, England, to ready it for sale.

"If the answers are still around, I have no doubt you'll find them." Instead of looking toward Ladenbrooke, Heather stared at the old stone cottage ahead of her––the home for Ladenbrooke's gardeners, decades before Oliver died.
--Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, 44

I liked how the story was told in first person from each participant character, rather than about, so you could grasp their thoughts and resulting actions. Flowing between each generation's "now" broadened the story to encompass a backstory and a hope for the future.

Love is very powerful ~ for God is Love

A life left in collected memories of the past unraveled in the future as Heather and Ella attempt to sort through the stored boxes, some labeled, others not. Are our lives that way? Some parts available for all to see, transparent and open, while others are of no function but have made us who we are in their completeness? All is revealed but like a puzzle, piece-by-piece, until it all together becomes a tapestry. A similar clip has been told of a magazine page given to a young boy as a puzzle map of the United States. He was asked how he did it so fast. He said he put the pieces of the man together on the other side and it all came together.

Each generation interweaves with the other as the mystery unfolds, leaving them bare. What has each person selected to do with the information that has fallen into place? Forgiveness and exposure can bring peace and solidity to each member, putting to rest suppositions. I liked how it was all woven together, guessing what might happen, until the very end, revealing why previous parts fell away. Truth became alive bringing brilliance to lives! God's Truth and redemption remove shame and imperfections ~ walls His light shines on both sides, removing shadows that hinder, freeing us to love and live in His grace.

***Thank you to author Melanie Dobson for inviting me to review her newest novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Thank you to the publisher, Howard Books, for this review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

A poignant tale of love and sacrifice... by J. Augustine on 7/15/2015
Rating

Shadows Of Ladenbrooke Manor is a poignant tale of choices, decisions that affect and haunt the lives of four generations of women, and the men closest to them. It is a story of heartbreak and tragedy but it is also ultimately a story of the many facets of love.

Melanie Dobson has woven a butterfly tapestry in story. Lives interconnected by the most tenuous of threads, some of the them dark and some bright. Secrets that can tear apart the lives of two families, will they pull together or will they ultimately crumble under the weight of the past mistakes?

Some of the things that really jumped out at me were: we ultimately make our own choices but the decisions of those around us can still affect us even if we don't know about them, fear and bitterness can cause us to push away and hurt those we love the most, and so often we don't love people for themselves but try to mold them into something other than what the Creator meant them to be.

When I first started reading Shadows Of Ladenbrooke Manor I would only finish a chapter or two at a time, mostly when I woke up and when I went to bed, but as the story drew me in I began to realize I HAD to know what came next, finally I kicked back on a hot summer afternoon and finished the last half in a matter of two or three hours. In many ways it isn't a book to rush through, more like one to slowly soak in, to ponder, and to savor.

Melanie Dobson takes on some tough subjects in this novel but she does so with a tenderness and delicacy that is to be admired. I would say more but that might spoil the story so all I'll say is that it is a truly beautiful story about the complexities and messiness of real life.

Shadows Of Ladenbrooke Manor was the first novel by Melanie Dobson that I have read, I am so glad I got the chance, and I know that it won't be the last.

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.)

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is Rich Storytelling by Robin on 6/16/2015
Rating

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor: A Novel
By: Melanie Dobson

Book Summary: 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.

Review: This is another home run for me. I was glued to the book and was not disappointed. The characters were solid and the story was well written. I did not want the experience to end. Going back and forth between the present and past drove the story and helped to understand and root for even the characters I might not agree with yet so believable it made me want to go find the Ladenbrooke Manor. From beginning to end time stood still and these people were so real that I forgot I was reading a fiction book. I wanted to know all the people and by the end no one can say that for a little while these characters were real. The mistakes that take on a fantastic beauty of forgiveness, love and tragedy. That these characters were so real and had a depth of character that I am richer just for having read this. Ms. Dobson took the failings of these people and wove beautiful story of redemption. The richness of this story and the previous book are a benefit to every reader who wants to experience life’s complexities even if it is only vicarious. The world is more vivid and people are a mystery worth interacting with just to uncover the longings of an individual and sharing these triumphs that sometimes seem so tragic at the start.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.


Activate Your Faith - Phillipians 4:13
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