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Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 5.50 X 8.38 X 0.00 (inches)|
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.
"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."
"[A] past-meets-present page-turner, and Anglophiles will find the manor, cottage, and butterfly garden settings irresistible. Perfect with a pot of English tea!"
"Meticulously researched and beautifully written. Dobson paints two British families, shadowed by lies and betrayals, whose stories intertwine across generations, each desperate for forgiveness and the hope of new life. Riveting and thought provoking, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor was impossible to put down."
"Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson is a beautiful and touching novel filled with family drama, mystery, and romance. You'll be swept away to the English countryside as you follow the interwoven stories of three women in one family who discover the healing power of love and forgiveness. Engaging from beginning to end!"
An old, cherished house is like the human heart, we keep treasures safely tucked within: some conquests we proudly display, some treasures we put behind glass, some secrets we hide from sight, our own and others'. In Shadows of Ladenbrook Manor, Ms. Dobson skillfully plaits the complex strands of life: golden and dark, truth and deception, love and loss into an engaging, multi-generational story of heartache and ultimate, unexpected redemption. Any reader might both lose and find herself between the covers of this compelling novel.
"Melanie Dobson's new book skillfully weaves together past and present as she takes the reader on a fascinating journey to a shocking secret held for generations. A book about choices, consequences, and ultimately redemption, this beautiful story highlights the love of family, and the sacrifices we make and secrets we keep for better or for worse."
JeanRussell, PAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Fantastic Work of FictionMarch 7, 2016JeanRussell, PAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is different from what I normally read but I found this book a fantastic work of fiction and enjoyed it greatly. I had a difficult time putting it down. She did excellent research on Autism for her character Libby Doyle. I learned much from this story.
Sarah SundinAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5My favorite book of 2015!January 4, 2016Sarah SundinAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5For the second year in a row, Melanie Dobson has penned my absolute favorite novel of the year. In 2014, Chateau of Secrets blew me away, and in 2015, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor did the same. Maggie, Walter, Libby, and Heather are fascinating characters, and the intricate web of secrets is slowly unraveled. With writing as lovely as Libbys butterfly paintings, I was swept into the world of English gardens and intertwined families. Do not miss this novel, my friends!
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5faith fictionDecember 10, 2015lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Heather Toulson travels to England from her home in Oregon to clean out her parents house in preparation for selling it. She discovers some drawings made by her sister and begins asking questions about her. While growing up, Heather never really received any definitive answers about her sister and how she died. Heather wants to tie up loose ends as she doesnt intend to ever return to England. However, while she asks her questions, she runs into an old boyfriend.
Maggie Doyle is the matriarch of the family. She seems to live in fear of abandonment as her parents died during WWII and she was sent to live with a foster family. She seeks affirmation and love, but from the wrong source. She makes a decision that will change her life and the lives of those in her immediate circle. Her daughter, Libby, is unlike other children and presents challenges as she grows up as people dont consider her normal. Maggie loves her daughter fiercely, but her husband Walter keeps Libby at a distance initially. As times goes on, Maggie again makes another decision based on fear with heart-breaking results for Heather.
This story alternates between the 1950s and the present day in England. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but what I found not realistic was that all three women characters in the story made the same choice with the same result. There were plenty of secrets in the story that kept it interesting, but I would have liked more action as in Ms. Dobsons previous book, Chateau of Secrets, which I really liked. There was a lot of deception taking place among many characters and choices made out of love or fear with far-reaching consequences. Walter was the best character in the book and I really liked how toward the end of his life he tried his best to take care of Libby, teaching her about God.
homesteadingHampton Roads -- VAAge: 45-54Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Superb writingAugust 10, 2015homesteadingHampton Roads -- VAAge: 45-54Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0My Review ★★★★ (Four Stars)
Its not often that a story moves me to such emotional depth as Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor has done. It is a lovely and compelling read and one that I didnt want to put it down. I was mesmerized by the characters and their plighthow negative choices followed from one generation to another, repeating themselves almost verbatim and the consequences therein.
This is a complex story with many facets. The author chose to include a character who has what today would be called Autism but in fact very little was known about in the past. Perhaps the author drew from personal experience and that is what gave such realism to this character, I dont know. But Libby was fascinating and strange and totally captured me from childhood to adulthood.
Dobson exquisitely shows the isolation and rejection from society that comes to families who have children that are perceived as handicapped. I could certainly identify with Maggie, Libbys mother, as I had a daughter with severe physical and mental disabilities. Even in our so-called modern society we experienced some heinous behavior from adults toward our daughter in her lifetime. It is a daily struggle for a parent to stay focused and positive for the childs benefit. The author portrayed this element with great finesse, though at times I wished for a few happier moments.
In life there are those who think trying to hide their sin is the best solution but in the end the truth usually prevails. It certainly did for Maggie. It cost her dearly in her marriage, with repercussions spreading to her husband and daughter. Walters poignant and heartbreaking journal entries begin each part of the story and are key to what drives it forward, in my opinion. I felt so sorry for him from the beginning. Not that he was without some faults but he was rooked.
There are some tough choices and decisions made by each member of this family that can only be redeemed and used for good through their surrender to Christ. Not everything is neat and tidy at the end but it was still an engaging story because the author has a way of weaving words and emotions together on the page that are mesmerizing. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is filled with love, betrayal, broken promises and dark secrets exposed.
Melanie Dobson has become one of my favorite authors and I am looking forward to reading her future work. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical/contemporary hybrids laced with mystery and faith.
Thank you to the author and Howard Books for providing me with a copy for review purposes. My honest opinion is all that is required. No compensation has been received.
MarbieThe NetherlandsAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Heartbreakingly beautiful.August 9, 2015MarbieThe NetherlandsAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Heartbreakingly beautiful.
This is an ingeniously plotted and cleverly written story filled with old secrets and mysteries from the pen of Melanie Dobson. Like no other book I have read this year, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor draw me in from page one. I was hooked and found myself returning to this book every free moment of my time.
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor tells the story of three generations women; the decisions they made and the consequences of their choices in their own lives and that of their children.
The characters became my friends right away. I got to know these people and loved them with all my heart. After turning the last page, it felt like saying goodbye to good old friends. Its not like they were perfect, but they were real and their struggles recognizable. I felt sad for what was lost, but theres also hope blooming and perhaps a bit of romance.
Author: Melanie Dobson
Located in: Portland, OR
Submitted: April 23, 2015
Tell us a little about yourself. Im the mom of two beautiful girls, a follower of Christ, and the writer of fourteen historical and contemporary novels. I absolutely love learning new things so writing fiction is really my excuse to research, research, research. My husband and I are passionate about loving kids from hard places, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with our church to support foster families and kids in our community.
What was your motivation behind this project? I wanted to tell the story of generations of women who kept secrets from each other to protect themselves and, in their minds, to protect their daughters/granddaughters. I also wanted the story to take place mainly in the gardens of a manor in England because one of my main characters (Libby) is a beautiful but troubled young woman who loves to dance with butterflies. "Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor" was my exploration of Gods light shining through the shadows of life, along with the beauty and power of His restoration through generations. The story is ultimately about transformationhow even in the hardest situations God can weave together a story of hope and redemption and create incredible beauty from the ashes of our lives. Each of my characters, including Libby, have the option to use the truth about their past to change their future.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? My desire is to stir the heart and soul of readers through the stories God has placed in my heart. The stirring looks different for everyone, of course, but I hope the themes of forgiveness and transformation in this story will inspire readers. Also, children on the autism spectrum often struggle with self-control and relationships, but they can also be incredibly bright, passionate people, such as Libby, who excel at art or science or whatever talents God has given them. In this story, I wanted to celebrate these wonderful kids and encourage moms, in particular, who might feel hopeless and alone.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? My oldest daughter has sensory processing issues, and we have journeyed with friends throughout the years who have children on this spectrum as well. Parents of kids on the autism spectrum often experience a lot of guilt and shed many tears on behalf of their son or daughter. As I wrote this story, I could feel Maggie and Walter's love and pain for their daughter, and I developed an even greater appreciation for the uniqueness of children and the need for parents to have a safe place to be honest about their struggles as they love their kids.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I love visiting old houses, abandoned towns, and even cemeteries, because my mind begins to create stories of people who went before us. I spent a week in England visiting old manor homes and touring beautiful gardens before I wrote this book. And because my last two books ("Chateau of Secrets" and "Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor") have been European time-slip novels, I've also really enjoyed reading other authors who write European time-slip stories like Cathy Gohlke, Kate Morton, and Tatiana de Rosnay.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: To celebrate the books theme of transformation, I'm inviting readers along with their children and/or grandchildren to paint or draw butterflies to display on my online Butterfly Gallery. More information is available on my website.
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