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.
There’s something magical about the European countryside that has so many of us dreaming about it wistfully, and Dobson captures this beauty perfecty in Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. The colorful gardens, thatched roofs, and quaint country cottages will leave you longing to hop the Pond. Dobson excels at much more than just setting the scene, however, although that element is crucial to the believability of this story.
Dobson knows just how much suspense and intrigue a reader can take before clamoring for more, and she’ll have you begging for more stories before you can finish this one. Although I did predict one twist, there were several more that I never saw coming. Heather’s history is woven seamlessly into each time period represented in the book, and the reader is transported back and forth without effort. Always you’ll crave more of the character and more detail than she gives you, and yet it’s not lacking – the story is just that likeable.
Loving both histories and mysteries, I’m a big fan of these books in which a character must solve a puzzle from her past, and Dobson is one of the best. If you like these two types of stories, don’t miss this one -Dobson is one of the best, and Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor shows that.
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.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.