Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson

Uncover a plethora of secrets and a mystery that tie two families together in Melanie Dobson’s new book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Years ago, the body of Oliver Croft, heir of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor, was found drowned in the River Coln. Authorities searched for answers, but no one was ever held responsible for Oliver’s death.


{More about Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor}

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (Howard, 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.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Melanie Dobson

{More About Melanie Dobson}

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 out more about Melanie at

Press Kit

Click to download the Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor press kit.

Click to download a Q&A with Melanie.


Contact: Audra Jennings
Litfuse Publicity Group
audra {at} litfusegroup {dot} com

Coming to terms with your family’s secrets

Award-winning author pens epic multi-generational story about the cost of living authentically

6/12/2015 || Seattle: Every family has secrets they’d prefer to stay hidden, but where is the line between protecting the ones you love and simple self-preservation? The theme of Melanie Dobson’s sweeping new novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (Howard Books/May 5, 2015/ISBN: 9781476746142/$14.99) is how the choices of a few can impact generations.

In Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor we meet young Libby Doyle, a free spirit who spends much of her time dancing with the butterflies in Ladenbrooke’s gardens. Even though she struggles socially, Libby is enchanted by the beauty of the butterflies.

Libby has captivated the heart of Oliver Croft, the young heir of Ladenbrooke Manor. When Oliver’s body is found drowned in the River Coln, authorities search for answers but find none. Soon after, Libby vanishes, and her parents, Walter and Maggie Doyle, wonder what happened between their daughter and the boy who lived next door.

If Libby were born today rather than in the 1950s, she would fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. Dobson’s reasons for including this element were personal. “My oldest daughter has sensory processing issues, and we have friends with children on the spectrum. These children often struggle with relationships but can also be incredibly bright 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 kids and encourage moms who might feel hopeless and alone.”

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor slips back and forth between the 1950s and a contemporary story where we meet Heather, the Doyles’ daughter. She returns to her family’s cottage to sort through her parents’ belongings, where she uncovers a string of shocking secrets that leave her wondering if anything her mother said about her childhood was true. “Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated,” Dobson concedes. “I love when women of different generations are honest with one another about their weaknesses and offer each other grace, just as Christ gave freely to each of us.”

As Heather sorts through the belongings left behind in the cottage, trying to separate truth from deceit, she has an uncomfortable reunion with her first love. Together, they unravel a mystery that will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. 

Award-winning author Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery to reveal how the Doyle and Croft families are entwined. Set in a charming world of thatched cottages and lush English gardens, this mystery highlights how God’s light cuts through the shadows of life, bringing transformation and restoration and creating beauty from the ashes of our lives.

To keep up with Melanie Dobson, visit, become a fan on Facebook (Melanie-Dobson) or follow her on Twitter (@MelBDobson).

Advance Praise

“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, and Anglophiles will find the manor, cottage and butterfly garden settings irresistible. Perfect with a pot of English tea!” —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

About the Author

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of 14 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.

Dobson received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in publicity and journalism for more than 15 years, including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel. Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family.

Dobson and her husband, Jon, enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest with their two daughters. When she isn’t writing or playing with her family, Dobson enjoys exploring ghost towns, line dancing and reading historical fiction.

To keep up with Melanie Dobson, visit, become a fan on Facebook (Melanie-Dobson) or follow her on Twitter (@MelBDobson).

Suggested interview questions

—In your latest book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, we meet 19-year-old Maggie — innocent in many ways — but she finds herself in an unwed pregnancy during a time period when that was socially unacceptable. What does that situation mean for her and her family?

—Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor spans four generations of women, slipping back and forth between a past and contemporary story. Why do the three older women keep secrets from their daughters? How far are some people willing to go to cover the shame of their past?

—Why did you choose to weave the theme of butterflies through this story?

—You’ve said if Libby had been born in modern times, she could have fallen on the autism spectrum. Why did you choose to include that aspect as part of her story?

—How were people with autism and their families treated differently 50 years ago?

—Do you think sensitivity and understanding for those with autism has increased in modern times? What can individuals do to help change the way society views and interacts with those impacted by autism?

—Willow Cottage, the home of the Doyle family, sits in the shadows of the Croft family’s Ladenbrooke Manor. What is the significance of these shadows?

—Your favorite characters to write about are everyday heroes and heroines who sacrifice their lives for someone else. Do any of your characters sacrifice their lives in Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor?

—Despite the fear of disappointing people we love, how can we learn to live our lives in the light of the truth instead of hiding?

—Could you tell us about the trip you took to research this book?

—You have said you almost feel a compulsion to write. What do you mean by that?

—Ultimately, what is the main message of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor?

Melanie Dobson is available for interviews to promote the release of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. To request a review copy, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Christine Muller,


Dobson offers a sensitive look at how children, who today might be diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s, may have been viewed and treated in past decades.” —CBA

“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

Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

Books, Music, and Life Review

Book Report Review

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Kristy Cambron Video Cafe

Story Behind The Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Novel Crossing

Radiant Lit Q&A

Relz Reviewz Character Spotlight

Robin Lee Hatcher’s Books Authors Read

Borrowed Book Mini Tour



    As a mother I understand Maggie’s love and devotion to her daughter. I especially liked the details about the flower gardens and imagined myself walking through them and enjoying the butterflies with Libby.
    The book kept me engaged and I found myself unable to put it down to the very end.

    Written by Frugal Shopping and More on July 27, 2015
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    I LOVED this book! I just love when an author can weave history and contemporary stories together and have that fine link between the two that we are trying to discover. I love the intrigue and mystery behind it. I love historical fiction to help me be zipped back in time. They have always been a favorite of mine. The setting of the English countryside made me want to go and visit.

    Written by A Year of Jubilee Reviews on July 27, 2015
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  • Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor was so heart-wrenching and yet so beautiful. At the end of the story my thoughts were a little jumbled with the sadness of the lives of these characters and all their wrong choices, mixed with the hope and joy of the way they loved and their decisions to push through or make amends where they could. There was tragedy and heartbreak, which made the healing and precious moments that transpired that much sweeter.I’d recommend Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor to those who enjoy women’s fiction, romantic suspense, inspirational romance, and stories full of family and relationships that feel real and heartfelt. It was a beautiful story about life’s difficulties and of what can be.

    Written by Wishful Endings on July 27, 2015
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  • Besides the fuzzy beginning, I loved this story. All facts were uncovered in time and it led to lots of great discoveries, complete with gasps and OMGs. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters, though I feel like we didn’t get to find out nearly enough about Christopher, Heather’s old flame.

    Written by Literary Winner on July 27, 2015
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    Well the first two words that come to mind are mesmerizing and wonderful. I feel in love with this book! I really loved reading this stories of Maggie and Walter, Heather and Christopher, and Libby and Oliver. Melanie is such a great writer weaving the past and the present together in this wonderful book. I loved the element of mystery to it. And I also loved that some of these tragic love stories didn’t have a happy ending, it was very real. The characters were all so likable, I would really love to hear more of the story, but most of the story was told. I highly recommend this book, it will also stay with you long after you stop turning the pages. Too bad I can only give it five stars.

    I received a complimentary copy for my honest review.

    Written by Melina’s Book Blog on July 27, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is Melanie Dobson’s latest book and it is just WOW! When I read the book description I was taken in by it and knew I had to read it. As a Mom of 3, I have 2 children who are special needs on the Autism Spectrum and so as I read this book I really identified with much of what her parents went through except at that time there was no name or treatment for it, it was said to be because of bad parenting especially by the mother. This story takes place in two times, the present where Heather Toulson is home in England cleaning out her family home after her father dies and then in 1950’s and 60’s from Libby’s birth until the the past catches up to the present. Melanie Dobson does a fantastic job transitioning between the different times and the different characters, the flow is amazing, flawless actually. Melanie Dobson writes with obvious expertise and experience with the Autism Spectrum and all of the good and bad that comes with it. She writes from her heart about Libby and Libby’s special gifts, the gifts she passed on to her family. Oh just a beautiful story.

    Written by For The Love of Books on July 26, 2015
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    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!

    Written by A Passion for Pages on July 26, 2015


    There have been many recent novels with a protagonist who returns home years after leaving, only to uncover secrets kept from them when younger. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor fits into that category. It also fits into the category of returning to find a lost love. But neither category captures the mystery, pain, and beauty of this book. I hope that Melanie Dobson continues to write. And while I am waiting, maybe I will sit among my flowers, watch the butterflies, and imagine what Libby would see. I received a copy of this title for my honest review.

    Written by Thoughts from Mill Street on July 25, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is the collision of three generations of stories. Without giving away any spoilers, I can say this is a story about history repeating itself. It’s also a tale of secrets–from family, from others–and what happens when they come out. I enjoyed this story very much. There’s a definite twist that the author lets us in on late in the story, but well before the characters pick up on it. This book is a mystery of sorts, mainly of family heritage and a suspicious death. It’s not super intense, which I actually liked. It’s interesting and realistic and sheds a light on how people with disabilities were viewed in the past.It’s ultimately a story of family and forgiveness, how truth can heal wounds. I urge you to read the author’s note after the story. Read this book!!

    Written by Amber Writes on July 25, 2015
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    In Melody Dobson’s newest book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, the reader is treated to a book filled with mystery and murder, romance and family issues, redemption and forgiveness and many plot twists and turns. What her well developed characters went through pulled at my heartstrings and I loved how the stories evolved.

    This book reminds me a lot of a Susan Meissner’s novels moving so smoothly between periods. Not every author can move so effortlessly between the past and present but I honestly believe Ms. Dobson has mastered that talent.

    An excellent read that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves historical clean reads.

    Written by All Things Are Possible on July 25, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson is a historical novel with more twists then a suspense! Through every page, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat!

    Written by Confessions of a Teenage Bookworm on July 25, 2015


    Read this book.
    It’s good— really good.
    Melanie Dobson has imbued this story with a mysterious yet beautiful picture of the wavering lines of reality and fantasy, truth and lies, hope and fear. The cover is charming with hints of the beauty and intrigue embodied within. The scrollwork on the cover, at the beginning of the sections and the chapters set the mood for something at once wonderful and mysterious.

    Written by Harvest Lane Cottage on July 24, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is filled with unexpected twists and turns and loaded with secrets just waiting to come out in the open.

    Written by Dixie n Dottie on July 24, 2015
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    I really enjoyed Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. I liked the characters and liked how it had two different timelines but was easy to read. I really like Libby and how carefree she was. I also liked how the relationship between Libby and Walter. The book was hard to put down and I wanted it to continue on. I think many of you will enjoy this book too!

    Written by Kaisy Daisy’s Corner on July 24, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor was slow and a bit confusing to me at first. Points of view shift between Walter’s journal, past events and present day. It took me a while to get into the book’s rhythm, but once I did, I immersed myself in the twisting and poignant tale of love, betrayal, deceit and forgiveness. The characters are very flawed. They make huge mistakes. And it is the message of forgiveness that makes the story so encouraging. Despite our mistakes, we have a Father who will forgive and set us on a right path again. My favorite character, Walter, was the one I most disliked at the beginning, yet came to love for his sacrificial love and care of the women in his life. Dobson’s exploration of the lies that people tell to protect the ones they love, which instead cause greater damage and invite division and estrangement, is excellent.

    Complex in its writing style and themes, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a deeply moving novel that I recommend.

    Written by By The Book on July 24, 2015
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    John Donne’s poem “No Man Is an Island” came to mind frequently as I read Libby’s story. The story, for the most part, flowed smoothly. There were a couple of places where I felt it dragged a little, especially in the beginning historical sections. The characters are well-defined, making it easy to follow their “stories.” Overall, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a satisfying read, one I can highly recommend.

    Written by The Writer’s Tool on July 24, 2015
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    What a lovely read! There is so much to enjoy about Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. I loved the historical fiction aspects of this novel, with a storyline set in the 1950’s and another set in the present. Melanie Dobson moves back and forth between these time periods seamlessly in the book.

    Written by View from the Birdhouse on July 24, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is an atmospheric tale that sweeps the reader away to another time and place! I was immediately captivated by the beauty of the setting and enchanted by the manor, cottage, and gardens. This multi-generational narrative boasts elements of drama, suspense, and romance and a compelling story line that kept me turning the pages.

    Written by Buzzing About Books on July 23, 2015
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    Not often does a book keep me up all night, however Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor did and it was well worth the lack of sleep that I had to go through the next day! I think I’ve seen this type of book referred to as a time slip book, meaning that at one moment the reader is in the year 1954 and then the next the reader is transported back to the present day (of course this isn’t the only book to use these feature), and thankfully it was quite easy to follow along and know when the switch was coming. What kept me up though at nice was the mystery that Melanie expertly wove into the story as well as the difficulties Libby’s parents experienced with what we would now associate with autism. It all wove perfectly together and created a beautiful story.

    Written by Growing for Christ on July 23, 2015
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    Melanie Dobson has done an excellent job writing the tale of loves lost and found. But the story is about so much more than romance. The love of mother and child, father and daughter, wife and husband thread through the difficult situations of life.

    I’d love to live in the quaint cottage on the edge of the British village. There’s something about the bucolic countryside setting that creates a relaxing book.

    Written by Beauty in Everyday Things on July 22, 2015
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    What a fabulous book!!!!!!!…Everything is shadowed in mystery and with both the past and the present playing out at the same time you know some of the outcomes, but it’s very entertaining and interesting finding out what led up to them. There are also more and more questions popping up as you get to know the characters…..

    Written by ASC Book Reviews on July 22, 2015


    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 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.

    Written by Julie – More of Him on July 22, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is told in one of my most favorite ways – from the different perspectives of those involved. Add that it weaves in as historical fiction with components from old England with sprawling manors and you have a winner in my book!

    This story contains a balance of drama, romance, and mystery. The way Melanie keeps trickling out the family secrets through Heather keeps you moving through the story with ease.

    Written by Starts At Eight on July 21, 2015
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  • I found this to be a powerful, moving story. Libby reminds me much of my youngest, who also spends time “off in his own little world.” Anyone who loves and cares for a child with special needs may enjoy this story.Also portrayed are the consequences of mistakes/sins, and the search for forgiveness of God and others, and even the need to make restitution when possible. This powerful story made an impact upon my heart and soul.

    Written by Life at Rossmont on July 21, 2015
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  • The interweaving of the past and present stories was done so well. I loved the mystery of trying to figure out how Libby and Heather connected and discovering what happened to Oliver all those years ago. There were multiple romances and a focus on reconciliation, truth and forgiveness. This was a well-written story I highly recommend!

    Written by Veronica’s ‘Views on July 20, 2015


    As always I loved this book by Melanie Dobson. Her books are so interesting and I like how she goes back between the past and present weaving an interesting story in the process. I really found it interesting how the author talked about autism and how it was viewed over 40 years ago, I had never really thought about it but it was interesting trying to understand what people thought about it and how they treated people who had it. I wouldn’t say this was my favorite book by Ms. Dobson but I still really enjoyed it and finished it up in no time.
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Written by Perfect Beginnings on July 20, 2015


    I absolutely loved this story! I was really up in the air about why I had signed up for this tour because historical novels are not my favorite, and this looked like a historical from the cover. But I was thrilled with the story while it was historical in a sense, it was also contemporary. Melanie took a story over the top with her beautiful descriptions, and I wanted one of those butterfly books! Thanks for a wonderful read! 5 stars from this reviewer.
    This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.

    Written by Cindy’s Book Reviews on July 20, 2015
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    The book begins in the 1950’s, telling Maggie’s story. Then it begins to go back and forth between Maggie’s story and Heather’s story. To be honest, I was loving Maggie’s story, and finding myself pretty bored with Heather’s story. I feel that I could have done without Heather’s story at all. You will see when you read this book that the two stories do go together, so I understand why Dobson puts them into the book together, but I just found that Maggie’s story was much more intriguing. I couldn’t wait to get to the next section about her and her family.

    I do think this is a very interesting read, nothing like anything I have ever read before, so I do recommend it.

    Written by The Talbert Report on July 19, 2015
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    With the many twists this story takes and even the time period it is set in, Dobson has breathed new life into the oversaturated genre of literature containing English estates, Lords & Ladies, and forbidden romance. Dobson did a good job of switching back and forth between present day and the 1940s, and I enjoyed both parts of the story. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I encourage you to check it out; especially if you love a bit of mystery set in the English countryside.

    Written by Love and a Prayer on July 18, 2015
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    Melanie Dobson’s Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor tells a touching multi-generational story, spanning from the mid-1950s to the present day against a picturesque English country backdrop. Dobson enchanted me with her intriguing combination of mystery and romance, as well as a well-rounded cast of flawed yet deeply caring characters, and I just couldn’t put this novel down. I highly, highly recommend this novel – it’s well-worth a read.

    Written by Book by Book on July 17, 2015
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    …Melanie Dobson has become one of my go-to authors. Whether it’s a story about the mob, WWII or 1800s, her writing is captivating and plot lines intriguing. The trend continues with her newest release!

    How often do we think we know what’s best for us or for those we love? But often, the best isn’t what happens, instead decisions made carry on, the effects rippling through generations. Dobson portrays this with an adept hand and I found myself completely enthralled in the story…

    Written by Books and Beverages on July 17, 2015
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    This was the first novel by Melanie Dobson that I’d read, and I honestly enjoyed it. I loved how the story wove between the past and the present, capturing the extended story of a family. The characters were poignant and memorable, particularly sweet Libby, and I enjoyed the mystery threads throughout. I also loved how the book had a character on the autism spectrum, as I feel that autism and other disabilities are generally underrepresented in books.

    Written by Covers and Ink on July 17, 2015
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    This was an incredible and intriguing story. The past and the present collide, with family secrets being exposed after being buried for decades. One determined woman, Heather Toulson, discovers that her family had been keeping a very dark secret.

    Written by My Daily Trek on July 16, 2015


    Melanie has written an incredible story, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, as it is layered with deception, secrets, love and truth that has been hidden throughout generations. I was immediately drawn into the story and Maggie’s world. Melanie does a great job with writing as she easily brings the reader into various time periods and various characters’ lives without losing disrupting the flow of the story.

    Written by Moments on July 15, 2015
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    I enjoyed reading this book, however I did find it somewhat depressing and emotional. The characters all experienced betrayal, heart ache, deceit and lost loves. There were some happy parts of the book when Heather started piecing together family secrets and reunited with a long time friend.

    Written by EmpowerMoms on July 15, 2015
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    In a world of Christian authors who are trying to write good books with believable and interesting stories, I believe Melanie Dobson does her job well. Which is pretty much the highest compliment I can pay her.

    Written by Reading to Know on July 14, 2015
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    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.

    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.

    Written by A Nest in the Rocks on July 13, 2015
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    Deb’s Dozen: Like Mother, Like Daughter—a story of hope, redemption, and devoted love.

    Maggie stood in the wind of the storm waiting for Eliot. Walter Doyle stood watching her only knowing he loved her. Maggie knew she was pregnant with Eliot’s child and lost. Walter saved her from the wind and water and gave her his name. Maggie and Walter had a daughter they named Libby.

    Libby was a free spirit who loved bright colors and flowers and above all butterflies. Maggie and Walter struggled to raise her. She was different—quiet and solitary. She spoke little but painted abundantly. Others teased her—except Oliver.

    Heather came to Bibury in the Cotswolds to close up and sell her father’s house. Walter and she had been distant for years and had not reconciled before he died.

    Written by Positive Grace on July 13, 2015
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    A riveting story of love, hate, deception, forgiveness and mystery in a multi-generational arc. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson accomplished what many novels cannot. It gave us a story that so seamlessly tied together the stories of different generations all in one book. A heavy, yet easy read. Heavy because the amount of depth of characters and plot it was able to achieve. Easy, because you’re excited to read it, to continue and finish it. Because you want to know the answer, just like the women in this story. Enjoy this compelling story that you won’t be able to put down.

    Written by Just Commonly Blog on July 13, 2015
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    There are so many secrets,twists and turns in this book that you will not want to put it down until you reach the last page. I had only planned on reading a few chapters at a time, as I have major exams coming up for school…only to end up reading half the book in one sitting!

    Written by Our Perfectly Imperfect Life! on July 13, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson was an amazing story. I was confused through the first part of the book but once I caught on to what was going on and who was who it was better.

    Written by The World As I See It on July 13, 2015
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    I found Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor to be a riveting story that spanned three generations of women of one family. Although the story moved from past to present frequently, I never had a problem keeping up with the plot. I loved how the author put the story together with Heather discovering family secrets when she returned home to settle her father’s estate.

    I also liked how those secrets were doled out one at a time as I learned new facts about each of the women that eventually resulted in more than one huge surprise – surprises that revealed just how closely the histories of these women were entwined and how similar their lives had evolved.

    With ample drama, renewed romance, a touch of mystery, and a faith-based plot, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor contained every element that I require in a good book. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and recommend it.

    This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.

    Written by Daysong Reflections on July 12, 2015
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    A multi-generation story told from the different perspectives of those involved. As this book jumps back and forth from the mid 20th century to present, we get to see how specific choices affected generation after generation.

    The book had great characters and a lot of depth. I didn’t feel like it left you absolutely loving any individual characters, but I liked that they were flawed. Parts of the book had a very mystical feel to it while some parts dealt with tough issues and somewhat unbelievable storylines. Overall, I really enjoyed reading it with all it’s twists and turns.

    Written by aTransParentMom on July 12, 2015
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    I read the blurb above, and started reading the book, and I’m thinking, wow, they got this back cover copy totally wrong. But this story is told in two parts, the first being the backstory to the above blurb.

    It is a multi-generational story, set in three different time frames. Maggie’s story, Libby’s story, and Heather’s story. All three are linked together by secrets and heartbreaks.

    There is also a mystery regarding the boy next door. Who murdered him? Did someone cover up the truth? Who? And why?

    This story is completely Wow! I loved it. It was heartbreaking, spell-binding, engaging and real. I couldn’t put it down. Don’t miss this newest book by Melanie Dobson. Great read!

    Written by Lighthouse Academy on July 12, 2015
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    Beautifully written with an intriguing and thought provoking plot, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is unlike any other book I’ve read. I almost wish I hadn’t finished it yet, just so I could still have the pleasure of discovering how everything turned out for the Doyle family.

    Written by Christian Chick’s Thoughts on July 11, 2015
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    I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. It has mystery, romance, possible murder, family problems, and other twists and turns that kept me reading. If you enjoy books with stories that seem real, characters who are fleshed out, and are page turners; this book is for you.

    Written by Books and such on July 11, 2015
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    The English countryside. Old secrets. A mysterious death. And a great love that will never die.
    The action leaps between the 1950’s/60’s and present day, from various viewpoints.
    The novel has great beauty in it, and will leave you with a sense of peace and calm.
    Highly recommended.

    Written by Avid Reader Reviews on July 10, 2015
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    I read this book in one sitting or rather an afternoon. You know a book is good when you think about the storyline days after reading it. I loved everything about this book. There are two storylines going on but it all flows well. Present day Heather returns to her parents place in England to settle their estate. Past, Libby is raised in the 1950s and we see a different type of society. I don’t want to give away the storyline but I love how Melanie wrote about things that many don’t. Especially with a Christian theme. I love how people were in their lowest point and yet trust in God was the final answer. Also, one main point is about a child’s life and really autism which is talked more about by the author at the end of the book.

    Written by I Hope You Dance on July 9, 2015
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    This book has everything you want in a story: Love, mystery, secrets, surprises, struggle, tension, and hope. As a teacher, I could tell that Melanie had done research on Autism and what it looked like for families who had a special needs child before they had diagnosis. She also shows the real-life struggle of parents in which society does not understand their child and thinks you are not a good parent.

    Written by Simple Harvest Reads on July 8, 2015
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    Sometimes the best part about novels like this is the ability to weave together to very different stories from two time periods and be able to blend them so well, you forget that they are so different. They work so well that it appears seamless as they begin to merge almost like ghosts from the past. For fans of a great mystery and a love of historical England complete with old wealthy manors complete with secret gardens, thatched cottages and cobblestone paths, will absolutely be drawn to this novel. Well worth a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

    Written by Reviews From The Heart on July 8, 2015
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    This is a highly entertaining novel – poignant, bittersweet, compelling – and gives cause for reflection after the last page is turned…Writing is exquisite, with an atmospheric, otherworldly feel…Of “read again” quality so as to pick up all that I might have missed the first time…Characters are three-dimensional & completely believable, for we know and identify with their background, struggles and emotions…A story every one of us can relate to, for surely we’ve all made regrettable choices and spent countless hours in life’s shadows, leaving us nowhere to turn but to the Lord…A memorable story of God’s faithfulness and transforming power, how He is so very capable of restoring that which is broken, in a “crown of beauty instead of ashes” style…Very highly recommended.

    Written by The Power of Words on July 7, 2015
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    This book was unique and the style was unlike anything I’ve read before. It took me several chapters to get engaged with the story and the characters. But once the story got started it was interesting. The characters seemed to fit the typical English stereotypes. The plot jumped back and forth between several points of view. It was mysterious and thought provoking. The story was plot driven so while I didn’t feel connected with any of the characters, I liked it. I will definitely check out more by this author.

    Written by Book Reviews by Tima on July 7, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson sheds light on the shadows that hide the secrets each character has in Dobson’s newest story. Told from the point of view from multiple characters, it will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat as to when the truth will be revealed. Its story line and characters will captivate you, and its backdrop of beautiful cottages placed in the romantic English countryside will make for a perfect summer read.

    Written by Taylor Reid Reads and Breathes on July 6, 2015


    This was a beautiful story of learning to love regardless of someones personality or past. I love when a story unfolds by sharing a bit of the past while also being in the present. Dobson seamlessly does that when she introduces us to Heather and we discover her parent’s past along with her. This book has mystery, mixed with the tiniest bit of romance. Mostly though we learn to love a free-spirited child Libby and see the world from her eyes. Autism is something near to me as I have relatives and friend with children on the spectrum. It was clear from the beginning of the book that Libby was autistic. It was interesting how the author showed the difference in today’s way of thinking to years past. In her author’s note at the end she confirms this. I have to admit I shed many tears while reading this one.

    Written by A Rup Life on July 6, 2015
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    I had a hard time putting this book down! It is such a interesting story of family secrets and hard choices. I love that the story spans 3 generations and is set against the backdrop of England. I don’t want to say too much about the story, since I don’t want to give anything away, but I can’t imagine how it would of been to be in the mid 1900’s and have your child’s learning abilities blamed on how a mother parents or loves her child. It blew me away to read about that.
    This book is one of the best I have read all year. The story moved along seamlessly and the characters came alive. 5 stars!

    Written by Inklings and Notions on July 6, 2015
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    As an avid reader of Melanie’s books, to say I was enthusiastic about reading her latest novel is an understatement. Melanie has a gift of weaving the depth of characters in the pages of her books and giving the reader the ability to feel their emotions on all levels and forming a connection. As one that was born in Great Britain, I appreciated the setting being in England and all the facts contained about my homeland.

    This is a beautiful story of mystery, love, forgiveness and grace. A must read that you will enjoy from cover to cover.

    Written by Happy Four on July 5, 2015


    This is a multi-generational delight that had a bit of a slow start, but by the time I reached the end, I did not want to leave these characters. The story is a beautiful portrayal of brokenness, misunderstanding, redemption, and love that endures. Libby is a character misunderstood and yet beautiful in her own unique way. She sees deeply and not on the surface, something that many can’t understand. Maggie is hounded by past choices and the way others judge her. Walter is trying to be honorable, but oh so broken in so many ways. Then there’s the modern story of a woman heading home after the death of her father to ready the family home for sale.

    Written by Cara Putman on July 3, 2015
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    Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor was an amazing book. I had the whole thing read in a matter of hours. Melanie Dobson sure knows how to write. She did an awesome job with this book! I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

    Written by A Simple Life, really?! on July 3, 2015
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    There is a lot to sort out as the book starts out, but once it gets rolling, the plot unravels like a ball of string leading from one place to the next. For me, this book was a study in how to write about family secrets revealed across generations because the novel I’m working on contains similar themes. I enjoyed it as a story, as well. Dobson doesn’t reveal too much too soon, but partway through, readers gets a sense of what’s happening. I especially appreciated the themes of restoring what is broken in relationships.

    And Dobson gives Libby a unique personality–something along the lines of the autism spectrum, which would have been undiagnosed in the 1950s. It was fascinating to consider how people would have viewed her and interacted with her.

    Written by Living Echoes on July 3, 2015
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    I really enjoyed this book. One thing that I really liked about this story was the mystery and secrets in Heather’s family history. I thought the way the author wrote this story from different view points was nice and for me it made the book read even faster. I found myself reading faster so I could see what happens next. The mix of romance and mystery in the story was a nice combination. The characters were very well developed and seemed so real. If you are looking for a book that sweeps you away and is a good read then I recommend this book for you.

    Written by Griperang’s Bookmarks on July 2, 2015
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    This book is a thoughtful, heartbreaking and heart wrenching novel. Told from various points of view, it is a family drama of several generations of women and the men in their lives. Heather, 45 years old, after the death of her father has to go back to the England family home to get it ready to sell. She has secrets bearing down on her as she and Ella, her daughter start going through the contents of the house. You can’t help but like Heather as you start to learn her story of secrets, lies, family sin, forbidden love, sickness and above all, murder. Heather realizes through all of this that her secrets are too costly to keep hidden. The author told the story in the past and the present, keeping the reader on the edge of their chair needing to know how each story will end. The author wrote a very interesting, unique and adventurous story. Everything you could want in a story is in this one. Pick up a copy and find out the secrets that are being held.

    Written by BOOKS REVIEWS ETC on July 2, 2015
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    Secrets simply cannot remain secrets forever. Sixty years ago there was an unexplained death. Now Heather finds a clue that would lead her to an answer about this mystery in her family. The English countryside, history and a multigenerational story what more can you ask for? All of the characters are richly portrayed and some of them make poor choices which have major consequences through the years. Ms. Dobson shows us the need for forgiveness, especially of oneself, redemption, honesty, and reconciliation. This book does not disappoint at all. I enjoyed it and I am sure you will also.

    Written by Vic’s Media Room on July 2, 2015
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    I discovered Melanie Dobson’s books last year. It was a great discovery for 2014 and once I heard she had a new story coming out, I jumped at the chance the read it.

    This story had such a wonderful mix and ended up being such an enjoyable read. It really was a story that had something in it for almost everyone. It had your contemporary story line, mixed with a touch of mystery. It had the historical fiction running parallel, it also had an amazing background set to an old English cottage in the countryside. Then there was also the sweet romance that was incorporated as well.

    Written by Too Read or Not Too Read on June 16, 2015
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