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.
Maggie was five when she and her brother were evacuated out of London due to the war. Less than five years later, she was alone. Her parents had been killed in the Blitz and her brother had been sent to an orphanage where he later died from illness. Her guardians were only too happy to relinquish responsibility for her when she married Walter at the age of 19. Walter was a man with a good reputation and a steady job. But Maggie had kept a secret from Walter and, when it was discovered, it meant they had to leave town. They eventually moved into a small cottage on the grounds of Ladenbrooke Manor. History would go on to repeat itself, not just once but twice.
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is set both in the past and the present, and focuses mostly on Maggie and Heather. I found the storyline intriguing and I had questions that couldn’t be immediately answered. What was the relationship between Maggie and Heather? Why had Heather left England for the USA? Melanie Dobson’s writing meant that secrets were kept hidden until the right time came for them to be revealed. The pieces slowly came together and the result was a beautiful picture of love and second chances. The idea that history had repeated itself was starkly haunting. It’s a book that threw an unexpected emotional curve ball at me, and it’s definitely one of my books for 2015.
Thank you to Howard Books for my complimentary electronic advanced reader copy of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, which I downloaded from NetGalley. A review was not required.
Have you read Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: 16 June 2015
Page Count: 352