Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor


Title:  Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
Author:  Melanie Dobson
Pages:  339
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Howard Books
Heather Toulson travels to England from her home in Oregon to clean out her parent’s 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 doesn’t 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 don’t 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. Dobson’s 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.
My rating is 4 stars.

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