©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

I don't know what I was thinking when I chose this book for review. I do read the blurbs about the books, but for some reason I had this book in mind as an historical novel, and to some extent it was historical, but not as I had assumed.

Melanie Dobson has written a book that captures the reader in a "take no prisoners" manner. While bouncing back and forth from the 1950's and 1960's to present day, the story is completely told and completely resolved in this novel.

Heather spent most of her adult years as a single mother raising a daughter with no father-figure in the picture at all. Now Heather's father has passed away and she has to go back to England to clean out the family cottage. While she's there she finds her sister's drawings, and some answers to questions she didn't know she had. She knew she had an older sister, but thought her sister had died before she was born. She finds out that not only is her sister still alive, but her sister is really her birth mother. Even more mysteries are settled for Heather while she is staying in England, and Heather even finds love.

Heather's sister, Libby, is depicted as rather odd, and a bit slow cognitively, but she's quite an artist. Her favorite subject is butterflies and each butterfly she draws has a name and a story. If Libby had been born in a later era, she would have been diagnosed in the Autism spectrum. She has the social disconnects and some cognitive disabilities.

Heather's daughter is most supportive of her mother's dig into history and even when her mother tells her who her father really is.

While this is Heather's story, it cannot be understood without understanding her parents' story too and that is why the flashbacks to the earlier era is so key to the plot. Melanie has done a masterful job of weaving the history into the warp and woof of Heather's life.

Melanie did not make God an overt part of the story, but you see His hand throughout. He clearly resides in most of the characters and makes a difference in their lives.

I have no other choice than to give this book Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a butterfly painting just for you.

My thanks to Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

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