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Book Beat – Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie DobsonIn the 1950s, nineteen-year-old Maggie finds herself pregnant – and the father is nowhere to be found. Sweet-natured journalist Walter Doyle is madly in love with Maggie, and is thrilled when she suddenly agrees to his proposal.

In modern times, art restorer Heather Toulson returns to England from Portland after the death of her father, Walter Doyle. Heather must clean out the family’s old cottage outside mysterious Ladenbrooke Manor, praying she doesn’t run into her first love. As Heather sorts her parents’ belongings, she becomes more and more curious about her older sister, Libby, who died around the time Heather was born. Free-spirited Libby, who sneaked into the manor grounds to dance with the butterflies, but was seen as odd by the townspeople.

For the second year in a row, Melanie Dobson has penned my absolute favorite novel of the year. In 2014, Chateau of Secrets blew me away, and in 2015, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor did the same. Maggie, Walter, Libby, and Heather are fascinating characters, and the intricate web of secrets is slowly unraveled. With writing as lovely as Libby’s butterfly paintings, I was swept into the world of English gardens and intertwined families. Do not miss this novel, my friends!