Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
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.
It takes a special book to cause me to think of purchasing a book at full retail price. This is one of those books. I have not so throughly enjoyed a book as this in a long while.
Melanie weaves a tale, which could have been cliche, but is really the story of what families faced with unwed pregnancy and special needs in another time period. There is a sweet thread of romance, but romance is not the focus here. The focus is more on how secrets can live in the shadows and destroy relationships when we allow fear to control us. The shadows will live to haunt us if we let them.
The fact is exposing shadows to the light, turns them into nothing. This tale vividly shows us this, placing us in the English countryside. Libby, Heather and Maggie all play a role in the story, while we experience the mystery with them.
I would encourage you to order this book if you love historical fiction! It is amazing! What I really enjoyed is how she told the story of an adult with autism in the historical time period. It really is something many people will relate to.
This book was given to me for review by the publisher and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.