Monthly Archives: June 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

Book Description: 
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.

My review:

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.

Loved it!

This book was given to me for review by the publisher and NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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The Midwife’s Tale by Delia Parr

The Midwife's Tale

The Midwife’s Tale

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the Book:

Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania, for generations. A widow with two grown children, she’s hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but when Victoria runs off, Martha’s world is shattered.

Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can’t remember a time when her faith has been tested more. Still determined to do the work she knows God intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead. Whether it’s trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationships, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and every opportunity with hope and faith.

My Review:

At first, I was slightly confused at the direction this book would go in. It is a slow starter to be sure, but that does not mean it was bad. Martha Cade is an older character, she is widowed, and romance is not the primary driving story line of this book. There is little to any romance involved, if that is what you are looking for. Instead, there is more the tale of a midwife and how they may have served women in that time period. There were several glaring errors in just basic midwifery, even from that time period, but the author did not claim to be up on the facts. One though, that is constantly done in historical fiction which drives me insane is when the mother has been in labor for many, many hours and a midwife comes in and with skilled hands, turns the baby from the breech position to vertex and the baby comes smoothly. Babies can and have been born breech many times, and is not the leading cause of stalled labors. A skilled midwife would use other methods to get the baby born, but likely would be physically impossible to turn the baby at that point in labor.

Small errors like this, only distracted me because of my education in the field, but overall, I enjoyed the story. I gave it about 3.5 stars as a rating, mostly because of the errors and the lack of depth of some of the storylines. The positives were that she took an character that was older, and made her fascinating. She did not need a man, but with God beside her, was willing to be a strong female in a time where she was needed.

This book was provided for me for review by Bethany House publishers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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