Friday, July 31, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson, © 2015

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.   --2 Corinthians 12:9

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a strong story of generations following each other in sequels with love so powerful it can break every obstacle in its path and past. Cycles that have not been broken except by God. Self-doubt and uncertainties brink exposure when we decide for another of what we think they would do. Time has been lost because of omitted observations that love could have healed, that acceptance would epoxy the breaks back together stronger than they were apart.

Libby Doyle is free to be who she is without hindrance until others try to encapsulate her into their mold. Walter Doyle sees who she is, perfect as she is, loved forever.

Melanie Dobson has brought to the forefront what can happen for families when seeing others as they are does not hinder but frees them to express all they are meant to be. Full, content, loved, accepted, and not hidden away. So reminiscent of Psalm 139, The Message ~
1 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
2 I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
3 You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight.
4 You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence.
5 I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too - your reassuring presence, coming and going.
6 This is too much, too wonderful - I can't take it all in!
7 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?
8 If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go underground, you're there!
9 If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
10 You'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
11 Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I'm immersed in the light!"
12 It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.
13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb.
14 I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation!
15 You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.
17 Your thoughts - how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them!
18 I couldn't even begin to count them - any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
19 And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers - out of here! -
20 all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
21 See how I hate those who hate you, God, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
22 I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies!
23 Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about;
24 See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong - then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Shadows appear from intercepting light, reflected. Readiness to accept each other and not hide away. After the passing of her parents, Walter and Maggie Doyle, Heather Toulson and her newly married daughter, Ella, return from the States to their Willow Cottage in the village of Bibury, the Cotswolds, England, to ready it for sale.
   "If the answers are still around, I have no doubt you'll find them." Instead of looking toward Ladenbrooke, Heather stared at the old stone cottage ahead of her––the home for Ladenbrooke's gardeners, decades before Oliver died.
   --Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, 44
I liked how the story was told in first person from each participant character, rather than about, so you could grasp their thoughts and resulting actions. Flowing between each generation's "now" broadened the story to encompass a backstory and a hope for the future.

                                    Love is very powerful ~ for God is Love

A life left in collected memories of the past unraveled in the future as Heather and Ella attempt to sort through the stored boxes, some labeled, others not. Are our lives that way? Some parts available for all to see, transparent and open, while others are of no function but have made us who we are in their completeness? All is revealed but like a puzzle, piece-by-piece, until it all together becomes a tapestry. A similar clip has been told of a magazine page given to a young boy as a puzzle map of the United States. He was asked how he did it so fast. He said he put the pieces of the man together on the other side and it all came together.

Each generation interweaves with the other as the mystery unfolds, leaving them bare. What has each person selected to do with the information that has fallen into place? Forgiveness and exposure can bring peace and solidity to each member, putting to rest suppositions. I liked how it was all woven together, guessing what might happen, until the very end, revealing why previous parts fell away. Truth became alive bringing brilliance to lives! God's Truth and redemption remove shame and imperfections ~ walls His light shines on both sides, removing shadows that hinder, freeing us to love and live in His grace.
melanie dobsonThese wonderful remembrance photos taken on Melanie's England research trip!
***Thank you to author Melanie Dobson for inviting me to review her newest novel, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Thank you to the publisher, Howard Books, for this review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Photo of Butterfly World
Butterfly World Stockton-on-Tees England

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