- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted May 2, 2010
Camden Bristow traveled the world for New York based Fount Magazine, but this time when she comes back to Manhattan from Indonesia, she learns the firm declared bankruptcy. Out of work, out money and soon out of her studio, Camden may be out of her head, but decides to rusticate at her grandma's house in Etherton, Ohio. Although she has not seen her grandmother in years, Camden knows she will receive the conquering hero's welcome home as she did the summer she spent there as a child.
In Etherton, Camden learns her grandmother recently died. Feeling remorse for failing to visit more often, Camden suffers further guilt to learn she inhered the dilapidated mansion. However, upon moving in, eerie things occur that lead her to believe someone else resides inside the mansion. She thinks back to her grandmother's tales of being a station on the Underground Railroad as the house contains secret passageways and hidden nooks to keep runaway slaves safe. Resident Alex Yates offers to help her renovate the mausoleum and investigate the eerie happenings. Attracted to the Buckeye, she accepts.
Mixing romance, a modern day mystery, rumors of ghosts and other paranormal activity, and an alleged hidden treasure, Melanie Dobson provides readers with a wonderful contemporary tale. Camden is terrific as she knows the only way for her to remain in small town Ohio after New York and the world is Alex. He has altruistic interests in making his town a better place to live and personal interests in the newcomer. However he doubts he can persuade the globetrotter to stay in Etherton. With an eccentric cast of all ages and maybe from beyond to cause havoc for the lead couple, readers will relish Refuge on Crescent Hill, a strong drama.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2011
Melanie Dobson successfully weaves several mysteries and cliff hangers into Refuge on Crescent Hill. The surprises are fun to experience, and will keep you turning pages. Ms. Dobson grew up in Ohio and this captivating story is about an old Ohio mansion that's presumed to have been part of the Underground Railroad, providing a haven for escaping slaves. My husband also grew up in Ohio, and this subject fascinates us. We were eager to read Ms. Dobson's novel. Also, the author now resides in the Pacific Northwest, and so do we. Camden Bristow inherits a dilapidated mansion, but can't afford the necessary repairs and upkeep. The mansion and the Bristow family history hold many secrets for Camden to unravel. At the same time, someone is wandering around upstairs, and you will be surprised by who it is. Fortunately, she has good people to help her, and to steer her clear of those who are not so good. She takes risks, but survives and all ends well ... even with a touch of romance. The storyline is outstanding, although as an editor I would have proposed more showing and less telling. Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing us with a copy in exchange for an honest review. We appreciate it and thoroughly enjoyed the saga. G. Lewis at SUMMIT BOOK REVIEWSWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2011
Refuge on Crescent Hill is told from four people's perspectives about the mysteries surrounding Crescent Hill. At first I was afraid the different points of view would get confusing, but I actually enjoyed getting the whole story as it unfolded. Since the reader does follow the different perspectives, you tend to know everything as it is discovered by each person, rather than just as one person discovers it. Because of this, I wouldn't call it a hard-core suspense novel that leaves you guessing until the end; the twists and turns along the way were revealed more gradually. However, I enjoyed this way of telling the story. I sometimes felt that the characters were repeating themselves a lot during their thoughts. I realize that we are following them during an intense period of time in their lives, and their focus is mainly on the house and what is going on in the town. But, it sometimes felt as if I was reading the same thoughts today that Camden had had yesterday and the day before. So, it felt a little repetitive in between the twist and turns and revelations. Although I felt this repetitiveness at times, I was still engrossed in the story. I love when contemporary books explore a mystery that happened hundreds of years ago, and the way all the stories came together was really interesting. I also appreciated that the romance in this novel was present, yet understated, more like it would happen in real life. It didn't feel sappy to me, which I really respect in a contemporary novel. Refuge on Crescent Hill is a novel that has it all: mystery, romance, compassion, history, and above all, hope.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2011
Melanie Dobson in her new book, "Refuge on Crescent Hill" published by Kregel Publications takes us into the secrets of the Bristow Mansion.
Camden Bristow is a free-lance photographer living in New York who finds herself having a really bad day. First, the magazine that she had done freelance work for, closed it's doors without paying for the pictures she had sold them. Now broke when she returns home she finds she will be evicted by 5:00 pm because of the two months rent she owes. Then Camden does the only sensible thing: She leaves N.Y. and returns home to Etherton, Ohio figuring she can live with her grandmother whom she has not seen in years. However her grandmother, Rosalie, has passed away and left Camden the 150-year-old Bristow Mansion on Crescent Hill.
The mansion is in great disrepair but at least it is a place for Camden to live. However, she begins to hear strange sounds in the night and objects begin to disappear which would almost make you believe, like the townspeople do, that the mansion is haunted. Now, with the aid of Alex Yates, Camden sets out to discover the real secrets of Bristol Mansion and the role it played in The Underground Railroad as well as who is robbing the mansion.
"Refuge on Crescent Hill" is not only a mystery story but it is filled with history especially regarding The Underground Railroad and helping the escaping slaves to freedom. How the past impacts the future is so well-developed by Ms. Dobson. The themes of secrets that can destroy us but that God wants to bring to His light so that they can be healed is wonderful. Then there is also the themes of domestic abuse and unwed mothers. "Refuge on Crescent Hill" will keep you flipping tha pages, rooting for the good guys and waiting for the bad guys to get theirs. Highly entertaining.
If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
To listen to 24 hours a day non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted October 26, 2011
en the Magazine that she had done freelance work for, closed it's doors without paying for the pictures she had sold them, Camden Bristow was broke. Then her apartment manager gave her until 5:00pm to get out of the apartment she owes 2 months rent on, before he locks the doors. Not knowing where else to turn, she leaves NY to go to Ohio to visit her grandmother that she hasn't seen in several years, only to find that her grandmother passed away a few days before her arrival, leaving her the old Bristow mansion, with all it's secrets.
This book has it all, suspense, mystery, romance, and some serious subjects. Melanie Dobson has done a wonderful job of tying it all together into a well written, entertaining, and informative novel. I love the era that it was mainly written about, also. This is the first of her books that I have read, but I will be searching out others.
Refuge on Crescent Hill: A Novel
I was given a copy of this book to read and review. I am not required to give a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Posted October 25, 2011
Camden inherits the Bristow Mansion when her grandmother dies, but the house needs so many repairs and Camden is almost out of money so she doesn't know if she can keep the house that's been in the Bristow family for generations.
Soon though, she learns that someone is sneaking around her house - and stealing her purse! What is this person up to and what does he/she want with the house?...
I find houses that have hidden rooms or secret passageways interesting - and since 'Refuge on Crescent Hill' features a house that was a part of the Underground Railroad and has a secret tunnel, it's hardly a surprise that I really enjoyed it!
To me, 'Refuge on Crescent Hill' was a cozy mystery (I don't think I found anything scary, but there was a lot of mystery). It had an interesting plot and the characters themselves were intriguing.
After reading 'Refuge on Crescent Hill', I now look forward to reading more Melanie Dobson novels (maybe 'The Black Cloister'?)
I recommend 'Refuge on Crescent Hill' if you enjoy reading mystery novels with a little romance.
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion.*
Posted October 25, 2011
Refuge on Crescent Hill is a book that is a wonderful read and I'm not just saying that because I live in Ohio and the book is set in Ohio or the fact that it has a ton of history that centers around the Underground Railroad. This book pulls you in from the first chapter and will keep you wanting to read far into the night, which is what I did - I tried to sleep but I HAD to finish this book.
This is a suspense book written with a Christian viewpoint - so when ghosts are mentioned the only people who actually believe in that are those who aren't Christians and have reason to fear Satan's tricks. It's been my dream to have an old historic home - with or without the hidden staircases - and I could fully picture this beautiful mansion tucked up on Crescent Hill. As the mystery unravels you'll be pulled into Camden's life and feel for her as she battles herself on whether to keep her Grandma's house or sell it - but to whom?
Faith is what get these characters through the tension in this book and helps them deal with those evil forces that seem ready to bring them all down. Even though there is romance in the book I like the fact that there wasn't anything explicit going on between the male and female characters which meant I could enjoy the book without becoming embarrassed from what I was reading. If you enjoy a good Christian suspense book then Refuge on Crescent Hill is the book for you and if you enjoy Civil War and Underground Railroad history as well as reading books based in Ohio, well then you better grab it!
**I was given a copy of this book through Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.
Posted October 24, 2011
Camden Bristow is feeling the effects of the economy. She is a free-lance photographer living in New York who finds herself without any job prospects or money. Being kicked out of her apartment with less than five hundred dollars left on her credit card she decides to return to the home where she spent many happy summers with her grandmother Rosalie even though its been years since she has spoken to her grandmother, but when she arrives in the tiny town of Etherton Ohio what she finds at the family mansion called Crescent Hill is that her grandmother has passed away and the mansion is falling into disrepair. Having no place else to go she stays at the family home anyway and quickly finds herself wondering if someone else isn't in the house. Camden has never believed in the rumors that ghosts haunt the mansion and when a few things start disappearing she is pretty sure someone is getting into the house, but how? Could it be true that there are underground tunnels that date back to slave days, and could Crescent Hill actually have been a stop on the Underground Railroad?
I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this story as well as the mystery and intrigue that surrounded the history of the Bristow family.While Camden was the primary story I loved the secondary stories that went on and how they all came together at the end. The characters were very easy to connect with, especially Camden. Crescent Hill was the only place where she ever felt like she belonged. It was nice to see her grow and watch her priorities change as the book progressed. I also felt empathy for Alex, as he continued to carry the blame for not doing enough to save his sister and nephew. I thought the christian themes woven into the story was well done, especially the message of helping others. I also got a few laughs from reading about the antics of the Sprague children especially Hailey, that little girl had a wonderful imagination.
Overall if your looking for a contemporary story that is firmly rooted in the historical era of the underground railroad, that weaves mystery, suspense, a bit of romance with a nice inspirational story then your certainly in for a treat with this story. Recommended!
Posted October 24, 2011
The cover of Melanie Dobson's novel, Refuge on Crescent Hill, evokes the mysterious aura that lingers, almost tangibly, until the last page. The grand home on Crescent Hill is a primary character in the novel, and she shines with a faded beauty through the dust and peeling paint. Dobson speaks of Crescent Hill in rich detail, drawing the reader in to uncover its past and present secrets. Each of the main and secondary characters is somehow tied to the house, and their lives entwine in unexpected ways. Like any good suspense, there are good guys, bad guys, victims, and heroes. There is little mystery as to who is good and who is bad; their loyalties are fairly clear from the beginning of the novel. Dobson tells the story from several different perspectives: Camden Bristow, Alex Yates, Jake Paxton, and Stephanie Ellison-Carter. Each chapter is comprised of various scenes, each told from the viewpoint of a different main character. A scene often ends right before something is revealed, which moves the plot at a steady pace to keep the reader interested. As a fan of historic homes and history, the setting of this novel is the highlight for me. Although the plot is modern day, its focus on the past provides just the right amount of historic elements. The connection of the house to the Underground Railroad differentiates the Refuge on Crescent Hill from other novels. I've read books set during the Civil War and the years of slavery, but have seen little mention of the Underground Railroad. It is inspiring to read about the sacrifices the families made in the quest and fight for freedom. I enjoyed looking at the photos of the real house that inspired the story on Melanie Dobson's website. The romance element is quite small in this novel. It is primarily a mystery, but is also story about love and sacrifice. There is ultimately romantic interest between Camden and Alex, but the development of their relationship is not a primary focus. There were moments in the story that I wanted more depth. I did not feel entirely connected to the characters, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless. Refuge on Crescent Hill is a page-turner until the end. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2011
I received a copy of REFUGE ON CRESCENT HILL by Melanie Dobson from Kregel. This book is now one of my favorites, and I've recommended it to my friends who love history as much as I do. I've always been fascinated by old houses. This book really whets my appetite to discover more about those in my neighborhood, even if they don't have as cool a past as the Bristow Mansion. It also inspired me to research my genealogy more.
The book began a bit slowly. Camden Bristow is a freelance photographer, but she's practically penniless, so she decides to visit her grandmother, who lives in Bristow Mansion atop Crescent Hill. When she gets to Ohio, she discovers her grandmother recently died and left her the house. Camden doesn't want to part with it, but she doesn't have enough money to support it. Plus, strange things have been happening since she moved in, and the town whispers of ghosts.
Then, there is Alex Yates, who left behind a troubled past to help out the town. He wants to use Bristow Mansion as a means to bring the community wealth, but the citizens keep fighting his ideas. In the meantime, Edward and Jake Paxton, neighbors to the Bristows, believe there is treasure hidden in the house, so they keep sneaking around to search for it. States away, a young woman named Stephanie is researching her family and discovers that a slave fled her ancestral plantation with jewels, planning to send someone back for his wife and child.except, he disappeared while heading toward Crescent Hill. Stephanie sets out to uncover the truth.
After a few chapters in, I really got caught up in the story and couldn't stop reading. I finished within a day and craved more. There is a perfect mix of history, secrets, underground tunnels, mysterious mausoleums, romance, murder, and maps sewn into Civil War-era quilts. I would have liked to see more emotion from Camden. In a few places, her thoughts weren't clear. She should've been terrified, but instead, she felt a bit two-dimensional. The other characters were well-rounded, though. I also would have liked more descriptions of the mansion. It sounded huge and glamorous, but also rundown. At times, I wasn't sure how to picture it. Other than those points, the storyline was not only complex, but contained intriguing twists. Anyone who loves mysteries or history - or trying to guess the history of abandoned houses, like I do - will love this story. One of the best parts involved a link at the end that showed the house that inspired Melanie Dobson's story. Although this is adult fiction/Christian/suspense, this would appeal to young adults, and would work great in a high school history class about the Underground Railroad.
Posted October 24, 2011
Reading "Refuge on Crescent Hill" by Melanie Dobson is like going on a journey. She develops the character in such a way, you begin to feel as though you know them and the mystery that unfolds page by page, leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat (or staying up way to late to find out what happens!!)
The story takes place in a small Ohio town following the return of Camden, a big time photographer from New York, who grew up visiting her grandma in the Bristow family mansion. Upon her arrival, her entire world turns upside down as she discovers her grandmother died and left the home in Camden's care.
With a combination of mystery, intrigue, history, family dynamics, faith, long time friends and enemies, frustrations and surprises, you will not be disappointed in this exciting read.
Posted October 23, 2011
I wasn't sure what to think of this book when I first picked it up. The copy on the back cover intrigued me, but it started a little slow for me. However, once I got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Camden is alone, out of work, behind on her bills, and can't imagine things turning around anytime soon. She decides to go to the last place she remembers being truly happy - her grandmother's home, Crescent Hill. Upon arriving, she learns that her grandmother has died but left her the house on the verge of being condemned, tons of necessary repairs, and some long-time family mysteries.
This is an incredible story about faith, friendship, belonging, and trusting in God. Dobson introduces an amazing cast of characters - some you'll fall in love with, others will drive you crazy. By the end I found myself not wanting the book to be over. Any chance there will be a sequel?!
Dobson creates a story that is part mystery, part romance. She also does a great job bringing history into a contemporary fiction novel. I actually think lovers of both contemporary fiction and historical fiction will be quite satisfied with this book.
I loved how Dobson tells the story - from multiple points of view. The bulk of the story is told from Camden's point of view, but we also get to hear from Alex, Stephanie, and Jake. At times, I wasn't sure how all of the stories were going to work together - or if they were! - but in the end, she pulled everything together and left me thinking, "WOW!"
Possible SPOILER: In the beginning there were a few allusions to ghosts, which made me nervous that this would turn out to be a "Christian ghost story." However, fear not (if that sort of story offends you), it is not a ghost story.
Great story, Melanie! You made a fan out of me!
I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my fair and honest
Posted May 24, 2010
Camden has run into an unexpected financial crunch and evaluates who she can turn to for help! Her father's dead, her mother's, undependable, and then there was Grandma Rosalie. They'd written letters to each other over the years. Etherton was home, so she decides to go to Crescent Hill and see her grandmother. Camden bangs on the door. No answer. Where could her grandmother be? Jenny, a school friend, sees Camden and stops to tell her that Rosalie has passed away-funeral was Friday.
Friday? Why hadn't anyone called her? Next surprise, Rosalie has left Crescent Hill to her. Problem.Camden has no money to repair and maintain the mansion. Camden has nowhere to live either, so she stays at the Rosalie's house. She remembers the fun summers she spent in there and all the stories her Grandmother used to tell her about the mansion and the underground railroads. There were rumors of ghosts who lived on the third floor. She couldn't think about all that-too scary. She just needed to bask in her childhood memories and sleep. She had to make this work she had no where else to go.
Alex, from the town counsel, and Jenny, try to help to find a solution to Camden's dilemma; in doing so they uncover mysteries involving Crescent Hill. Did the house really have secret tunnels? Camden discovers surprising family secrets that rock her world! She was going home to Crescent Hill for love and support..not all this.
I enjoyed this fascinating story of Camden's personal journey, the history behind the house, the underground railroads, and how women used quilts they made for more than just keeping their family warm. Refuge on Crescent Hill's story builds to a suspenseful, climatic ending that will keep you up late trying to figure out how all the pieces to this puzzle fit together. I'm so glad I received a review copy of this book. Thanks Melanie for helping me escape into another one of your gripping, suspenseful, entertaining stories. I enjoyed seeing pictures of the real house Melanie used for this story on her website. This is one intriguing story.
Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator
Posted May 21, 2010
Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson is a romantic suspense novel with a labyrinthine mystery. Camden Bristow returns home to her beloved grandmother's home, Crescent Hill, after being away for nearly twenty years. Jobless, homeless, and about to max out her credit card, she just wants a safe place to go where she is loved. But her grandmother recently passed away, leaving the house and all its contents to Camden. Instead of this being a blessing, she has two offers on the house, plus it's being condemned by the city. Alex Yates has been trying to find a way to bring in revenue to the small town of Etherton and buying Crescent Hill and using the land could be just the ticket to save the town, but Camden doesn't want the house to be destroyed. Mix into this a mystery about missing jewelry and a rumor about a secret tunnel from the Underground Railroad, and Dobson has created a story that will keep readers turning the pages. I love the idea of the home always being a safe place, first for slaves, and then for abused women, and Dobson weaves this well into the story. It's an enjoyable story about a woman finding her home.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2010
Refuge on Crescent Hill was full of surprises. Unlike Melanie Dobson's other novels, Crescent Hill took two chapters of laying groundwork before I was fully sucked into the story. As the story progressed and the plot began to unfold, I found myself flipping back and forth between chapters, checking last names of characters trying to figure out how the dots connected. When my hunches were wrong, I gave up and immersed myself in the story. Much to my delight, Dobson connected the dots in suspenseful, unpredictable ways that kept me wondering and guessing with every turn of the page.
Refuge on Crescent Hill opens with Dobson's modern day heroin, Camden Bristow, at the end of herself. Desperate and lonely, Camden turns to the only place that has ever seemed like home: her Grandma's arms. But when she arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers her Grandma has passed away leaving Camden her 150 year old, rundown mansion. The historical and eerie mansion is shrouded in mystery with rampant rumors of ghosts haunting the grounds and unexplainable lights and shadows dancing from the windows of the third floor. As Camden wrestles with how to handle her unexpected gift, she finds herself unraveling a complicated and dangerous story much bigger than herself.
Goosebump-inducing suspense, intrigue, history, romance, and an underlying theme of redemption and God making all things new. Refuge on Crescent Hill has it all. Once you start reading, you won't want to put this wonderful story down.
Posted October 16, 2010
No text was provided for this review.