Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mystery in an Old Mansion

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Refuge on Crescent Hill
By Melanie Dobson

If you like mysteries you’ll want to read Refuge on Crescent Hill. It’s actually several mysteries that eventually converge. There’s a mansion haunted with mysterious footsteps and crashing glass; a hidden treasure; a missing birth certificate; a crumbling tunnel and even a runaway slave. And it all takes place in modern day Ohio and South Carolina.

Just when Camden Bristow reaches the end of her resources, she learns that her grandmother has left her the two hundred year old family home on Crescent Hill. It’s a beautiful house that needs a lot of work but there is no money to restore it. Camden stays in the house while she looks for a buyer and it doesn’t take her long to hear the noises and realize someone is invading her home. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Stephanie Ellison begins researching her family’s history and learns about a slave that ran away with some valuable jewels. One of his stops on the Underground Railroad might have been Crescent Hill.

The two mysteries converge on Crescent Hill, but there are a lot of other plot threads that feed into the main ones. A man who works for the town sees an opportunity when Camden decides to sell Crescent Hill. An unsavory character keeps popping up and Camden may not be safe. Then there is her half-sister who wants to fight their grandmother’s will. There’s even a potential romance. It’s complicated, as a good mystery should be, but I felt there were too many point of view shifts. I would have enjoyed the story more if I had known only what Camden and Stephanie knew, and learned the rest as they did. I think that would have created more suspense.

In spite of that, Refuge on Crescent Hill is well written and carefully plotted. I am happy to recommend it.

Pros: Complicated mystery with enough twists to keep you guessing. The story is well written and moves quickly and you’ll like the characters.

Cons: The author reveals the motivations of too many characters with frequent point of view and location changes.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Refuge on Crescent Hill

Kregel Publications (March 11, 2010)


Melanie Dobson


Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good.

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.



Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.

When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camdem uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life─and the entire town─forever.

To read the first chapter of Refuge on Crescent Hill, click HERE.

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