THE LEGACY OF LONGDALE MANOR by Carrie Turansky
GENRE: Dual Timeline Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers
RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2023
Two women–a century apart–embark on a journey to healing, faith, forgiveness, and romance.
In 2012, art historian Gwen Morris travels to England’s Lake District to appraise the paintings and antiques of an old family friend, hoping to prove herself to her prestigious grandfather. While at Longdale Manor, she meets David Bradford–the owner’s handsome grandson–who is desperate to save the crumbling estate by turning it into a luxury hotel. When Gwen stumbles upon a one-hundred-year-old journal and an intricately carved shepherd’s staff similar to one in a photo of her parents, she’s left searching for answers.
In 1912, after her father’s death, Charlotte Harper uncovers a painful family secret she can only confess to her journal. She and her family travel to the Lake District to stay on a sheep farm, hoping eventually to find a home with Charlotte’s grandfather at Longdale Manor, but old wounds and bitter regrets make it a difficult challenge. As Charlotte grows closer to shepherd Ian Storey and rebuilds her shattered faith, she must decide whether she will ever trust in love again.
One of my favorite things about dual or multi-timeline stories is that moment when I see how the different timelines are connected. I always get a small thrill at the discovery – and at the author’s storytelling skills. In The Legacy of Longdale Manor, Carrie Turansky not only connects the timelines tangibly (which I’ll let you discover for yourself) but on a spiritual level as well.
At first glance, Charlotte Harper in 1912 and Gwen Morris in 2012 don’t have a lot in common. Charlotte is a devoted daughter whose life and faith are turned upside down by the unexpected loss of her father and her discovery of a secret he hid well. Gwen never knew her father, raised instead by a single mom who left her with only a photograph and the inscription on the back as clues to her father’s identity. Yet as the book progresses, we begin to see how very similar they actually are – both disillusioned by their earthly fathers, both stronger than they realize and more vulnerable than they show, and both on an unplanned journey of forgiveness and faith in the bucolic English Lake District.
Turansky has created some wonderfully layered and engaging characters in Charlotte and Gwen but also in Ian Storey and David Bradford, the romantic interests for each heroine, respectively. Ian was my personal favorite between the two, but that’s not anything negative against David. It’s just that Ian’s gentle-but-strong personality and kind heart most drew me to him. I also really appreciated the shepherding references and how they tied in to the spiritual theme in a way that felt quite natural to Charlotte and the 1912 timeline but also to the faith journey Gwen is on as well in 2012. The Legacy of Longdale Manor doesn’t just contain great characters and a meaningful message, though. It also revolves around two specific locations in the Lake District that Turansky paints with charming descriptions that made me want to move into either one at a moment’s notice – or both, if such a thing were possible.
Bottom Line: I’ve long enjoyed Carrie Turansky’s historical romances, but until now I haven’t had the opportunity to read one of her contemporary stories. The Legacy of Longdale Manor gave me the best of both genres, and I found myself thoroughly entertained. Charlotte and Gwen feel like heroines I could easily befriend if they weren’t fictional characters, and Ian and David provide some swoony moments too. I loved visiting the Lake District vicariously on these pages, and I most especially loved the thoughtfully presented themes of forgiveness, the Good Shepherd, and the only Father who will never fail us. There’s also a fascinating bit of evangelistic history tucked away for curious readers. You’ll fall in love with these settings and characters, too, and I hope more dual timeline novels are in Turansky’s future and subsequently our own!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. In the interest of full disclosure, the company for which I freelance as a blog/review tour coordinator was hired to promote this book with a social media/review tour at a later date. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of twenty-one inspirational novels and novellas and a winner of the Carol Award, the International Digital Award, and the HOLT Medallion. She loves traveling to England to research her Edwardian novels, including No Journey Too Far, No Ocean Too Wide, Across the Blue, and the Edwardian Brides series. Her novels have been translated into several languages and have received starred reviews from Christianbook.com and Library Journal. Learn more at carrieturansky.com.
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