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Friday, December 22, 2017

Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1958 and Jenny is glad to travel to the Lake District. In America her grandfather has chosen a fiancé for Jenny, but she doesn't want to marry this man. Jenny is looking forward to freedom and photography. She has a new camera and can't wait to capture the beauty of her new surroundings. She soon meets the handsome Adrian. He has a motorcycle, knows a lot about the area and is exactly the kind of company Jenny needs. He offers to show her around and that also means he'll take her to his family legacy, an old neglected amusement park filled with ancient history.

Adrian's family used to run a successful amusement park on an island, but after a terrible incident the park never opened again. Many years later it still isn't clear what happened. Nobody was ever able to discover the exact details of an awful death. Will Jenny and Adrian be able to find out more about what was going on at the island at that time and is it possible for them to right the wrongs of the past, so the future will look bright again?

Enchanted Isle is a beautiful story about love, friendship, feuds, secrets and mysteries. I like a good suspenseful story and love it even more when there's wonderful romance involved as well. Melanie Dobson has written a story that has both of these elements and I enjoyed it from the start. Jenny is a sweet girl. She's creative and observant and has dreams for the future that her grandfather is threatening to ruin. I kept hoping she'd find strength while having an ocean between them and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if she'd be able to make her dreams come true. Adrian is a good guy, someone who suits her and is perfect for her. I flew through the story to see if they'd have a chance together.

Melanie Dobson's writing has a great easy flow. Enchanted Isle is gripping and has many different layers. There are plenty of surprising twists and turns and the story is fast-paced. I love it when I'm anxious to keep reading and Melanie Dobson kept me on the edge of my seat. I equally enjoyed the true love aspect and the mystery surrounding the island. There's a good balance and each part has been well developed. I absolutely loved Enchanted Isle, it's an amazing spellbinding story.


If you love stories about secrets and like reading about true love Enchanted Isle would be an excellent choice.

About Melanie Dobson

Writing fiction is a fun excuse for Melanie to explore ghost towns and old houses, travel to unusual places, and spend hours reading dusty books and journals. She writes both contemporary and historical fiction with threads of romance and suspense.

Melanie is the award-winning author of seventeen historical romance, time-slip, suspense, and contemporary novels including Catching the Wind, Beneath a Golden Veil, and The Silent Order. Three of her novels including Chateau of Secrets have won Carol Awards, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon's work, the Dobsons have finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or researching, she enjoys line dancing, biking, and making up stories with her kids.



Researching for Enchanted Isle
Guest post by Melanie Dobson

The amusement park called Geauga Lake had celebrated almost a hundred summers when I first walked wide-eyed under the clock tower entrance and into another world. It was a place of wonder for me and generations of children in Ohio, a place where we could dream. Sadly, this park is closed now, the rides rusty, weeds overtaking the midway once crowded with people, but the memories of this place, a gallery of pictures, are forever etched in my mind.

When I began writing Enchanted Isle, I wanted to write a story about a park once filled with beauty and wonder as well, an abandoned park that had seemingly lost its way. And I wanted to set this story in a magical place.

England’s Lake District, near the border of Scotland, is a labyrinth of lakes and rugged fells, waterfalls and wildflowers, legends and lore. As I researched this beautiful district, my idea about a fictional park, one inspired by the sea, began to grow. And I knew exactly where to build this park—on one of the mysterious islands in these lakes.

When I journeyed to the Lake District to research last year, a friend named Diana graciously hosted me in her seventeenth-century stone home above Windermere. She took me on a grand treasure hunt to explore Roman ruins along with the hills covered in daffodils and the icy blue lakes called meres. I heard the wonderful stories from people who’d grown up in this district, drank pots of black Twinings tea, and savored the local mint cakes and gingerbread.

Near the end of my trip, I headed north to explore the library, cathedral, and museum in Carlisle, home of Hadrian’s Wall and other Roman ruins. I was a short train ride away from a Scottish town called Gretna Green, known in history for “runaway weddings,” and I couldn’t resist taking a train up north even though the ticket agent wouldn’t sell me a return ticket back to England. He said I’d never make the train; it was supposed to leave the moment my train arrived in the Scotland station.

I stood by the train door as we crossed over the river that separated these two countries, and when the doors of my train opened, I bolted up the rain-soaked steps, across the bridge, and ran down toward the train preparing to leave on the other track.

The engineer graciously waited until I was inside before heading south.

When the returning conductor asked why I didn’t have a ticket, I told him the British station refused to sell me one. And I explained my race across the platform, my 15-second visit to his country.

“Why would ya do that?” he asked, dumbfounded.

“Because I’ve never been to Scotland before.”

He mumbled something about crazy Americans as I paid a few pence for the return fare.

Why did I decide to write a novel about an abandoned amusement park in the Lake District? Because of the beautiful and mystery there, but also perhaps because it has never been done before. And because I’m a little crazy….

I thoroughly enjoyed my week in the Lakes and then the months wandering the lakes and fells in my mind as I wrote Enchanted Isle. I hope you will join me on this journey to England and the abandoned ride in an old amusement park that’s harboring a deadly secret from the past.


One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy or a kindle copy (winner's choice) of Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Enchanted Isle sounds like a mystical story of love lost and found in the Lake District.

  2. This sounds absolutely fascinating! We live in Northern Ireland and love going to the Lake District on holidays. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too! :)

  3. Sounds really enthralling - Thanks for the chance - Merry Xmas :)

  4. this looks like a fantastic read! Merry Christmas, and thanks for writing xx

  5. The story sounds wonderful! I would love to read it.

  6. I spent many summers in the Lake District helping out at my cousin's farm, on the fells and with their B&B. I loved every minute I spent in this beautiful part of the country so this novel appeals to me to relive my youth on the fells, the lakes and in the towns.

  7. Sounds like a great combination of romance and mystery

  8. Sounds like a wonderful story, thanks for the review and giveaway!

  9. I love that cover, it's beautiful!

  10. looks like a great read - would love to win

  11. This sounds like a fab read and the cover really jumps out at you. Added to my reading list.

  12. I've heard great things about Melanie's books.

  13. Sounds thrilling. I'll definetly take a better look at it.

  14. the book sounds great, looking forward to reading it

  15. I love a book with lots of twists and turns, this sounds great.

  16. I'm intrigued by the mystery surrounding the amusement park.

  17. Would love to read this, when I was younger the fair used to come twice a year just down the road from us and I went on nearly every ride I could. Years later and we went to Disneyland Paris and then the big one in Florida and I did the same, even the "younger person" rides I had to go on if the queue wasn't huge. I think we went on Haunted Mansion/Phantom Manor about 6 times on the trot lol. :)