In Melanie Dobson’s Refuge on Crescent Hill, Camden Bristow’s life is in shambles, and the only place she will find welcome is the house she called home so many years ago. This is a story of passion -- passion for justice, passion for truth, and passion for the redeeming God. This passion takes Camden deep into the past, breaking and healing her heart while discovering the secrets of her family.
Refuge on Crescent Hill is presented through four separate narrators, each character’s perspective giving pieces of information that come together in the end. The narrators all hale from different backgrounds and their purposes are all necessary to understanding the full story. The emotions and biases of the characters make relationships difficult, but only until they decide to give their hurt to God. The friendship that is rekindled between Camden and Jenny and the romance that brews between Alex and Camden is due to their turning to God and not to themselves for strength. Camden is extremely wary of opening herself to Alex, a man she barely knows. However, with the help of her childhood friend Jenny, Camden becomes familiarized with herself, the people of Etherton, and the God she used to believe in.
Camden’s career is over, but Alex’s is on its way up. Camden retreats to the only stable place she knows, but the refuge she seeks is not provided as she had hoped at Crescent Hill. She seeks peace, but this place only hands her trials and more stress than she already carries. All Camden wants is to be back on her feet. While Camden is on a quest for a way out of the small town of Etherton, Alex is on a quest to grow this town to the potential he sees to keep his job, and he thinks he has finally found the way through Camden’s newly inherited property. Instead, he realizes that the people giving him opposition are not who or what they seem. Camden and Alex choose to stop running from what scares them and to start seeking truth. Matthew 7:7 says, “Seek and you will find,” and they do find more than they bargained for.
Camden knows what she wants, when she wants it. She fights for what she thinks is best for her, but her selfish impatience does not consider others. She does stop focusing on just herself as the story progresses, showing her growth in God. Alex desperately wants to forgive himself for past mistakes, but he is unwilling to lay down his bitterness. He needs Camden just as much as she needs him; their strengths are each others’ weaknesses, and they are able to learn and grow together because of them.
I found myself not being able to stop turning page after page. Preteens up to grown women will enjoy this novel. It is perfect for a rainy day or relaxing weekend. Melanie Dobson will have you wanting more after every chapter, so don’t wait to discover the mysteries on Crescent Hill. – Kyla Martin, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
This homecoming wasn't what she expected . . .
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, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion's walls that could change her life--and the entire town--forever.