Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Giving Away Ten Copies of The Courier of Caswell Hall

The Courier of Caswell Hall releases this month! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story about a young Loyalist woman who becomes a courier and spy during the Revolutionary War. 

To celebrate the release of this novel, I will be giving away a copy of The Courier of Caswell Hall to ten readers on October 7th. If you'd like to put your name in for this drawing, please leave a comment with your email address below (or you can comment and email your address to comments(a)

Here is a little more information about the story:

An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution. 

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women’s families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages—a network that may be the Patriots’ only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Stepping Back Two Hundred Years

One of my favorite parts of writing historical fiction is the wondering—what would happen if...? The story for The Courier of Caswell Hall began brewing twenty years ago, when I was a graduate student at Regent University in Virginia Beach. Often I would escape to one of my favorite places in the world--the quaint cobblestone streets of Colonial Williamsburg. At the time I didn't have enough money to tour the old houses and shops, but I would splurge on Welsh rarebit (melted cheese and bread) and cider at Chowning's Tavern.

The beauty of Colonial Williamsburg is its simplicity. Candlelight flickers in the night, and in the off season, I could find a quiet bench under a tree or slip back into the cemetery behind Bruton Parish to rest and think.

One of my favorite memories of my time near Williamsburg was staying with friends at an old plantation home along the James River. As I wandered the riverbank, my mind wandered as well, dreaming about what might have happened along the water during the Revolutionary War and in the years after. Like the candlelight in Williamsburg, the story for this novel began to flicker in my mind. I didn't begin writing it though until last summer when I returned to Virginia with my nine-year-old daughter to explore.

Karly and I toured Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and the Shirley Plantation on the James River. I finally had enough money to go INSIDE the colonial buildings so we toured the Governor's Palace and George Wythe's home and then sipped dark chocolate mixed with cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg at R. Charlton's Coffeehouse. While my imagination was tangled up in the story of Williamsburg, Karly was fascinated with how things were done. Her favorite stops—the blacksmith and wigmaker. 

Together we talked about our country's heritage and the freedom that I often take for granted. Together we talked about the past and dreamed about the future.  

The Courier of Caswell Hall is a story about the past, and yet as people read it, I pray they remember the people who gave their lives for freedom and then dream about the future as well.

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