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review 2020-04-30 07:31
The House at the End of the Moor Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  House at the End of the Moor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre:  Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2020

An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.



Click HERE for your copy!
 
 

About the Author

 


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
 

 

More from Michelle

 

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.
Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.

In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?

You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.

What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.
 
 

My Review

 

I am convinced that Michelle Griep cannot write anything less than a 5-star story. She is one of the truly exceptional authors who can draw readers into the world of her books so completely that everything else fades into the background and the reader walks alongside the characters. Historical fiction is my favorite genre to begin with, and Griep manages to elevate it to another level. Her prose is Dickensian, which is another reason that I love it so much, and it perfectly reflects the Victorian time period of her most recent novel, “The House at the End of the Moor.”

Set in England in March 1861, the first two chapters are introductory, presenting the two primary characters. Chapter two opens with my favorite line in the book: “Nights like these, when the wind shivers the bones of the great old house, ghosts of my past waft about unmoored.” This is another favorite of mine: Griep’s ability to beautifully describe a scene in a way that seems old-fashioned but is nevertheless still entirely concise. In “The House at the End of the Moor”, Margaret “Maggie” Lee and Oliver Ward enter into each other’s world, and different though they appear, as the plot progresses, readers realize that they have more in common than they realize.

Indeed, despite their many differences, Maggie and Oliver share something in common: both are running away. Maggie from her successful but emotionally distressing former career, and Oliver from a wrongful conviction. The conditions and ill treatment of Dartmoor Prison described in this book are appalling, but they are written respectfully and with sensitivity. Furthermore, this book contains a shifting narrative viewpoint between these two characters, with Oliver’s story told in the third-person and Maggie’s in the first-person. While this can be a challenging undertaking, it works well here. It distinguishes the two characters while simultaneously highlighting their similarities, both of which play an important role in the story. A sinister plot links them together, and with the enemy at the door, they must trust not only each but, above all, God, because He promises to be with us always and to never forsake us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Batya’s Bits, April 18

The Avid Reader, April 18

Life of Literature, April 18

The Power of Words, April 18

For Him and My Family, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 19

Among the Reads, April 20

My Devotional Thoughts, April 20

As He Leads is Joy, April 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 22

Inklings and notions, April 22

Remembrancy, April 23

Hookmeinabook, April 23

Christian Bookaholic, April 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 24

Britt Reads Fiction, April 24

Emily Yager, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Stories By Gina, April 25

Adventures of a Traveling Wife, April 25

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

Splashes of Joy, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, April 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Blessed & Bookish, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27

Pause for Tales, April 27

Through the Fire Blogs, April 28

Hallie Reads, April 28

Faery Tales Are Real, April 28

To Everything There Is A Season, April 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Bigreadersite, April 29

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 29

Genesis 5020, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, April 30

By The Book, April 30

For the Love of Literature, April 30

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 1

Bookishly Beverly, May 1

Daysong Reflections, May 1

Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 
 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 
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review 2020-04-20 15:34
Dodger
Dodger - James Benmore

by James Benmore

 

 

As sequels to Oliver Twist go, this one was pretty good. Benmore depicts the Artful Dodger in a sort of 'winning rogue' sort of way that makes him likeable and easy to sympathize with as he gets into one tight situation after another.

 

The premise is that Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, has returned to England after criminal exile in Australia with a special dispensation from the governor, but the governor has his own reasons for sending Jack back. He is to track down a valuable stone, called the Jackapoor stone, accompanied by a native employee of the governor who is also an assassin.

 

The premise is reasonably believable, however, some of the elements of the plot are not. There were scenes that ranged from the doubtful, like Jack finding out so many years later that Fagin had been killed, to the highly unlikely like the current residents of his old derelict lodgings allowing a known thief and his quiet, black friend to have a night's lodgings out of Christian charity. Sorry but in Victorian England, suspicion of such a pair would be too high to invite them into your home for the night and the building in question would probably have been uninhabitable and torn down long since!

 

The icing on the cake of unbelievability though, was later in the book when Jack meets up with all his old friends, Fagin's boys. I guess the author missed the part of Oliver Twist at the end where all the boys died of drink. Still, the reformation of Charley Bates was handled very well so at least that consistency with the book was carried forward.

 

Despite these problems with the plot, the story was told well and I did enjoy it, though it got a little slow in the middle. There is a sequel to this sequel which suggests to me that it could become an ongoing series, but I have mixed feelings about it. Judging from the sample of Dodger of the Dials, it looks like it will be much the same in that the character is well depicted, but what he does goes in directions that don't ring true.

 

Overall I enjoyed the read, but felt like it could have been done better.

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review 2020-04-20 15:27
Dodger Down Under
Dodger - Down Under: The Further Adventures of the Artful Dodger 1827-1832 - David Weston

David Weston

After reading several samples of Artful Dodger books, I decided I liked the voice and writing on this one and bought it. I got quickly caught up and continued to enjoy it.

 

I did think the author tried too hard to work in recognized Dickens characters and associations and some of the dates and terms that don't fit the era or were too American (like washcloth, cracked jokes, etc.) don't quite add up, but I let these things slide because the story itself held my attention and I really enjoyed reading it.

 

The premise takes up where Oliver Twist left off, with Dodger getting shipped to Australia. His adventures aboard ship and after he reaches his destination are what you would expect from the character and the characterization is done well. Belief was strained a little with some of the characters who were also on board because as I said, they just didn't add up. One was from a different decade of the century, another was likely to spend a lot of time where she had last been seen in a mental hospital and the recovery was too miraculous to accept. This continued almost to the end where more familiar names turn up and the Theatre Royal in Sydney is being planned in 1832 when it actually opened in 1827, but nevermind. I think the story would have been better without shoehorning other Dickens characters in.

 

Other things that bothered me were the reference to half a year to make the voyage when prison ships typically took about 70 days and a failure to notice the complete change of season after crossing the Equator.

 

The new characters who were introduced were very well defined and were a big part of what kept the story so interesting. There were allies who garnered the reader's sympathy and enemies I really wanted to see get their comeuppance, and in the middle of it all the winsome little pickpocket lad who continues to fascinate both readers and writers well into the twenty-first century.

 

One of the themes of the story is about Dodger looking for his father in Australia. I felt this was handled well, especially with typical Dickensian coincidence giving him an essential lead!

There was an overlong sequence about the game Cricket that will have lost anyone not familiar with the game, and some who are. What puzzled me is that the author is English, yet he kept referring to a match as a game like an American. Whether he has lived in the USA for a lot of years or intentionally wrote in American English I don't know, but it definitely grated on me when reading on this subject.

 

Despite that, I really did enjoy the story. The ending was too abrupt and indicated a sequel, but apart from that, the loose ends did get tied up and the journey was worth the effort.

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review 2020-04-20 15:18
The Dead Secret
The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins

by Wilkie Collins

 

A woman dies in childbirth, leaving a mysterious letter for her husband in the hands of her maid. The first part of the story established a mystery; what was in the letter? Why is the maid reluctant to give it to the husband as instructed? I found myself quickly caught up and really wondering what the secret was all about and whether it had anything to do with the newborn child.

 

In part two, we skip ahead fifteen years and like many Victorian novels, it's like starting the story over with all different characters. It took me a couple of chapters to get into this new phase of the tale. There is a lot of dialogue and situations that seem unrelated to the mysterious opening, until suddenly at the end of a section a connection is made.

 

I seldom read Mystery stories because not knowing drives me up a wall, but this one grabbed me before I realized that's what it is. The book is separated into six sections and mystery upon mystery builds up, I want to know what's going on!

 

I did guess the nature of the mysterious letter before the end, but there were some surprising details that made it far more interesting than I had anticipated. As Victorian stories go, it was very much a thing of its time and even had outdated spellings on a few words. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy that period or anyone who likes a Mystery.

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url 2020-04-09 18:02
There Might Be Cupcakes Podcast: Episode 59: Commingled Gloom and Grandeur
The Complete Stories and Poems - Edgar Allan Poe

In which I read a lesser-known short-story of Edgar Allan Poe's: "The Oval Portrait".

 

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