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Search tags: michelle-griep
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review 2018-12-14 16:09
12 Days at Bleakley Manor / Michelle Griep
12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas - Michelle Griep

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they've been striving for isn't what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

A sweet Christmas story, easily read in one evening. It’s a combination of historical fantasy, Gothic romance, and mystery story, set in a big ole English edifice, Bleakly Manor. Me thinks it owes a bit to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, as a number of people are anonymously invited to the Manor for the 12 Days of Christmas with promises of rewards should they stay the full 12 days. Their host is not in evidence and the rules quickly change: only one guest will get the reward, the person who makes it to the 12th day. Things quickly begin to happen, eliminating guests by choice & by happenstance.

The Gothic romance aspect involves the two main characters, Clara Chapman and her former fiancé Benjamin Lane. Clara considers herself abandoned at the altar and left penniless. Ben has to be rescued from prison, where he has been merely surviving, wondering why Clara hasn’t come looking for him. The mystery includes deducing who has done this to them and why. Clara is your classic Gothic heroine, orphaned, poor, and separated from her love by a grave problem.

There are interesting details involving the Victorian celebration of Christmas and a seasonally appropriate message about caring for others and the nature of love.

If you’re looking for a cozy Christmas mystery, you could do much worse that 12 Days at Bleakly Manor.

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review 2018-10-28 01:00
Zany overload
Out of the Frying Pan - A cozy little romance ... with murder on the side. - Kelly Klepfer,Michelle Griep

 

The myriad of crime novels she’d read had surely trained her for a moment like this. Author Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta dug into every murder she encountered. She’d never leave a crime scene. Fern squared her shoulders.

 

The cover should say cozy mystery with zany amateur sleuths and a little romance on the side instead of the other way around, this was about 90% zany amateur sleuthing with 10% romance. 

 

Zula and Fern are sisters who find a dead body in their little retirement community and set-out to find the killer. Fern suspects Black Widow Bob, Zula's intended beau and Zula suspects overly suave Phillipe, Fern's intended beau. Detective Jared is sent in to solve the case and Fern and Zula decide he would make a fantastic life long partner for their niece. Little do they know, their niece KC and Jared had met online, developed a close online relationship but KC broke it off when she thought she meet a great guy in real life. 

 

As you can imagine, misunderstandings, white lies, zany interactions, official and not official investigating, and some actual danger fill out the story. Jared and KC don't actually meet in person until around the 50% (the coincidence of it all was thisclose to being too much for me), I would definitely say this story is centered on Fern and Zula as you'll follow them around for the vast majority of the time. 

 

I'm not big on zany stuff, breaking into someone's home and snooping around because you think they are a murderer only to be caught because the little dog with you lets out a yelp/screech/bark, just isn't in my funny wheelhouse but if it's your thing, this story is chalk full of scenes and instances like that.

 

The eventual unwinding of the mystery and who was guilty seemed overly convoluted and extremely rushed at the end. This story was strong on Fern and Zula running around being zany and not so much on solid mystery plot thread, or maybe the this is who is guilty dump at the end disappointed me enough to not think it was worth wading through all the zany.

 

This is also a Christian book but wasn't overhanded with it, the beginning mentions it, the middle ignores any heavy tones, and the end brushes broad strokes over certain characters at the end. 

 

The coincidences and seemingly adding and connecting of characters made the story seemed haphazardly thrown together. If you're wanting to read a story with two retirement members running around being zany and quite possibly causing more harm than good with a pinch of clean romance, this will more than fill your zany tank.

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review 2018-05-30 00:49
Take Every Thought Captive
The Captured Bride - Griep, Michelle

Each installment of The Daughters of the Mayflower series proves to be better than the last. In this third installment in the series, Michelle Griep takes readers on a thrilling journey into the wilderness of New York in 1759, during the height of the French and Indian War. Mercy Lytton, the protagonist, descends from the Plymouth pilgrim couple whose story opened the series, but her father was a Mohawk chieftain. Raised in that tribe, Mercy is a very independent and feisty woman with a gift of keen eyesight, which has enabled her to become a scout. Her latest mission involves working alongside a condemned traitor to transport a shipment of gold, and that is when the danger truly begins.

“The Captured Bride” is written in a very engaging and captivating manner, with quaint language that makes use of terms now mostly obsolete but entertaining, such as “cattywampus.” The characters span the spectrum from good to evil and keep the reader guessing while quiet, inspirational transformations occur. Similar to Griep’s “The Innkeeper’s Daughter”, this novel also features plenty of intrigue and plot twists. Mercy, in particular, is a fascinating character; she challenges female stereotypes and wrestles with her own past and where she belongs: “This was home, this maze of trees and rock. A place where she was master, where the only one she had to be sure about was herself.” Her story evokes cultural richness and both cultural and personal reconciliation in a fashion timely for contemporary society, making this a very pertinent novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

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review 2018-02-24 23:17
The Innkeeper's Daughter by Michelle Griep
The Innkeeper's Daughter - Michelle Griep

What a unique work of Christian historical fiction! With “The Innkeeper’s Daughter”, Michelle Griep crafts a fascinating story that combines romance, suspense, and hardship against the backdrop of Dover in 1808. The dialect immerses the reader in this Regency world, and the realistic challenges and situations which the characters face reinforce this connection. Moral quandaries and tests of faith feature prominently and demonstrate that despite the passage of time, some things do not change. Be it two hundred years in the past or contemporary society, faith and trust in God are essential, especially in trying circumstances.

“The Innkeeper’s Daughter” beautifully illustrates this through the story’s main conflict. Intrigue and adventure flow as a steady undercurrent that swells toward the end of the narrative, with no predictable ending to spoil the ride. The hero, Alexander Moore, accepts a covert assignment to get to the bottom of a deadly conspiracy and lands at the Blue Hedge Inn, which is run by the comely Johanna Langley and her aging mother. Plagued by financial difficulties and concerns for her mother and young brother, Johanna tries to take the world upon her shoulders, trusting in herself above all, as do so many of us today.

Part of what makes this novel so captivating is the quirky and unusual characters. They are unlike any I have come across in other Christian fiction, especially the peripheral characters. Not only do they add depth to the story, but they also offer a perspective on physical disability and mental illness. The villains, who are not always easy to pick out here, are handled cleanly in spite of their actions. Overall, this story reminded me in certain ways of “The Scarlet Pimpernel”. Gambling played a substantial role in the narrative, and this is another example of how Griep’s book proves its distinctiveness. Rather than portraying betting as inherently evil, “The Innkeeper’s Daughter” demonstrates that it can be done honestly as long as you never gamble what you can’t afford to lose. The question becomes how far the characters are willing to go to uphold their convictions and their loyalties.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2017-11-10 20:07
12 Days at Bleakly Manor
12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas - Michelle Griep

<!-- [if lte IE 9]> <![endif]-->Title: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Series: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four
Review:

"12 Day at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep

My Thoughts.....

This was quite a interesting story of Christian historical romance and mystery during 1850's holidays in England. I liked how this author brings to the readers some really intriguing characters during the '12 Days at Bleakly Manor' that had a particular reason for being at this location. Be ready for a fast paced, fun, quirky read with a Gothic and mysterious setting with some great descriptions given and even a little bite of danger.

What happens when Clara Chapman who was once from a well to do family, rejected by her father and later by her fiancé now found to be poor living with her Aunt Deborha receives a cyptic invitation?

"The Twelve Days of Christmas
As never's been reveled
Your presence, Miss Chapman,
Is respectfully hearld.
Bleakly Manor's the place
And after twelve nights
Five hundred pounds
Will be yours by rights."

Who was Benjamin Lane who had been in prison for stealing and is to be deportation to a labor camp from another country. Now what on earth does he have to do with all or this? Well, as the reader continues to read we find that Benjamin believes he was been betrayed by someone he once had loved and that he was also innocent of all of this mess he had been accused of. What will happen when he receives the same invitation to Bleakly Manor that 10 others had received? Now, what will Ben be promised?

Will Clara and Ben [the two main characters] who had some huge misunderstandings be able to work through it all out just be able to come to a better understanding of it all?

I enjoyed how this author was able to bring in the Christian elements [with trust and faith elements] in this very realistic story that will keep you turning the pages to see what was coming next in this story that was of 'second chances and choosing between revenge ad forgiveness.' I did notice that the '12 day of Bleakly Manor 'started on December 24th and ending January 5, 1851 which I thought was somewhat strange but as I was reading I get this idea from the author was done for a particular reason.

This was quite a interesting story after all is said and done. To find all of the answers to the above questions and so much more you will have to pick up this good read that has so many twist to see it's a good story of second chances and redeemed love. This is definitely one of those stories that will keep one guessing until the very end! Even though this novel is around Christmas holiday, I found that it's the kind of read that one can be read at any time of the year.

 
 

 

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