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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Stunning Historical Saga--"The Lacemaker" by Laura Frantz Review

 
 


Wow, what a beautiful story!  I just recently read my first Laura Frantz books and loved them (the first two books in the Ballantyne Legacy).  So I had a feeling I would love this one as well, and I did—so very much!

Ms. Frantz has such a way of writing and describing detail that transports the reader to colonial Williamsburg.  Her setting is so well written that it takes on a life of its own and almost becomes as important a part of the story as the characters.  I don't typically prefer the setting of colonial Williamsburg, but I love it when Ms. Frantz writes about it!  I could feel the tension of a Williamsburg that is on the dawn of Revolution.  She has a way of writing about history so that you learn a lot and still enjoy an amazing story! 

"The Lacemaker" also has characters that the reader will fall in love with.  The two main characters are on opposite sides of the political spectrum when the story begins.  It is fascinating reading from the two different political viewpoints.  I never thought I'd feel sympathy for a Tory, yet I came to see that there are bad guys both among the Patriots and the Loyalists/Tories.  Elizabeth (also called Liberty), is our heroine, who has a strong faith.  Her example of continuing to pray and seek God, even when her world falls apart, is an inspiration to me.  She is even able to find something to be thankful for and thanks God, when everyone has deserted her and she has lost her home.  I also like the cameo appearances and references to men like Patrick Henry and George Washington. 

Ms. Frantz writes an incredible story, one I wish I had had when I was first learning American history.  She makes history come alive.  I came to love the setting and the characters!  This is a must read for lovers of historical fiction, American history and romance!

Content: I would give this book a PG rating for some minor content.  Some examples of the content are: reference to a woman’s daring décolletage, talk of drinking and gambling, a man is drunk, there are almost naked slaves and a brief description of the brutal way they are treated when being auctioned, a reference to the pleasures of marriage as opposed to being celibate and men smoke tobacco.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars!

Genre: Christian Fiction; Historical; Romance.

I want to thank Laura Frantz, LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Revell for the complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255. 

 

 
About the Author:


I was born and raised in Kentucky, living first in Ashland, Mammoth Cave, Bowling Green, and then Lexington. But my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century. I came to know Christ there at the age of 12, was baptized, and spent my childhood roaming through the woods and swimming in the rivers of my books.

My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.

I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. Strangely enough, I only took one creative writing class.

It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I hope my books bless you.

To visit the author's website click here

To purchase the book click here

Monday, January 15, 2018

"A Song Unheard" by Roseanna White Blog Tour (Review) & GIVEAWAY!

a song unheard fb banner copy
 

About the Book

SongUnheard
Title: A Song Unheard
Author: Roseanna M. White
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Click here to purchase your copy!
 
My Review
 

“A Song Unheard” by Roseanna White is a masterpiece!  This book is the second book in the “Shadows over England” series, but it can be read as a standalone. 

Ms. White’s writing is lyrical.  She crafts her own song through storytelling.  This story is filled to the brim with so much to love!  There is danger, mystery, spies and romance.  There is also a lot of faith content.  And one must not forget the music!  Ms. White obviously knows a lot about music and the violin.  The music lover in me loved reading about the characters—their passion for music and how they experience it. 

The characters are so well written in this book!  They are real and very relatable.  I love Willa’s (our heroine) stubbornness, even though it is sometimes to her detriment.  Willa thinks she’s never enough, making it hard for her to accept God’s love.  Our hero, Lukas, goes through a faith journey.  He begins as a ladies’ man, but later starts to pray and talk to God.  Ms. White has her characters grapple with hard questions of faith, the existence of God, war, and whether it’s okay to lie for a greater cause.

“A Song Unheard” is akin to a beautiful symphony.  I love the overall message of using the gifts God has given us and not hiding them from the world.  Ms. White hits all the right notes with this one!

Content: This is a clean read, besides a couple of minor things.  Some examples are: talk of a man possibly getting a girl in a compromising position, a character thinks of “choice words,” a character mutters a “near-curse” and a curse which isn’t written.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars!

Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction; Romance

I want to thank Roseanna White, Bethany House Publishers, Celebrate Lit and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

 

 

About the Author


Roseanna White 2017Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.


Guest post from Roseanna White


I started playing the piano when I was 7. I didn’t discover any long-dormant genius or anything, but I liked it. When my sister quit, I kept playing. In middle school, I switched teachers, and moving from the lady at my church that I knew so well to someone who was just my piano teacher made a difference in how I applied myself. It deepened my love of music.

We all know how some random moments stand out forever in our memory. One such for me happened on the school bus. I was sitting with my best friend, talking about the new piano piece I was learning. “Via Delorosa” means Road of Sorrow, and it’s a song that tells musically about Jesus’ journey to Golgotha—ending with the faint chime of the nails being driven into his palms. As my beloved Mrs. Peto went through this song with me the night before, I remember her circling a D♯ that I’d missed and saying how important that note was. That it made the whole line weep.

That it would make the hearers weep. An epiphany so huge I had to share it with my friend. A well placed sharp could make music weep! Who knew?

That was but one lesson Mrs. Peto taught me in how music could evoke things words never could. A woman of strong faith, she also taught me how a song could preach the Gospel. Music can be medicine. It can be hope. It can be tears. It can be truth. Music can be Jesus to a hurting heart that turns its back on words.

This is a lesson I never forgot, and I had it always in mind as I was writing A Song Unheard. In this story, both my hero and heroine are musicians—violinists. But Willa (who is SO STUBBORN) wouldn’t listen to words of faith from any of the people in her life “suddenly spouting such nonsense.”

But then, in her darkest hour, she hears a slip of melody. And she realizes it’s the Lord.

I pray as readers move through the story of Willa Forsythe—violin prodigy and top-notch thief—that their spirits’ ears hear more than words, more than just a story. I pray they hear the Lord whispering that ultimate song. The one that says, “I love you.”

Want to hear the song Willa eventually wrote in the book? You can! The violin music in this trailer is officially dubbed “Willa’s Song” and written specifically for this book. I hope you enjoy it! http://bit.ly/ASongUnheardTrailer

Blog Stops

 
Fiction Aficionado, January 11
Genesis 5020, January 11
Bookworm Mama, January 11
Blogging With Carol, January 12
Multifarious, January 12
Faithfully Bookish, January 13
Karen Sue Hadley, January 13
Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
Remembrancy, January 14
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
A Reader’s Brain, January 15
Cordially Barbara, January 15
Pursuing Stacie, January 15
Bigreadersite, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Baker Kella, January 17
allofakindmom, January 18
Pause for Tales, January 19
Just Commonly, January 19
Radiant Light, January 20
The Power of Words , January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24
 

Giveaway

 
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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!
 
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c72a

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Heartwarming Story Set in a Quaint English Village--"The Ladies of Ivy Cottage" by Julie Klassen Review

 
 

Julie Klassen is an "auto-buy" author for me.  She is one of my favorite authors and I've read all of her books.  Her newest book, "The Ladies of Ivy Cottage," lived up to the expectations I have of a Julie Klassen book! 

This book is the second book in the "Tales from Ivy Hill" series.  It can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the series in order, as there is a lot of backstory one would miss if they read out of order.  Ms. Klassen does have a helpful website dedicated to the series, complete with a map and list of characters (http://talesfromivyhill.com/).  It was hard at first to remember all of the characters and their backstories, but Ms. Klassen does a good job of refreshing the reader's memory.  Once I saw her post about this website devoted to Ivy Hill, the character list helped me out a lot as well!  I got to know all of these characters again, I fell in love with them and felt like they were my friends and neighbors. 

This series overall is very reminiscent of the TV series "Lark Rise to Candleford."  Everyone in the village of Ivy Hill knows one another, helps each other out and knows everyone's "business."   As a former librarian and a book lover, I found it delightful to read about one of our main characters, Rachel, establishing and running a lending library.  I also love that some of the characters pray and recall Scripture. 

Ivy Hill is an old, quaint English village with a plethora of characters, many of which you will fall in love with.  This book gives one a warm, cozy feeling.  There is even some mystery thrown in.  "The Ladies of Ivy Cottage” has it all and I highly recommend it! 

Content: This is a clean read.  I would give it a PG rating for a few minor things.  Some examples are: a character mutters a swear word but the word is not actually used; mention of a woman's bosom, mention of a dalliance and a child born out of wedlock; use of the word “prostitute;” talk of a woman being a man's mistress; talk of stillbirths and miscarriages; talk of sharing a bed.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

Genre:  Christian Fiction; Historical; Regency; Romance

I want to thank Julie Klassen and Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


About the Author:

I love all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, I worked in publishing for sixteen years and now write full time. Three of my books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park won the Minnesota Book Award, and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards. I have also been honored with the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. I enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

To visit Julie Klassen's website click here

To purchase the book click here



Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Charming Regency Romance--"A Mother for His Family" by Susanne Dietze Review




"A Mother for His Family" by Susanne Dietze is a sweet and charming read, packed with faith content!  This book came at the perfect time for me.  After reading some emotionally heavy books on and around Christmas, it was so good to pick up a more lighthearted book.

I love Ms. Dietze's writing style!  "A Mother for His Family" is written with engaging prose and gives the reader a fast paced story.  Being a lover of all things Scottish, I was delighted that this story mostly takes place in Scotland.  It's filled with delightful details about Scotland and the culture.  What's not to like about a hero with a Scottish accent, aye?

Although I said this was a happier read for me, it's not an altogether fluffy read.  It is full of great spiritual truths and content!  There is a lot of prayer, Bible reading, and talking to God.  The author does not shy away from dealing with issues such as rape, but it is dealt with in such a way as it isn't something the reader is thinking about all the time and nothing is described in detail.

The overall messages in this book are ones that every woman and girl should learn--about who you are in Christ, how God delights in us and how we can't earn God's love.  Well done Ms. Dietze; I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

Content: This is a clean read, but I would give it a PG rating due to some of the delicate issues.  There is talk of a woman giving herself to a man before she's married.  There is mention of a man forcing himself upon a woman (nothing described in detail, but a character deals with the after effects of rape).  A minister speaks of the fruits of marriage.  A character used laudanum to mentally escape.

 Rating: I give this book 4.5 stars.

 Genre: Christian Fiction; Romance; Regency

I want to thank Susanne Dietze, Love Inspired Historical and Harlequin for the complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255



About the Author: Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the author of several historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her at: Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

To purchase this book click here

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Beautiful Coming of Age Story--"The Crooked Path" by Irma Joubert Review




"The Crooked Path" by Irma Joubert is a book I knew nothing about.  I don't normally like books that take place around the World Wars, as I'm more of a "happily ever after" type of person and books about the Wars are often too realistic and hard to read emotionally.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book!

From the moment you read the first few pages, you can tell Ms. Joubert is a wordsmith.  Her writing style is top notch and flows well, making it easy to read.  The setting in this book is unique--South Africa and Italy during the World War II era.  I appreciate how Ms. Joubert incorporates a lot from the cultures of the places she writes about.  She obviously did a lot of research. 

There are a lot of great themes in this book, such as self-esteem, loss, death, chronic illness and the path we travel in life.  There is some faith content, but I would have liked more.  Overall, the book is a little too sad for me and some of the parts were so well written that I had to disengage so I didn't become depressed.  This is not a fluffy read.  I appreciate books that deal with such issues and themes, but they are not my favorite to read.  Like I said before, I do truly appreciate the writing style and the lessons that are incorporated into this story!

Content:  I would give this book a PG rating.  There is a girl asking how people get pregnant and if there's a way to not be pregnant.  A guy notices a woman's curves.  A guy and a girl who are not married sleep under the same blanket, but nothing happens.  The word "hellhole" is used.  There are harsh conditions described in concentration camps.  A married couple is in bed talking without any clothes on.  Babies are born out of wedlock.  A character wants an abortion.  Characters drink alcohol. 

Rating:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

Genre: Christian Fiction; Historical Fiction; Romance

I want to thank Irma Joubert, Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild for the complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.



About the Author:

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She's the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

To purchase this book click here

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel by a Gentleman Volume I" by Collins Hemingway Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!

 

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel by a Gentleman Volume I
by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: June 20, 2015
AuthorHouse
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
 
Everyone should marry once for love – Even Jane Austen
 
Jane Austen, single and seemingly comfortable in the role of clergyman’s daughter and aspiring writer in the early 1800s, tells friends and family to hold out for true affection in any prospective relationship. Everybody, she says, has a right to marry once in their lives for love.
 
But when, after a series of disappointing relationships, the prospect of true love arrives for her, will she have the courage to act? The Marriage of Miss Jane AUsten re-imagines the life of England’s archetypal female by exploring what might have happened if she had ever married. It shows how a meaningful, caring relationship would have changed her as a person and a writer.
 
It also takes her beyond England’s tranquil country villages and plunges her info what the Regency era was really about: great explorations and scientific advances, political foment, and an unceasing, bloody war.
 
In such times, can love—can marriage—triumph?
 

Amazon | Austen Books | Barnes and Noble

 

Praise

 
“What if Austen, who penned so many classic love stories, found her own romantic match? Ashton Dennis fits right into the Austen universe, while this Jane remains true to life, an intelligent and determined young woman. The writing is Austen-ian, and Hemingway has a talent for witty banter and wry observations that would make Elizabeth Bennet proud. An enjoyable first novel in an imaginative, well-researched series.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A skillful portrayal of a … literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … Insight and intuition, along with meticulous research, have created a believable version of her character in this tender story of Ashton and Jane. … Excellent character development enhances the plausibility of the scenario. Background, motivation, eccentricity—everything that constitutes a personality allow these fascinating people to step off the pages in lifelike form.” —Julia Ann Charpentier, Foreword CLARION Reviews, 4 stars
 
“All readers of Jane Austen wonder what Jane’s life might have been like had she married, or had money. The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen explores these intriguing possibilities. It also depicts Austen in a rapidly changing world, connecting her to important aspects of the era-war, slavery, indistralization, and new modes of travel. Heminghway’s book raises many ‘what if’s’ in his thoughtful and thought-provoking portrayal of Jane Austen falling in love.” -Susannah Fullerton, author of A Dance with Jane Austen and Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
 
“[An] engaging and remarkably convincing romance. … Wry, observant, laconic—much like Jane Austen herself, without ever dipping into pastiche or mimicry. … Hemingway, with the lightest touch, builds up a thoroughly convincing alternative history for Jane. … [A] thoughtful re-imagining of Austen’s love life.” —Joceline Bury, Jane Austen’s Regency World
 
 

About the Author

 
 
Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.
 
As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.
 
Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.
 
Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.
 
Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.
 
For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.
 

Blog Tour Schedule

 
Monday, December 4
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, December 5
Guest Post at The Writing Desk
Wednesday, December 6
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Thursday, December 7
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Friday, December 8
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Adventures Thru Wonderland
Sunday, December 10
Review at Clarissa Reads it All
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings
Monday, December 11
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Tuesday, December 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Wednesday, December 13
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Saturday, December 16
Interview & Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Monday, December 18
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, December 20 Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Feature at A Literary Vacation
Friday, December 22 Feature at The Reading Queen
Wednesday, December 27 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, December 29 Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, January 2 Feature at Broken Teepee
Thursday, January 4 Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Excerpt at Books of All Kinds
Friday, January 5 Review at Birdhouse Books
Monday, January 8 Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
Wednesday, January 10 Review at Singing Librarian Books
Review at WS Momma Readers Nook
Thursday, January 11 Review at What Cathy Read Next
Friday, January 12 Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
 
 

Giveaway

 
 
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen! To enter, please enter via the link below.
 
Giveaway Rules
 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


 Direct Link to GIVEAWAY: https://gleam.io/uOcgl/the-marriage-of-miss-jane-austen


Thursday, December 14, 2017

"12 Days at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY!


Bleakly Manor COVERAbout the Book


Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

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, 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.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Review

Prepare yourself to be highly entertained by this delightful book!  "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep is the first book in the "Once Upon a Dickens Christmas" series.  Ms. Griep fills her story with danger and mystery, leaving the reader guessing as to what will happen next! 

"12 Days at Bleakly Manor" is a mix of Charles Dickens's "Bleak House", Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None", and pure genius.  I love BBC's version of "Bleak House", so I was excited to pick this book up.  I've never read "And Then There Were None", but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having read the book.  It was fun for me to pick up the "Bleak House" nods throughout the story.  Ms. Griep reminds me of Dickens in the way that she shows and describes the conditions of prisons, the plight of the poor in Victorian England and the unfair and corrupt justice system. 

This story is a fast-paced read with amazing characters and a gothic, mysterious setting.  Ms. Griep employs great descriptions and word pictures.  There is a darker side to the goings-on at Bleakly Manor.  I appreciate how Ms. Griep gives the readers a helpful list and description (at the back of the book) of the Victorian Christmas traditions that are mentioned in the story.   

If you think the people at your Christmas get-togethers are crazy, check out this group at Bleakly Manor!  Some of the characters have very funny and weird idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, which makes the story all the more interesting.  With everything going on in the house and mystery looming everywhere, can the characters trust that God is in control? 

"12 Days at Bleakly Manor" is a novel of second chances and choosing between revenge and forgiveness.  There is a theme of trust and a strong faith element.  I very much enjoyed this book!

Content: This is a clean read.  There is a scene where a man is in prison and the conditions are described vividly, which might make sensitive readers uncomfortable.  It also mentions that a character swears, but the word is not actually used.

Rating:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

Genre: Christian historical fiction; Victorian England; Mystery

I want to thank Michelle Griep, Shiloh Run Press and Barbour Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

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About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

 

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY

Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS

“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES

Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS

Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.

And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.

And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

 

By The Book, December 14
Bukwurmzzz, December 14
Faery Tales Are Real, December 14
A Reader’s Brain, December 15
Have A Wonderful Day, December 15
Texas Book-aholic, December 16
Carpe Diem, December 16
Cafinated Reads, December 16
Just the Write Escape, December 17
A Greater Yes, December 17
Remembrancy, December 17
Allofakindmom, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18
amandainpa, December 19
Kat’s Corner Books, December 19
Mommynificent, December 19
Bookworm Mama, December 20
Vicky Sluiter, December 20
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)
My Writer’s Life, December 23
Janices book reviews, December 23
For The Love of Books, December 23
Red Headed Book Lady, December 25
Bibliophile Reviews, December 26
Blogging With Carol,December 26
Mary Hake, December 26
 

Giveaway

 
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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!
 
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8