“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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.

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…


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.


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.


“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 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 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


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


  1. Hi Trisha! For some reason your comment isn't showing up on my blog, but I got an email saying you commented. Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so glad you liked it too! It is fantastic!

  2. Sorry, just one comment here. The Guest post says Prince Albert was 'Queen Elizabeth's husband' Shouldn't that been 'Queen Victoria's husband'. Elizabeth I never married, and Elizabeth II's husband is Prince Philiip.

    1. Hi, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I did not write the guest post, but I'm sure it was just a typo. You could always let Celebrate Lit know. Thanks for pointing that out though.