Thursday, December 26, 2019

12 Days at Bleakly Manor - by Michelle Griep: Book Review

Title: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Series: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
Pages: 192
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Release Date: September 1st 2017
Genre: Christmas, Fantasy
Format: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:
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

This is a Christian Christmastime romance. If any of these three words is not what you want your novel to be about, move on, this is not for you.
This is the love story of a man who's apparently Christian because at the very end he prays to God for help after throughout the events of the novel he didn't even mention God. I need to add that this man is handsome and broadshouldered, despite coming from middle/upper class, and therefore hasn't worked that much physically in his life. His name is Benjamin Lane, but we'll call him Ben. It's also the story of a woman who's lost her status because the men in her life are unwise and she's the victim. This woman is rather short, but beautiful, and her height makes is so that she perfectly fits into the man's embrace. Her name is Clara Chapman. Of course the two share a history, and they will end up patching this back together and declaring their love for one another. But how will they get there?

Despite my salty tone, this is a sweet story, perfect for a lazy winter afternoon or a train ride, as it was the case for me. It read like a mystery novel that reminded me of Agatha Christie. I enjoyed the glimpses in the past and the not too preachy Christian tone, as some novels of this type tend to have. The collection of characters gathered at the Manor is interesting, and I had the impression that there was something ominous looming over the house. 

The plot is rather simple, but it creates enough mystery and suspence to keep you reading. I must admit there are still moments when I think about this novel, probably because I don't read a lot of Christian novels, and this one is different from what I've read so far.

It's the perfect read for those looking for a novel set around Christmas time, and told from a Christian point of view. Of course the cheesyness specific to this genre is there, but if this doesn't bother you, you might give it a try. 


I received a free e-book copy from the publisher via Net Galley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

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