Winner of the Gift Cards: The winner of the $25 Baker Bookhouse gift card from the Class of 2021 post giveaway, is Amy (amy****9@****.com)! Congratulations! Please check your email! The winner of the $15 Get the Word Out Giveaway is sweets (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please check your email!
The Thief of Blackfriars Lane
by Michelle Griep
Y’all, this book. I finally was able to step away from responsibilities long enough to finish it. You have to buy a copy. It is the perfect delicious mix of danger, mystery, history, romance, and God’s perfect love. I have long been a “super-fan” of Michelle Griep, and guys it was such a blessed relief to sink into another one of her amazing stories. No matter how crazy the world turns, I can always count on her books to leave me satisfied and hopeful. This one was no different. You don’t want to miss her way with words and ability to transport you back in time. I seriously want to write like her one day.
Genre:Historical Romance, April 1885, City of London, England
There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.
What I loved: I probably shouldn’t put everything. I think what sets a Michelle Griep book apart from any other is her complete ability to sink you into the world and character. I absolutely loved running around City of London with two fantastic, unique, strong characters. It is a story I intend to go back and study the “how she did it” aspect after I finish my rough draft of book two.
Favorite Character and Why: Jackson and Kit were such an amazing pair. Jackson wasn’t my typical hero type at first, but I really grew to love and respect him. He really does have a heart of gold. And Kit. Wow! What a woman to grow up on the streets and become who and what she was in the story. I loved them both individually and together.
Who would like this? Those who have a love of gothic type mysteries, Victorian romances filled with danger, love, and hope.
Rating and Why: Five stars. It was such an exciting adventure with imagery, emotions, and characters I want to revisit over and over and over again.
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. The above opinions are my own and are in no way influenced.* (And yes, I even purchased my own extra copy. I always do with a Michelle Griep book.)
The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep
This has been one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written and thus will be a little different than normal.
I have been a long-time fanatical fan of Michelle Griep and couldn’t wait to read this book. However, when I received it, I discovered she’d changed up her writing style, which for most people doesn’t matter, but for me made it impossible to fully enjoy. The heroine is written in first person present. I struggle with first-person in general, add in the present tense, and no matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t sink into the story. I spent several months revisiting and retrying, but in the end, I just gave up.
If first person present doesn’t bother you, this story will be another one of Michelle Griep’s great reads. Her depth of character, storyline, and spiritual aspect seemed spot on. (I did skim through the story to get an idea of the plot and understand all the praise that was being given for it.) I will always recommend Michelle Griep’s books, and she will remain my favorite author as far as her previous books go, and I will keep watching her new releases in hopes of the day she returns to the third person style I loved.
Because I bought an extra copy beside my ARC, I am doing a giveaway of the extra print copy so that you might have the chance to read the book and enjoy it. Just because it wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean you won’t love it. 🙂 To enter, you must be a contiguous United States resident, leave a comment here on the blog (see the question below), and provide your email. I recommend using this format: name (at) someplace (dot) com. This giveaway will end Sunday, September 13th at midnight Eastern Standard Time. Winner will be announced on Tuesday’s blog post and contacted by email. 🙂
I apologize to my international readers, I promise another give away will be coming soon that will open to you as well.
ANSWER: What has been your favorite read this year? (Don’t forget to include your email.)
The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep
What Can a London Opera Star and an Escaped Dartmoor Prisoner Have in Common?
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.
I just absolutely love the books Joanna Davidson Politano writes. She is truly the only first person POV author I can count on to pull me in and never let me go. Her latest release is no different for me in that regard. Though life was busy and I had to rely on taking sips of the story in the car rides in between picking up and dropping kids off, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, the audio was so great, when hubby and I finally had a couple hours alone with nothing to do, I read the print copy as I listened to the audio while cuddled up against my hubby. TV shows just have no appeal when you can be reading one of Joanna’s books. Her lovely complexity of writing and keeping the reader guessing is well displayed and I loved following the mystery of it all. It’s definitely one I recommend and will be giving copies away at Christmas.
Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian England
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
What I loved: Finding Lady Enderly is a multilayered story. I love the mystery behind the story, the twists revealed, and the spiritual parallels which can be drawn. And who of course doesn’t love Sully? The poor man just wants to love and keep this stubborn woman safe. I’m sure my husband can relate to Sully. I’m always getting into trouble.
Favorite Character and Why: I really love Raina. You understand her struggle and fears, as well as get to grow with her. She really as a beautiful growth arc. And I can’t not mention Sully. The man is the sweetest thing, and hearing his voice on the audio? I still hear his swoony accent in my head.
Who would like this? If you love mystery, subtle romance, and literary connections, you’ll love this book. The way Sully and Raina communicate is absolutely amazing. It makes me want to sneak one of my husband’s books away, mark a page, and underline something to say him.
Of course, he reads ebooks, and the print books aren’t exactly romance, so sigh. I guess I probably shouldn’t underline the threats of death. Not unless, he forgets to pick up the dirty laundry again. 😉
Rating and Why: Five stars. I really love the way you just get swept into the story into another time and place. It doesn’t even feel like you are reading first person, which is an amazing accomplishment in my opinion.
Each novella in this collection has been released yearly, with the newest one being released in a collection containing all three. Since I have already reviewed 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts, I will focus this review on the third story, The Old Lace Shop.
While the first two stories are written in typical Michelle Griep style, The Old Lace Shop is written in first person present. Since this is the least favorite of my reading styles preferences, I’ll admit it took a little longer than normal to lose myself in the story as I adjusted. Even so, I enjoyed the story itself immensely.
I loved how it felt like an echo of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell–available as a BBC miniseries that has usurped Pride and Prejudice as my favorite. (Sorry Mr. Darcy lovers. Mr. Thornton has won my heart, even if his changes are more subtle.)
The Old Lace Shop Blurb
Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.
– Blurb from Amazon.com
What I loved: My favorite part of it was all the little nods to North and South. (At least, I connected them with the book/TV miniseries.) I love seeing a picture of life in the lace mills of Northern Victorian England, and all the social aspects that play into that.
Favorite Character: This is a toughie. Edmund reminds me so much of Mr. Thornton, the imperfect hero. I also dearly love Flora. I beautiful little girl, full of character.
Who would like this: Anyone who enjoys first person perspectives, second chance romances, fans of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, and those who love a historical peek at industrial Victorian England.
Rating and Why: I gave this a four star rating. The collection has a great set of stories. The first person perspective in the last story was such a deviation from my expectation and comfort level that it actually detracted from the story for me, even though I still enjoyed it. The collection is still one I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of Michelle Griep and Victorian England.
You can purchase your copy at the following retailers:
This week I decided to share my comfort reads, the books I run to when I just want something familiar and comfortable. What is your favorite comfort book?
In no particular order, here are my top ten favorites to re-read:
Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep – Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
A Cross-Country Trip through Regency England Brings Intrigue, Rogues, and High Adventure
The must-read conclusion to Michelle Griep’s Bow Street Runners Trilogy
The Hawk and the Jewel by Lori Wick – Everyone thought little Sunny had perished with Lady Gallagher in storm-tossed seas off the Arabian coast, but the beautiful toddler had been found, taken to the palace of Darhabar, and raised as the ruler’s own child. Now the emir, Ahmad Khan, is sending her home, and Sunny’s uncertain, new life is completely in God’s hands.
The Knight and the Dove by Lori Wick – When the king commands Bracken to marry, high-spirited Megan is chosen to fulfill the edict. Unskilled in the ways of love, Bracken finds Megan captivating, yet cannot seem to voice his feelings until he almost loses her forever.
A Rumored Fortuneby Joanna Davidson Politano – Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.
When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke – Elizabeth, the cultured young schoolteacher from the East, has braved the western frontier and spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. Now she and Wynn are planning their wedding and their new life together at his outpost in the far north. While Wynn is accustomed to life in the north, Elizabeth is not. Can their love for each other sustain them through a harsh winter, loneliness, and rigors of life without any of the conveniences they’re used to?
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Seven Brides for Seven Texans – Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?
No One Is Too Tough to be Loved Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.
Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake – When “Big Tim” Creighton spies the mincing fop headed toward Forsaken Ranch, he is appalled. Thankful his boss isn’t around to witness the arrival of his kin, Tim decides he’ll turn “Fancy Pants” Hathwell into a man worthy of respect. Lady Sydney Hathwell never intended to don men’s attire, but when her uncle mistakenly assumed she was a male, the answer to her problems seemed clear. When her deception is exposed, will she be forced to abandon her hopes for family…and true love?
And a bonus…
Plots and Pans by Kelly Eileen Hake – The ability to follow orders—his orders—is the #1 job requirement for anybody joining cowboy Tucker Carmichael’s cattle drive. He knows that on the Chisholm Trail a moment’s hesitation can mean death. So when his partner’s headstrong sister, Jessalyn, joins their team as chuck wagon cook, sparks start to fly! Is God “stirring up” romance?
Hello fellow bookies! I’m traveling the country in an RV with my family this month, so I thought I’d make it easy on myself and do book lists with various topics this month, and first up is CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!!
It seems everyone has their own version of Christmas in July, and I figured why not? Some of these I have reviewed and the links are included, and some are just on my TBR pile. Links to those lead to Amazon. If you have a favorite, list it in the comments so I can add it to my TBR pile!
London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn. William’s bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. William asks Mina to be his pretend bride. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.
A Match of Sorts by Lucette Nel – As Christmas approaches, widowed Reverend Caleb Brennan needs a wife, or his vengeful father-in-law will take his young daughters. Bounty hunter Grace Blackwell refuses to owe a debt to any man, especially one as charming as Reverend Brennan. To repay him for saving her life, Grace agrees to pose as his mail-order bride. If their ploy is discovered, Caleb could lose his daughters. But in their pretense, the reverend and the bounty hunter might just both lose their hearts.
The Widow’s Captive by Lucette Nel – On the run with two small children and a third due within weeks, Adeline Spencer seeks refuge in an abandoned cabin. Sheriff Jonah Hale is determined to prove himself worthy of his badge, even if it means riding into a blizzard to check on a crazy miner. When Jonah reaches the cabin, he’s caught off guard by a pretty and very pregnant young woman wielding a skillet. Bound to a chair while the storm rages, and as Christmas settles in around them, he must find a way to earn Adeline’s trust…and perhaps her heart.
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection – Enter the heartland of historical America at Christmastime through twelve inspiring romance novellas from acclaimed Christian authors. Meet Alma, Lucy, Esther, Marilee, Polly, Deborah, Annabelle, Sophie, Maddie, Karen, Arabella, and Kate who are surprised by how God brings them the desires of their hearts. Watch as faith, romance, and heartfelt gifts open each of their hearts to love.
3 Talented Seamstresses, 3 Christmas Romances Return to Christmases of yesteryear with three seamstresses who use their talents to succeed in the late 1800s. But can love also be stitched into their lives?
A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs – As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.
Siblings forge new paths and find love in three stories filled with the wonder of Christmas. Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.