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Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England

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Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep: 12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep   Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:   12 Days a Bleakly Manor: 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.   A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?   The Old Lace Shop: 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.  


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Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep: 12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep   Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:   12 Days a Bleakly Manor: 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.   A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?   The Old Lace Shop: 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.  

30 review for Once Upon a Dickens Christmas: 3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    I love a good Victorian read, especially anything that is Dickensesque (Charles Dickens), and also especially if it's by Michelle Griep. She's become an instant must read author for me! Anytime I see that she has a new book out I can't wait to grab a copy and devour it! This collection has two books that were previously published in this series. The last book is the third book in this series and the new book. So if you have already read the first two books, you will be excited to have the next I love a good Victorian read, especially anything that is Dickensesque (Charles Dickens), and also especially if it's by Michelle Griep. She's become an instant must read author for me! Anytime I see that she has a new book out I can't wait to grab a copy and devour it! This collection has two books that were previously published in this series. The last book is the third book in this series and the new book. So if you have already read the first two books, you will be excited to have the next book available to read. And, I have to say that I think it's my favorite of the three! It was so good! If you haven't read any of these books, then you're in for a treat! All three books in the series in one lovely book (I love the cover)! Each can be read as a stand alone or in order, however you choose. Click the links for my individual reviews if you're interested to know what is in store for you (no spoilers)! ~12 Days at Bleakly Manor~ 4* ~ Read my review here. ~A Tale of Two Hearts~ 5* ~ Read my review here. ~ The Old Lace Shop~ 5* ~ Read my review here. Content: See individual reviews for content in each book. I received a copy from the publisher, Shiloh Run Press, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Griep

    What's not to love about Dickens and merry olde England?!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    A spectacular collection of Christmas tales that do Charles Dickens proud. Each novella is infused with holiday warmth and delicious feel-goods. Perfect stories that celebrate the season in traditional style. There's angst aplenty and plot twists galore on the way to three breath-snatching happily ever afters that will make your toes curl. Love the Christmasy familiar Victorian setting and Elizabeth Gaskell flair to these stories. They honestly read as 100 + year old classics! Definitely a A spectacular collection of Christmas tales that do Charles Dickens proud. Each novella is infused with holiday warmth and delicious feel-goods. Perfect stories that celebrate the season in traditional style. There's angst aplenty and plot twists galore on the way to three breath-snatching happily ever afters that will make your toes curl. Love the Christmasy familiar Victorian setting and Elizabeth Gaskell flair to these stories. They honestly read as 100 + year old classics! Definitely a collection I'll be revisiting each year. And I especially enjoyed the audible version. There's something so delectable about having a Christmas story read to you. Perfect accompaniment to holiday baking and gift wrapping!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela Groom

    Three lovely stories all connected by a gold second chance coin. The stories are tied together by Charles Dickens, lots of his quotes from all his books are scattered throughout the tales and his character also appears in the story. Set during the Christmas in Victorian England. 1850s Very quick and easy to read. In the first tale - Trio of hearts a bunch of very different individuals are invited to stay at Bleakly Manor and the last person to be there on the twelve night will get his or her wish Three lovely stories all connected by a gold second chance coin. The stories are tied together by Charles Dickens, lots of his quotes from all his books are scattered throughout the tales and his character also appears in the story. Set during the Christmas in Victorian England. 1850s Very quick and easy to read. In the first tale - Trio of hearts a bunch of very different individuals are invited to stay at Bleakly Manor and the last person to be there on the twelve night will get his or her wish come true. Mina Scott is the main character in A tale of two hearts. Mina is persuaded to pretend to be married to Will Barlow to help him become the heir to his uncles estate. She is a kind soul and wants nothing more than to make sure Uncle is safe and that those in need are helped. The last tale The Old Lace Shop is set in Nottingham and features a lace making factory. When Bella’s abusive husband dies she inherits a half share in the factory and discovers her new partner is her old love Edmund. They have to deal with sabotage, poverty and sadness in this Victorian timed novel. Recommended if you like historical fiction romances. Nice to read and reread at Christmas time. All my thoughts are my own and thank you for an ARC from Net galley and Michelle Griep.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)

    See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com... I have enjoyed each of the three stories in this charming Dickens Christmas collection. The first two stories, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts each were first printed on their own. The new story in this collection is The Old Lace Shop. Since I have previously reviewed (and loved) the first two stories on their own, I will focus my attention on this review primarily with the new story, The Old Lace Shop. Right from the See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com... I have enjoyed each of the three stories in this charming Dickens Christmas collection. The first two stories, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts each were first printed on their own. The new story in this collection is The Old Lace Shop. Since I have previously reviewed (and loved) the first two stories on their own, I will focus my attention on this review primarily with the new story, The Old Lace Shop. Right from the very first page our heroine, Bella captured my sympathies and my heart. She chose to rise above the situation she found herself in and grab life by the reigns. Unconventional and determined, Bella is a strong heroine. I enjoyed watching her grow in this story. Edmund Archer kept me on my toes. One moment I liked him, and the next I wanted to purse-whomp him. He was full of surprises! He isn’t the picture-perfect hero, he has his flaws. But just maybe that is what makes him so endearing, and unforgettable. The setting of the story, while industrial, and dreary in its drab corner of England, is lit by its vivacious characters that rise above the backdrop and add color and life into their surroundings. I appreciate the fact that the author invites us into a less seldom view of a Victorian Christmas. This collection of stories makes the perfect gift for the book-lover on your list and it is sure to become your new favorite Christmas tradition! (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Three delightful Victorian novellas bound together by a second chance coin, a twist of Dickens, a smidgen of suspense, and wonderful spiritual content. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor This story reminded me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None but without the deaths. Put together a group of strangers each with an invitation to a 12 day get together at Christmas time each with a reward if they stay all 12 days. Place them in a mysterious old mansion in the country; but without much in the way of Three delightful Victorian novellas bound together by a second chance coin, a twist of Dickens, a smidgen of suspense, and wonderful spiritual content. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor This story reminded me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None but without the deaths. Put together a group of strangers each with an invitation to a 12 day get together at Christmas time each with a reward if they stay all 12 days. Place them in a mysterious old mansion in the country; but without much in the way of supplies, and then wait to see what things take place. Our hero and heroine were once engaged, but Benjamin Lane left Clara Chapman standing at the alter and she doesn't know why. Will they both survive the 12 days and will love return as they learn to forgive and trust one another once again. A touch of romance, a hint of mystery, and a cast of quirky characters make this an enjoyable read. A Tale of Two Hearts This is book 2 in the Once Upon a Dickens' Christmas series, but it reads well as a standalone. This book is delightfully enchanting as you stroll through Dickens' era with Mina Scott and William Barlow. A topsy turvy tale as William embroils Mina in his attempt to appear married for his Uncle Barlow as Barlow decides which of his two nephews would become his heir. Even though William had good intentions to protect his uncle from his cad cousin Percy, the truth from the beginning would have probably saved William as well as Mina from the problems they encountered with Uncle Barlow and Mina's father.  The Dickens' quotes at the beginning of each chapter were perfectly connected to whatever took place in the chapter, and Dickens cameo appearance at the fancy restaurant where William took Mina was a cute touch. The play on the title of the story to Dickens A Tale of Two Cities was clever as well. This was definitely an enjoyable Victorian read in which Michelle Griep kept me entertained from start to finish.  The Old Lace Shop This was my favorite novella of the series. After becoming a widow whose husband was very abusive, with no heirs, Arabella inherits her husband's many properties.. She sells everything except his lace factory and moves to Nottingham. Little does she know that her only love, Edmund Archer, is managing the lace factory, and she is now a co-owner with him. Bella is a very caring person and it shows in the way she reaches out to the elderly lace workers who have lost their sight and are reduced to begging. She also reaches out to Edmund's daughter, Flora, as she is crippled and Edmund has been very protective of her. Both Bella and Edmund grow in their faith and their determination as they work together to make the lace factory a growing and profitable concern even with spies and arsonists who are trying to put them out of business. With a HEA ending, and a twist of Dickens at the end, I want to see what happens next after the sweet epilogue.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen R

    A delightful collection of Victorian era novellas set at Christmas! Some of the best I have had the privilege to read. All three animated tales are full of eccentric, charming and some dastardly characters, worthy of Dickens himself, who makes a cameo appearance in each one. Centered around the theme of 'second chances', with a bit of a connection between them, each of these unique tales gives a refreshing look at the gift of grace, forgiveness and redemption. "Either your faith will move A delightful collection of Victorian era novellas set at Christmas! Some of the best I have had the privilege to read. All three animated tales are full of eccentric, charming and some dastardly characters, worthy of Dickens himself, who makes a cameo appearance in each one. Centered around the theme of 'second chances', with a bit of a connection between them, each of these unique tales gives a refreshing look at the gift of grace, forgiveness and redemption. "Either your faith will move mountains, or your doubt will create them.” The first two tales were a joy to read again, so packed full of story that it's easy to get lost in them and hard to believe that they are only novellas. The writing is excellent, including the newest addition--a second chance romance set against the industrial background of the lace market in Nottingham. A tough topic of abuse is carefully touched on as a young widow begins again, hoping for a better life. A kind heroine who reaches out to the unloved and unwanted, she was easy to root for. A few descriptions of factory life reminded me a bit of Gaskell's North and South. The peril and competitive business climate added tension to this one. Faith and hope are included to add a positive side to the story. This one could easily be stretched to make a full length novel. Highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical Christian romances with a classic feel. A good collection to read and reread at Christmas time. (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    Once Upon A Dickens Christmas is absolutely wonderful! Each of the stories are so unique and have great characters! I love how each story has its own little twist. These stories are a very quick and enjoyable read. I loved it! I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Chapel

    A delightful collection of three historical Christmas Romances by Christian Fiction author, Michelle Griep. Two of them are from earlier releases from Christmases past, but the last story The Lace Shop is new this year. Charles Dickenson makes brief appearances in all three stories. These stories take place in the mid 1800s in England. I absolutely loved the cover. I enjoyed each story but the last one was definitely my favorite. I would even say it was edge of seat reading a time or two. I A delightful collection of three historical Christmas Romances by Christian Fiction author, Michelle Griep. Two of them are from earlier releases from Christmases past, but the last story The Lace Shop is new this year. Charles Dickenson makes brief appearances in all three stories. These stories take place in the mid 1800s in England. I absolutely loved the cover. I enjoyed each story but the last one was definitely my favorite. I would even say it was edge of seat reading a time or two. I loved how the author ended most chapters with a situation that enticed readers to quickly dig into the next chapter. All three stories in one way or another involves an old gold coin. A few characters work their way from one story to another. Michelle Griep is a new to me writer and I was very impressed with this book. I will be reading more of her novels. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor A small group of about eight people,strangers to one another, except two of them, get a formal invitation to spend the twelve days of Christmas at a beautiful English Manor in the country. Each one is promised a reward for completing the entire twelve day stay. Upon arrival the guests find a house without a host or hostess. Things are not as they thought it would be. Not Everyone will finish their stay at Bleakly Manor. In fact only one person will complete the stay and get the promised reward . Each morning of their stay the guests received an agenda they were to do that day. Can anything good come from staying in a large unfamiliar house without a host or hostess? A Tale of Two Hearts It always pays to be truthful and not lead people on with a lie. One Lie will often lead to more lies and one can find themselves in quite a predicament that's hard to get out of. A young man hopes to win favor from an elderly rich Uncle , who can't decide who he wants to leave his wealth to. The catch is that the inheritance depends on whether the receiver is married or not. The one nephew seeks help from a young bar maid and talks her into playing the role of his wife in order to deceive the elderly Uncle. What he doesn't realize is that the young lady has had a crush on him for over a year. Will this lie blow up in their faces? The Lace Shop A widow of a very wealthy business man is left with a small fortune. Her marriage to her late husband has not been a happy one for he was very abusive towards her. Finally being free of him she decides to keep one of his many businesses and take it over herself. Trouble is that there is another owner of this business who hopes to buy out all of her husband's shares of the business and become the sole owner. In the 1800s it's a man's world when it comes to business. The widow will be the majority owner and must stand up to her business partner and stand her ground. Can she do it and gain respect from her partner, who feels a woman's place is in the home ? All readers of historical English Romance will appreciate this book. Readers of Christian Fiction and fans of Michelle Griep will enjoy it. If I could have gave it six stars I would have because I thoroughly enjoyed each story. I hope that you will make it a part of your Christmas reading schedule this year. I won a Kindle ebook copy of this book in a goodreads giveaway. A favorable review was not requested. All opinions expressed here are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin Laramore

    I think the subheading of the book title says it all. All 3 of these tales are charming in a very Dickensian manner. While I can't say I'm keen on classic literature in general, that which I've read of Charles Dickens I've thoroughly enjoyed. For that reason, I was drawn to this collection. I'd also heard great things about this one and the author (this was my first book of Michelle Griep's. It won't be my last!). I was very glad I opted to check this one out! All 3 of the stories contained I think the subheading of the book title says it all. All 3 of these tales are charming in a very Dickensian manner. While I can't say I'm keen on classic literature in general, that which I've read of Charles Dickens I've thoroughly enjoyed. For that reason, I was drawn to this collection. I'd also heard great things about this one and the author (this was my first book of Michelle Griep's. It won't be my last!). I was very glad I opted to check this one out! All 3 of the stories contained within are stand-alone tales, but they are all connected by a mysterious "second chance coin" which brings a redemptive theme into each of the stories, as well as Charles Dickens himself, who is personally a part of each story. That was a particularly fun element for me (particularly in 12 Days at Bleakly Manor). Also, some of the minor characters weave in and out of the different stories and it's fun to see the stories connect with those characters and with the coin. The major characters in each tale drew along the solid faith thread of the stories and were immensely likeable. I'm pretty sure Mina Scott (A Tale of Two Hearts) and I would be great friends. I enjoyed the story lines and the characters, the faith and redemptive themes, as well as the realism and the heartaches included within. While I think I enjoyed the first story (12 Days at Bleakly Manor) overall the best, I liked the characters the best in the 2nd tale (A Tale of Two Hearts) and the third tale (The Old Lace Shop) had such a satisfying ending. All in all, I would highly recommend this collection to fans of historical romance and those who enjoy Charles Dickens. Special thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for an ecopy of this book. I was in no way obligated to write a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    If you want to get in the mood for Christmas, try these three novellas by Michelle Griep. These short tales evoke the bygone days and characters reminiscent of Charles Dickens with their quirky names and actions that illustrate great spiritual truths. The fresh stories are quite enjoyable. The thing that ties the three stories together is a second chance coin that is passed to those deemed to benefit from it. Ms. Griep’s prose shines as she brings out the point that we all get a second chance If you want to get in the mood for Christmas, try these three novellas by Michelle Griep. These short tales evoke the bygone days and characters reminiscent of Charles Dickens with their quirky names and actions that illustrate great spiritual truths. The fresh stories are quite enjoyable. The thing that ties the three stories together is a second chance coin that is passed to those deemed to benefit from it. Ms. Griep’s prose shines as she brings out the point that we all get a second chance through saving faith in Christ. The Dickens- like characters jump off the page and wend their way into your heart. They make me want to watch a whole bunch of Dickensian adaptations! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" I, personally, have never read anything by Michelle Griep. I do have a number of her books downloaded to my Kindle, but I haven't had the time to read them yet. The book 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was my first introduction to Griep's writing. With the setting being in London, I was interested in the plot right away. The story is a historical romance, so I was pretty sure the historical setting with the characters would be interesting. Griep's writing is top notch. I had "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" I, personally, have never read anything by Michelle Griep. I do have a number of her books downloaded to my Kindle, but I haven't had the time to read them yet. The book 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was my first introduction to Griep's writing. With the setting being in London, I was interested in the plot right away. The story is a historical romance, so I was pretty sure the historical setting with the characters would be interesting. Griep's writing is top notch. I had no problem picturing Bleakly Manor at all. Griep sprinkled in just enough description to capture my attention as Clara and Ben moved through the house. I could feel the cold outside and imagine that I was belonged in the house during the twelve days of Christmas. She did a great job at inviting me into the Manor just like she did her characters. The characters were interesting too. I loved the strange cast of characters that she used to tell her story. All of them were different, but each one of them had their own vices that made them stand out. I loved seeing Clara and Ben interact after so much trials and misunderstanding which had affected their relationship. They were a nice couple to watch as they loved blossomed after their misunderstanding came to light. As for the plot, it did remind me of the 1980's movie Clue, but with a British Christmas twist. I enjoy the mystery. The entire time I couldn't wait to meet who the master of the house was. Griep did a great job at intertwining the mystery into the Christmas story. When I started the novel, I was drawn in right away to the plot. I had a hard time believing it was a novella. Most novellas feel short and not fully developed, but I didn't feel this way with Griep's novel. It felt complete, and I really can't wait for the next addition. Next fall seems too far away. Overall, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor captured my interest because of the mystery, London setting, and the Christmas time of the year. I highly recommend this book to fans of Charles Dickens and fans of a good mystery. I can't wait to see what the next book entails. I received a complimentary copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep from Barbour Books, but the opinions stated are all my own. (A previous review of the individual novella.) "A Tale of Two Hearts" Christmas. London. Victorian era. What could be the better makings for a novel? Maybe some suspense. But Michelle Griep creates a wonderful short story that fits in with the makings of a true Dicken's novel. I enjoyed the first book in the series entitled 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on A Tale of Two Heart too. Boy, am I glad I did. The story comes to life and brings the good feelings that Christmas brings only a couple of months earlier. I really enjoy traveling to London during the Victorian age with Griep. She wove together a timeless love story filled with intrigue and romance. I loved how well-described Griep make London. I have never been there, but she did a wonderful job at bringing London from a long time ago to life. She dove into the characters personalities and allow me to see how the characters feel and perceive things. The plot kept me spellbound. The top item on my bucket list is to visit London during the Christmas time. I loved how Griep created a story with a fake marriage to win an inheritance from an uncle. The competition between the two cousins captured my imagination. I couldn't wait to see how the story ended. I finished the novel in under a day. It didn't feel like a novella because Griep does a good job at diving into the characters and intermingling them with the plot. The romance was not the typical Victorian romance. I mean, what girl allows herself to pretend to be someone marriage to help them earn an inheritance? What does she get out of it? Slowly, through all the conflicts and moments that could have blown their cover, the romance between Mina and William blossomed into true love. The theme of second chances is created and fulfilled by the uncle and passed onto his nephews. What person does not need a second, or even a third or fourth chance from their past mistakes or encounters? In conclusion, TheTale of Two Hearts is a wonderful, Christmas-type of feeling story. With a different type of plot, Griep captures my attention by creating another keeper for the shelf. I anxiously await the next installment in the story, which is teased at in the final pages of the book. Fans of Johanna Davidson Politano would enjoy this novel. I received a complimentary copy of A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. (A previous review of the individual novella.) "The Old Lace Shop" "The Old Lace Shop" is a wonderful Christmas feel-good story telling the horrors of working conditions in Victorian London. I really enjoyed the inside look at the horrors of the tiny detailed work of Lace making and the old factories that used to produce them. The plus side to Griep's story is that she didn't just show the horrors inside the factory; she also showed us the horrors of the town surrounding the factory. The low wages and low hours affected the employees, the bosses, and the community. I enjoyed this glimpse into Victorian London's life. I did enjoy the characters of Edmund and Ms. White. The romance between the two really didn't sparkle on the pages. There were hints of their past love coming the surface, and enjoyed that. Edmund was more focused on working on orders for the factory while Ms. White wanted to make a better world for the less fornuate. This was a great story in favor of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, and I think it was a great addition to the collection and a wonderful story to read for Christmas. I received a complimentary copy of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Morgan

    Fan's of Dickens will be delighted with Michelle Griep's 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. The setting is a large country manor with limited staff. A group of people each receive an invitation to spend the 12 days of Christmas at the Manor. If they stay the entire time, they will be granted something they really desire. the characters are an odd group, some endearing, others truly weird. I enjoyed the story and look forward to re reading it on a cold snowy day with a large cup of tea and a cozy Fan's of Dickens will be delighted with Michelle Griep's 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. The setting is a large country manor with limited staff. A group of people each receive an invitation to spend the 12 days of Christmas at the Manor. If they stay the entire time, they will be granted something they really desire. the characters are an odd group, some endearing, others truly weird. I enjoyed the story and look forward to re reading it on a cold snowy day with a large cup of tea and a cozy blanket! `Michele Griep's A Tale of Two Hearts is every bit as delightful as her first Christmas story Twelve Days at Bleakley Manor. She fills her stories with charming characters in interesting settings. Ms. Griep's books always teach a lesson but in a way that entertains. I loved the characters Mina and William. They are from different classes but meet at Mina's family's pub. Set at Christmas time the story definitely has a Dicken's feel to it. I read this during one of the hottest weeks of summer, so I turned the AC on high, curled up in a blanket and drank hot tea LOL. So grab your mug of tea and enjoy a good read! So now I have finished The Old Lace Shop. I was not disappointed, in fact I think it is my favorite of the three novellas! This was a lovely story about second chances. The plot was lively and the characters were just as quirky as in her other tales. So grab a mug of hot tea and settle in for a fantastic tale! I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations! All thoughts are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    With Michelle Griep at the helm I know I will enjoy a good story and this one was just as delightful! Each story has it's own charm and I loved seeing the world through these characters' lives! I wanted to read each story one at a time but of course that didn't happen at all!!! They were just begging to be read all at once!! I enjoyed going back to the 12 days at Bleakly Manor but the other two I hadn't read before. Michelle has done a great job in her writing style by adding the Charles Dickens With Michelle Griep at the helm I know I will enjoy a good story and this one was just as delightful! Each story has it's own charm and I loved seeing the world through these characters' lives! I wanted to read each story one at a time but of course that didn't happen at all!!! They were just begging to be read all at once!! I enjoyed going back to the 12 days at Bleakly Manor but the other two I hadn't read before. Michelle has done a great job in her writing style by adding the Charles Dickens feel to these marvelous stories. I think my favorite thing about these stories are the second chances and how each person benefits from it. I quite agree with another reader about feeling the Christmas spirit all year round. It all has to do with what's truly in our hearts y'all!! This book will make a great gift for your friends, family. We need to spread the love readers!! The cover y'all is just beautiful and yellow is my favorite color!! The story was just wow!! I can't wait for y'all to read this awesome book! I'm rereading it again at Christmas. This was just too good to pass up! My thanks for a copy of this book. NO compensations were received. All opinions are my own

  15. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    Such a delightful collection of Christmas stories by Michelle Griep! The three stories are loosely tied together by Charles Dickens and a coin that is passed on from person to person reminding each of that “second chance” gifted by God, even in the direst of circumstances. It’s amazing that the author can move between vastly different settings during the Victorian era to bring forth these stories that fit so well as a package, brimming with hope, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Each story is Such a delightful collection of Christmas stories by Michelle Griep! The three stories are loosely tied together by Charles Dickens and a coin that is passed on from person to person reminding each of that “second chance” gifted by God, even in the direst of circumstances. It’s amazing that the author can move between vastly different settings during the Victorian era to bring forth these stories that fit so well as a package, brimming with hope, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Each story is well-written with a seamless plot and lovable characters. “12 Days at Bleakly Manor” carries mystery and intrigue as invited houseguests vie for “something special” if they can last through the twelfth night of Christmas celebration at Bleakly Manor. “A Tale of Two Hearts” showcases two cousins vying for inheritance from an old rich uncle but both become embroiled in lies and half-truths. “Old Lace Shop” features former sweethearts broken by cruelty in previous marriage and life circumstances who end up as partners in a lace factory. This story is told in first person present tense, which makes it quite unique. In all three stories, there are snippets of England’s history that provide the setting and events as well as spiritual truths. If you’re a fan of historical romance, this collection of Dickensian Christmas stories will captive you. I received a copy of the book from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    'I have long abhorred black. It is a great abyss, sucking in the colours of the rainbow and wringing the life out of them.' Thus begins 'The Old Lace Shop', the final offering in this collection from Michelle Griep, whose books I absolutely never miss. With an opening line like that, you are drawn in and you don't let go until the last word. Griep knows how to fashion a story and wrap her readers around it in a wonderful way. I was excited to read this final installment in her series and I'm very 'I have long abhorred black. It is a great abyss, sucking in the colours of the rainbow and wringing the life out of them.' Thus begins 'The Old Lace Shop', the final offering in this collection from Michelle Griep, whose books I absolutely never miss. With an opening line like that, you are drawn in and you don't let go until the last word. Griep knows how to fashion a story and wrap her readers around it in a wonderful way. I was excited to read this final installment in her series and I'm very glad I did. I enjoyed it so much! Recommended. Do not miss this one. *My thanks to Barbour Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. All opinions stated here are entirely my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Sluiter

    Author Michelle Griep is an incredible writer, who takes her reader straight to Old England in this compilation of Christmas stories. With quirky, lovable characters these Christmas stories are wonderful for reading at any time of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed Griep’s descriptions of places and people Of course these stories show us what England was like in those days, which is fun to learn about. Woven throughout is the love of God and the reminder that He is here to help us. If you enjoy “ Author Michelle Griep is an incredible writer, who takes her reader straight to Old England in this compilation of Christmas stories. With quirky, lovable characters these Christmas stories are wonderful for reading at any time of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed Griep’s descriptions of places and people Of course these stories show us what England was like in those days, which is fun to learn about. Woven throughout is the love of God and the reminder that He is here to help us. If you enjoy “Dickensesque” stories with clean romance then this is the book for you! I received a complimentary copy of this book but I was not required to leave a review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Three wonderful Christmas Tales! Each is filled with wonderful characters, second chances, and a wonderous feeling of love. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor has a mystery that drew me in from the first invitation. A Tale of Two Hearts is a wonderful story of second chances for many of the characters. I loved Mina and Will. The Old Lace Shop is a surprising second chance at life and maybe even love for Bella. I loved the story so much. I feel the need to warn other readers, grab a tissue or two before you Three wonderful Christmas Tales! Each is filled with wonderful characters, second chances, and a wonderous feeling of love. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor has a mystery that drew me in from the first invitation. A Tale of Two Hearts is a wonderful story of second chances for many of the characters. I loved Mina and Will. The Old Lace Shop is a surprising second chance at life and maybe even love for Bella. I loved the story so much. I feel the need to warn other readers, grab a tissue or two before you read the last chapter and Epilogue. I love the second chance coin and the meaning it holds. Michelle Griep has become part of my Christmas tradition with her Dickens style Christmas tales. I highly recommend reading or listening to this collection! Nan McNamara does a wonderful job narrating. *I own the first two books in this collection on Kindle and audio. My thanks to the publisher for an ARC of this book via NetGalley. A review was not required. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Michelle Griep uses her tongue-in-cheek humor to create characters who are endearing, quirky, and memorable in these stories and makes Victorian England come alive. Two common threads run through the stories. The “Second Chance Coin” which the bearers discover holds far more value than the gold used to fashion it. And Charles Dickens, which shouldn’t be a surprise based on the title. The first two books contained in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas were previously released as stand-alone books. I Michelle Griep uses her tongue-in-cheek humor to create characters who are endearing, quirky, and memorable in these stories and makes Victorian England come alive. Two common threads run through the stories. The “Second Chance Coin” which the bearers discover holds far more value than the gold used to fashion it. And Charles Dickens, which shouldn’t be a surprise based on the title. The first two books contained in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas were previously released as stand-alone books. I have previously reviewed A Tale of Two Hearts and so I will not repeat the review here. Michelle Griep applies her signature tongue-in-cheek humor to create characters who are endearing, quirky, and memorable in these stories and makes Victorian England come alive. In 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, an unknown host invites an eclectic group to a Christmas house party with an intriguing boon offered to those who stay the full twelve days. The strangers never meet their host and are appalled at the poor fare offered. Yet the bonus for staying, while different for each guest, has each one determined to remain. Until a robbery, a fire, and countless “accidents” have them rethinking their priorities. I may have loved the clever names of the characters even more than the story. Let me introduce you to a few of them. Mr. Minnow, an eely thin man Miss Scurry, a timid older woman who carries a box containing her friends. Mice Mademoiselle Pretents, the Frenchwoman who looks down her nose at everyone else The puzzle of the strange occurrences had me wondering. I was surprised to find who was behind the trouble and even more surprised to discover the identity of the host. This was a fun mystery! The Old Lace Shop offers second chances, and not only to Bella and Edward. Full of surprises, this delightful story revealed the tender heart of the widow who was left with no reason to mourn the death of her husband. Her compassion for the blind women who peopled the town she now considered her home had her determined to find them employment other than begging. The stories had deep inspirational messages as the characters were reminded to trust God and to look to Him for their help. If you enjoy Christmas stories and Victorian-era fiction, you won’t want to miss reading Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Read my full review at Among the Reads I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    Three great stories! 12 Days at Bleakly Manor: This one is so good! How lucky am I to get an ARC! Thank you, Michelle and Barbour Publishing. It gripped me from the first chapter. What happens when the person you loved and thought you knew turns out to be your biggest traitor? And then you come face to face with them and not everything as it seems to be. I loved the backstory between Clara and Ben. There was so much hurt but also so much love. And so many twists in this story! And there's even a Three great stories! 12 Days at Bleakly Manor: This one is so good! How lucky am I to get an ARC! Thank you, Michelle and Barbour Publishing. It gripped me from the first chapter. What happens when the person you loved and thought you knew turns out to be your biggest traitor? And then you come face to face with them and not everything as it seems to be. I loved the backstory between Clara and Ben. There was so much hurt but also so much love. And so many twists in this story! And there's even a little cameo appearance by Charles Dickens! How cool is that! It's a story of second chances and redeemed love, delivered in Michelle Griep's gripping writing style that I've come to expect and love. Highly recommend! A Tale of Two Hearts: What a charming story! I loved all the reference Dickensian references. William and Mina didn't appear to me right for each other at the beginning. She has a crush on him, but he comes across as not paying attention to her as much as she does to him. When William realizes that his uncle is more likely to choose him as heir if he's married, he asks Mina to pretend to be be his fiancée. She agrees and, of course, not everything goes smoothly. The prose is fantastic, as usual, the imagery working as an extent of the setting and theme. The characters are expertly developed and even Charles Dickens himself is referenced throughout. And can't forget to mention the Dickens quotes at the beginning of each chapter, of course. Looking forward to #3. It comes to mind that these short novels are like a nod to Dickens' serials. Maybe? The Old Lace Shop: This one has definite nods to North & South, as well as Dickens, of course. I liked how Charles himself had a cameo appearance as Edmund's uncle. Bella's late husband was very domineering and she's now enjoying the freedom that comes with being a widow. Bella and Edmund knew each other before, but it's been a while, and their lives are now different. Edmund is not excited to see Bella as the majority partner and he hides a lot from her. Bella wants to do good and improve the conditions of those she can. I really liked how their relationship rekindled and how they developed a new friendship and then grows into something more. The setting is right on, with all the social problems of the time. An excellent read! I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley and this is my opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynda Edwards

    This review will focus on the third tale, The Old Lace Shop, as I have previously read, enjoyed, and reviewed the first two titles included in this larger compilation, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. As with her longer works, Griep’s writing is beautiful—the prose creates word pictures that had me rereading passages to absorb everything they had to convey. The first several sentences are a prime example: “I have long abhorred black. It is a great abyss, sucking in the colours of the rainbow and This review will focus on the third tale, The Old Lace Shop, as I have previously read, enjoyed, and reviewed the first two titles included in this larger compilation, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. As with her longer works, Griep’s writing is beautiful—the prose creates word pictures that had me rereading passages to absorb everything they had to convey. The first several sentences are a prime example: “I have long abhorred black. It is a great abyss, sucking in the colours of the rainbow and wringing the life from them. The moniker of death.” Many passages captured my imagination in the same way. Taking place in a lace factory, there are many historical details that help flesh-out the story for the reader, and not just about manufacturing. Caring for the poor, working conditions, child-labor, and wages are all addressed, but there are no easy answers within the pages. Everyone has to eat, and finding the balance between helping others and supporting oneself is difficult to find in Victorian times. This is a sometimes-poignant story about the hope of second chances, especially when the first attempt ended in disaster and heartbreak. It’s not just in the arena of romance, however. The largest focus is that of life and what we do when our dreams are splintered so finely that even imagining a different outcome feels dangerous. The characters have each experienced such pain and loss that relating to them is natural. But it is not all doom and gloom; the best part of this story is the hope that permeates the pages, that things can be better, that God has not abandoned us, that tomorrow can be better than yesterday, even when things look bleak. This Christmas collection is perfect for the season and would make an excellent gift for a fan of Dickens or who enjoys stories set during the Victorian era. Those who like romance or perhaps something a little shorter during the busy holiday season will find excellent stories here, well-crafted and with compelling characters, despite their shorter length. I give it my highest recommendation. I received a review copy of this book from the author but was under no obligation to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    A “second chance coin” and something that reminds me of “six degrees of separation ” from Charles Dickens threads itself through these three, lovely Yuletide novellas. Two have already been published (but a truly good story is always worth a re-read), while the third is brand-new. I enjoyed reviewing The Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor. It brings our first couple together, Clara and Ben. This novella was the recipient of the 2018 Christy award. My quote here? “If you knew all the answers, there’d be A “second chance coin” and something that reminds me of “six degrees of separation ” from Charles Dickens threads itself through these three, lovely Yuletide novellas. Two have already been published (but a truly good story is always worth a re-read), while the third is brand-new. I enjoyed reviewing The Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor. It brings our first couple together, Clara and Ben. This novella was the recipient of the 2018 Christy award. My quote here? “If you knew all the answers, there’d be no need for trust, little one.” Next was one of my favorites, The Tale Of Two Hearts. It is the story of scoundrel William Barlow who pretends to be married to serving maid Mina Scott, in order to inherit. Oh, how I loved the characters in this one! Mina sure can stand up for herself! And the descriptive quotes: “His face was a road map of years.” “He wore his wrinkles like a garment, the deep creases on his face in sore need of ironing.” Indeed, Griep speaks Dickensian quite fluently. “... real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment.” “Maybe, perhaps, true meaning in life had nothing to do with outward trappings but with inward genuineness.” The Old Lace Shop brings us, Edmund and Bella, thrust together as unwilling business partners. I loved the mystery on a couple of different levels, and the wisdom both Bella and Edmund show. Quotes: “The two are as thick as scabs on a pox victim.”(Try picturing that one!) “Either your faith will move mountains or your doubt will create them.” This next sentence reminds us that even those without the “usual” gifts others have, may have a greater gift, the gift of joy. “How I wish I could bottle up the child’s laughter and carry it around with me, opening it now and then for a draught of joy when needed.” How true! I received this complimentary book from the author and publisher. No positive review was required and all opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    June Ashby

    I love historical fiction and Michelle Griep wowed me with her knowledge of the time period and Charles Dickens in these three Christmas tales. If you are a Dickens-nerd you will appreciate all the references to him and his novels. If you are not necessarily a Dickens-nerd, but love a good Christmas take, you are in luck, too. Griep masterfully weaves the second-chance coin into all three stories. In each story you are immersed in the lives of people who desperately need a second-chance. The I love historical fiction and Michelle Griep wowed me with her knowledge of the time period and Charles Dickens in these three Christmas tales. If you are a Dickens-nerd you will appreciate all the references to him and his novels. If you are not necessarily a Dickens-nerd, but love a good Christmas take, you are in luck, too. Griep masterfully weaves the second-chance coin into all three stories. In each story you are immersed in the lives of people who desperately need a second-chance. The coin is passed from person to person and from story to story thereby tying all the stories together. All stories have a sweet romance, too. The first tale 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is kind of a mystery. Six guests are invited to spend the 12 days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor. The guest that stays at the mansion until the twelfth day of a Christmas receives some promised reward. They start dropping like flies and you wonder if anyone will be able to remain or figure out who is sabotaging the endeavor. The second is A Tale of Two Hearts. A young man desperately in need of money needs to have a wife if he is to be the heir of his rich uncle. He asks a young lady to pretend to be his wife to fool the uncle. The young lady is a Dickens book fan. There’s lots of intrigue and subterfuge. I loved the quotes and references to Dickens’s novels in the second tale. In the third tale The Old Lace Shop a recent widow decides to take over one of her late husband’s business ventures of a lace factory as a way to become independent. She moves to Nottingham to take over the business which was simply not done in that time period. This last tale really reflected the way Dickens drew attention in his novels to the conditions of the poor and impoverished. I really love the main character Bella and how she sees the needs of the poor blind women. This story tugged at my heart the most as it dealt with hiding away of children with disabilities. I received an advance copy of this novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria Thomas

    True confessions: I haven't read much Dickens. I read (and loved) A Tale of Two Cities in my youth. I think that is the only one I've actually read. I've seen movie adaptations for others but haven't read them. So I am at a disadvantage to know if anything besides the title is based on his books or if these novellas are just written to sound Dickensian. Is the second chance coin from Dickens? I need to read Dickens obviously. These three novellas are tied together by a bit of Dickens himself, True confessions: I haven't read much Dickens. I read (and loved) A Tale of Two Cities in my youth. I think that is the only one I've actually read. I've seen movie adaptations for others but haven't read them. So I am at a disadvantage to know if anything besides the title is based on his books or if these novellas are just written to sound Dickensian. Is the second chance coin from Dickens? I need to read Dickens obviously. These three novellas are tied together by a bit of Dickens himself, the use of a second chance coin and a second chance at love. I love second chance romance. Sigh... 12 Days at Bleakly Manor: This story in many ways was pretty bleak. It kind of reminded me of Clue except without the humor and murder. There was attempted murder though. The characters were a mix of quirky and sweet and the whole situation was rather creepy and a little dark. But most of the characters seemed to get what they came to the manor for even if it wasn't what it seemed at first. The two main characters were lovely people who deserved to be together despite the evils of men. Everything tied up pretty neatly in a bow for a happily ever after. A Tale of Two Hearts: I also enjoy fake relationship stories so this was fun for me. I wondered through the whole thing how this would play out keeping Mina's reputation in tact, saving the uncle, and putting the inheritance right where it belonged. And it did all three though not how one might expect. The Old Lace Shop: Talk about walking into your second chance at love. Too bad they both suffered years before they could get to their happily ever after. The epilogue took me by surprise and I kept expecting it would tie in more directly but I liked the way it ended. Each story is laced with Christian themes (as is befitting Christmas tales). Sex: no. Language: no Violence: yes * I received an complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley and voluntarily chose to review it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Winnie

    Once Upon a Dickens Christmas is a compilation of three Christmas stories loosely based around tales by Charles Dickens, with cameo appearances by Dickens himself. They are also linked together by a gold second chance coin which can be used to grant the recipient a second chance. Michelle Griep is a master at creating historical fiction that engrosses me. Her characters are colorful, realistic, and true to the time period. I had read the first two stories, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas is a compilation of three Christmas stories loosely based around tales by Charles Dickens, with cameo appearances by Dickens himself. They are also linked together by a gold second chance coin which can be used to grant the recipient a second chance. Michelle Griep is a master at creating historical fiction that engrosses me. Her characters are colorful, realistic, and true to the time period. I had read the first two stories, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts, previously and enjoyed them. The Old Lace Shop is the most recent tale, and it is charming and well-crafted. I love the rich imagery that Griep paints and the inspiration and insight she infuses into her stories. “November is a melancholy month, the gloomy space between summer past and Christmas future. Usually it drapes over me like a burial shroud. This year I laugh in its face.” “Either your faith will move mountains, or your doubt will create them.” Bella and Edmund are wonderful, fascinating characters and their courage and compassion make a compelling and uplifting story. The three tales included in the book are perfect for short Christmas reads. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I have never read a book by Charles Dickens. Not even the famous A Christmas Carol. I am, however, familiar with some of his story titles, like Bleak House and a Tale of Two Cities. So the play on words in Once Upon a Christmas (12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts) appealed to me. I'm still not sure what Dickens story The Old Lace Shop was built around, but it doesn't matter because Michelle Griep created three delightful stories that swept me away and kept me reading until the wee I have never read a book by Charles Dickens. Not even the famous A Christmas Carol. I am, however, familiar with some of his story titles, like Bleak House and a Tale of Two Cities. So the play on words in Once Upon a Christmas (12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts) appealed to me. I'm still not sure what Dickens story The Old Lace Shop was built around, but it doesn't matter because Michelle Griep created three delightful stories that swept me away and kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning. While each story has its own unique characters, the central theme of having a second chance at life, love and redemption ran through them all - making the entire book seem like one big novel, with Charles Dickens (and one gold coin) making guest appearances (where needed), in each story. I loved it! Best line in the book - "Either your faith will move mountains, or your doubt will create them." I will take this with me from now on as I found it encouraging and inspiring. I cannot say which story was my favourite as they were all entertaining, with mystery, romance, and of course, a bit of Christmas cheer thrown in — making this book a "must-have" for the Christmas season!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I read the first two books that last two years, but this year was the first time I read The Old Lace Shop. Oh, I loved going back in time and seeing the world through Bella and Edmund’s eyes. Michelle just does an outstanding job of bringing the past to life. She did it with each of the stories in this book. If you love historical romance and want a bit of Christmas thrown in I highly recommend this collection, you can’t go wrong. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All I read the first two books that last two years, but this year was the first time I read The Old Lace Shop. Oh, I loved going back in time and seeing the world through Bella and Edmund’s eyes. Michelle just does an outstanding job of bringing the past to life. She did it with each of the stories in this book. If you love historical romance and want a bit of Christmas thrown in I highly recommend this collection, you can’t go wrong. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    If you want a twist on Dickens and get ready for Christmas, definitely check these novellas that are conveniently in one book. The 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was fun, with a who-dun-it Christmas twist and very enjoyable having 12 strangers together. A Tale of Two Hearts was one of my favorites because it had quotes from Dickens and the story was fun. The Old Lace Shop that proves that you can still remain friends and work together, though I feel like this one was either not quite finished or the If you want a twist on Dickens and get ready for Christmas, definitely check these novellas that are conveniently in one book. The 12 Days at Bleakly Manor was fun, with a who-dun-it Christmas twist and very enjoyable having 12 strangers together. A Tale of Two Hearts was one of my favorites because it had quotes from Dickens and the story was fun. The Old Lace Shop that proves that you can still remain friends and work together, though I feel like this one was either not quite finished or the author left it open for a sequel. Maybe Twice Upon a Dickens Christmas is in order?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    We all know and love Christmas as depicted by Charles Dickens and have read, seen movies or plays, and recalled significant scenes from his famous tale. Our author, Michele Griep, takes us on a journey to the days of Dickens and we meet characters worthy of one the famous gentleman's tales. This book is a collection of three Christmas tales so what I am doing is spreading my own reading joy out over the holidays. I just finished 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and it is certainly one I enjoyed. It We all know and love Christmas as depicted by Charles Dickens and have read, seen movies or plays, and recalled significant scenes from his famous tale. Our author, Michele Griep, takes us on a journey to the days of Dickens and we meet characters worthy of one the famous gentleman's tales. This book is a collection of three Christmas tales so what I am doing is spreading my own reading joy out over the holidays. I just finished 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and it is certainly one I enjoyed. It seemed as though some famously silly character types such as one would encounter in Alice's Mad Hatter Tea Party were part of the collection of folks gathered in the rich, cold, bewildering halls of Bleakly Manor. Though an elegant place, it was also a bleak place. Each person assembled had either lost something they needed to find or regain or they were in need of something. Riches, love, security, hope. The story is a sort of mystery. A sort of romance. A sort of Dickens plot where it seems the underdog surely must regain some dignity or something positive. Yes, there is a lovely heroin. Yes, there is a strong, dashing gentleman. Yes, there is a beloved auntie. And yes, there is a happy ending. But getting there...... well, that is the tale. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and highly recommend it. As the holidays progress, I'll try to return here and give you my thoughts on the other two novellas encompassed within the folds of this beautiful book. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone and freely given.

  30. 4 out of 5

    BlueJeansAndTeacups

    HAVING READ & REVIEWED THE PREVIOUS 2 BOOKS IN THIS TRILOGY, I WILL START WITH THE NEWEST, AND THEN COPY / PASTE THE OTHERS BELOW IT. The Old Lace Shop – Once Upon A Dickens Christmas Book #3 •o•:*:•. Interesting, but 1st Person Present Tense a Bit Odd .•:*:• o• This book was a bit hard for ME to read being told in 1st person, switching back and forth between the two lead characters. It was rather like reading someone’s diary. “It may be a poor decision, but I’ve been told one too many times HAVING READ & REVIEWED THE PREVIOUS 2 BOOKS IN THIS TRILOGY, I WILL START WITH THE NEWEST, AND THEN COPY / PASTE THE OTHERS BELOW IT. The Old Lace Shop – Once Upon A Dickens Christmas Book #3 •°o•:*:•. Interesting, but 1st Person Present Tense a Bit Odd .•:*:• o°• This book was a bit hard for ME to read being told in 1st person, switching back and forth between the two lead characters. It was rather like reading someone’s diary. “It may be a poor decision, but I’ve been told one too many times what to do, how to live, when to breathe and eat and walk. A scream wells in my throat, and I use its energy to lift my chin.” The story was interesting and is set in 1855. Mrs. White is a recent widow after being married to an extremely brutal man (which is referenced frequently throughout the story) 50 years older than her. After selling nearly all his businesses, she decides to keep one; an old lace factory in Nottingham. “I have an occupation. Me. A woman who’s lived invisibly for twenty-seven years.” She has no idea the one man she ever loved is to be her business partner; Edmund Archer. Edmund is fair and trying to run the lace factory as best he can, but unsure how he will manage to keep it running. There are machine problems, employee problems and competitors in the area are keen to see him fail. In addition to this, he has a long-kept secret at home. He fully expects to take over as full owner now that his partner has passed away. The last thing he ever expected to see was Bella. TEA MOMENT: “It is magical how a hot cup of tea on a brisk morning can calm the most savage of moods.” FAITH QUOTE: “Perhaps God handed me this opportunity as a second chance to start life over, freed from the oppressive shadow of men.” Another SURPRISE guest appears in this story in Edmund’s uncle which readers will enjoy. I did not connect as much with the story, however, as it was wrapping up I enjoyed some special moments quite a bit. (3 Stars) A Tale of Two Hearts – Once Upon A Dickens Christmas Book #2 •°o•:*:•. Book Lover’s Dream .•:*:• o°• London, 1853 Miss Wilhelmina Scott, aka Mina, serves in her father’s inn, The Golden Egg. But, she much prefers to have her nose in a good book such as ‘David Copperfield’ or daydream of her ‘brown-haired hero’, William Barlow. Miss Whymsy is her former governess and co-conspirator in lending her books and enlisting her help with The Single Women’s Society of Social Reform. Effie is another dear friend who helps guide her in the story and added prayer, older wisdom, and grounding to her life. William Barlow frequents her father’s taproom with his good friend and fellow law clerk, Mr. Fitzroy. Mina has been taken with him for the better part of a year and is shocked when he suddenly suggests she become his pretend bride. He is trying to overcome a besmirched past and to win the favor of his uncle while thwarting his scheming cousins, Percy and devious wife Alice. Uncle Barlow is a dear, kind man who enjoys books as much as Mina and is trying to ascertain the best candidate to inherit his home and fortune before he formally names an heir. TEA MOMENT: “He’s invited me to a tea of all things.” His voice smooth as fresh flowing honey, grew louder the closer she drew to his table. Can you imagine that Fitz? A tea. How awful.” A smile curved her mouth as she imagined taking tea with William. Just the two of them. Him in his finest frock coat with a snowy cravat. Her in a new gown. She’d pour a steaming cup for him, and he’d lift a choice little cake to her lips while speaking of his deepest affections. She sighed, warm and contented. “I should think a tea would be very pleasant she murmured.” Both men turned toward her. SPECIAL QUOTE: “God’s children are never truly alone – especially in a world filled with books.” Miss Whymsy Ch.19 A SURPRISE guest happily appears at the end of the story that caused my mouth to fall open. I truly enjoyed this story. (5 Stars) 12 Days at Bleakly Manor – Once Upon A Dickens Christmas Book #1 •°o•:*:•. Wow! Game of ‘Clue’ set in 1850 London .•:*:• o°• This story had so many twists and turns and really kept me guessing. It very much reminded me of the game of Clue with its quirky characters and mysterious manor. It kept me guessing all the way through. Each person had received an invitation to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas (Dec 25 to Jan 5). Each guest received a cryptic invitation and would win a gift important only to them IF they could last the entire time. Kindhearted Clara and honorable Benjamin each received invitations, not knowing the other had as well. Each had suffered much, and finding their way back to each other was unexpected for both, but because of their faith and buried love for one another, it was not as difficult as they would have imagined. The big reason for the mystery was not one I would have guessed AT ALL! What a fun and unique surprise. A favorite supporting character was Miss Scurry and her box of “friends”. She was a kind hearted elderly lady who just wanted companionship. I enjoyed this story very much, and the cover is gorgeous! (5 Stars) I received an advance eCopy from NetGalley & the Publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion with no further compensation. SERIES: Once Upon A Dickens Christmas Book #1 - 12 Days at Bleakly Manor September 2017 Book #2 A Tale of Two Hearts is expected in September 2018 Book #3 The Old Lace Shop September 2019

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