Publisher: Shiloh Run Press | Published: August 18, 2017 | Formats: eBook (192 pages) and Paperback (192 pages) | ASIN: B071HB1FQ5 and ISBN: 9781683222583 | Series: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas | Origin: NetGalley
Inside 12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep, we are in England near Christmas of 1851, but for Clara Chapman, these times surrounding the holiday are not at all joyous. As the woman left at the altar without means, she is not homeless only since a loving Aunt takes her in.
Clara’s losses are piling up faster than the winter’s chills upon her skin, and the ache of betrayal doesn’t cease. Her financial situation becomes dwarfed by her guilt of severing the income for her former household staff.
How did all this happen?
Meanwhile, at the prison, the stench is overwhelming and the pain never heals from untold torments. Benjamin Lane’s cell is open, and he prepares for the torture, but he does not expect it from the Warden.
As he takes the proffered invitation, he is told that death will meet him if he tries to escape. Who would invite a falsely accused prisoner to the Bleakly Manor? Moreover, why?
The wealth that is there stings more than his fresh wounds.
Places such as this met his stature at one time. In the social circles of such things, he is now not a member.
Shunned by all who know him, Ben must face whatever will be his fate along with the reminders of all that he has lost during the holiday that holds the most meaning. Just as he thinks it could never become more painful, he realizes how wrong he is as the mystery unravels. The whole story behind his story needs real justice, but freedom from his jail cell does not mean unrestraint at all.
In a tale that is in part a Dickens and a Christie, you may be asking yourself if a mishap comes from the maid, in the parlor, with the candle or from the inspector in the carriage house, with the saw!
***This opinion is my own.***
12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep begins as an invitation to a mansion, a mystery, and an answer for each invited guest.
However, the merriment may be missing as the plot thickens and the mystery comes apart!
Clara Chapman is invited to a celebration, the 12 Days of Christmas, by someone she does not know, but her sickly aunt insists she goes for there is a gift that Clara needs. She will receive it if only she stays to the end. Reluctantly, she goes with a feeling of foreboding nagging at her.
In prison garb and chains, Benjamin Lane is to reenter the high society of that is familiar for only twelve days. A chance to run is all he wants as he sees the woman who told him of her love only to set him up for a crime he didn’t commit.
The mystery surrounding them leaves both vulnerable and scared, but the answer they believe to be their way to happiness might not be it at all.