England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.
But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.
Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
12 Days at Bleakly Manor is the perfect cozy mystery for a snowy day. Michelle Griep’s “Dickens inspired” novel is replete with fascinating, albeit quirky, characters. Each accepts an invitation to Bleakly in the hopes of having their deepest desires granted. In an unexpected twist, several find themselves in a “last man standing” competition. One among them refuses to have their dreams dashed and will stop at nothing to come out on top.
The story is relayed from the view point of Clara Chapman and Benjamin Lane. Once engaged to be married, the two now find themselves at odds as much has happened in the year since Clara was left standing at the altar. Discovering the reason for his abandonment and watching these two rekindle their romance was rewarding.
Griep impressed me with how she continuously ratcheted up the tension. This 182-page book packs the punch of a much longer novel, as no element of her story was wasted– from the setting to the diversity of her characters. After reading 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, I’m sure you’ll join me in anticipating the next book in the series.
**I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”