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Friday, November 8, 2019
Between the pages are stories that are exciting and breathtaking. Two of the stories have previously been published with the addition of a new story to complete this beautiful book. The author really captures the Victorian era and treats readers to a look at a time period that was intriguing and fun.
12 Days at Bleakly Manor
I enjoyed going to back in time to the late 1800s and finding very interesting historical facts scattered throughout the book. It definitely reads like a Charles Dickens story, but with a bit more flair of intrigue. The characters were quirky and somewhat hard to keep up with. I thought there was a lot going on in the book with so many characters.
I did like the idea of a group of people ascending upon a manor house to spend Christmas. Their task was to be the last person there and be rewarded handsomely. Clara is not sure about the invitation, but with a promise for money to help her family, she decides to go. I’m not sure I would go traipsing off to a strange place so quickly.
Ben is my favorite character. He has been wrongly accused of stealing from Clara’s family and sent to prison. It was no surprise to me that he would be one of the guests of the manor. There is friction between Clara and Ben when they first see each other. Clara believes Ben ruined her family business. Perhaps she was more upset by the fact that he had left her at the altar. It is a good story with emotions that run high at times , but overall a story that gives hope and peace to all.
A Tale of Two Hearts
It's another charming tale from a very talented author that takes us back to London in 1853. I loved how the author did a great job describing the time period. You can feel yourself there looking on as Mina shares her love of reading. I found that to be very endearing and made me love the character even more. She is quite a lovely person with a heart of gold. She how a sweet disposition and wants so badly to help others in need. However, her father has ideas on what Mina should be doing and it certainly isn't reading or lending a helping hand.
William Barlow seems to be a nice enough fellow but when he asks Mina to do something for him that is not really honest, I wasn't sure if he had her best interest at heart. William is getting a bit ahead of himself as he tries to deceive his uncle. Uncle Barlow was the star in this story for me. I chuckled at the things he had William and Percy do to win him over. They are so desperate to be declared his heir that they scheme at some questionable ideas. I kept thinking how Uncle Barlow must be enjoying their silly notions.
The story is a wonderful journey through London as family members squabble over such meaningless treasures. Mina is torn between helping William because she has secretly loved him, and being honest and telling Uncle Barlow the truth. I loved how these characters experience forgiveness, being honest and remembering how important family is.
The Old Lace Shop
I really enjoyed this story because it takes an unlikely turn as Bella decides to keep one of her late husbands shops instead of selling it. The journey for her will be filled with resistance and an unexpected surprise waiting for her. What are the odds that Bella is now partnered with someone from her past? There is not a lot of joy when they meet again and this allows the author to explore a relationship that is fragile. The characters are easy to relate to and loved how they discover surprises, danger, and much more in this story that fills the pages with hope and forgiveness.
Edmund is none to pleased to see Bella. Thoughts from the past creep up and he quickly tries to bury them deep in his soul. He is in for changes as he learns that Bella will be working beside him to grow the business. I don't think I would be overjoyed to see someone waltzing into to my shop with an air of ownership. There is friction as Bella stands her ground and assures Edmund she is there to stay. It is a wonderful story of a woman who takes on a leadership role and a man who is not quite sure what his feelings are as the shop starts to change .
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.