The past two years I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Michelle Griep’s Christmas novellas 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts. To complete the series this year both previous novellas have been included in one volume Once Upon a Dickens Christmas which also includes a totally new novella The Old Lace Shop. This large book is beautiful with deckled page edges which make it a truly special volume appropriate for gift giving. I will include my previous reviews here as well as a new review for The Old Lace Shop.


I have to admit that I haven’t read either “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens or “Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie as mentioned by other reviewers but I enjoyed 12 Days at Bleakly Manor nonetheless. And yes, I would like to read both of those books if only to understand their references here.

The gorgeous cover prepares the reader for a delightful Victorian Christmas adventure with just a hint of darkness inside but oh my, some of the characters and happenings were quite unexpected. It was such fun watching what transpired and anticipating what might happen next. Everything about this book was so clever and I loved the surprises at the end!

I cannot say more because I fear I might give everything away. Just take my word for it, do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor for your holiday reading. I warn you though that you might not want to wait that long to read it.


A Tale of Two Hearts is the second book in Michelle Griep’s delightful Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. Set in Dickens era England the story features Mina Scott who secretly admires William Barlow. When he asks her to pose as his bride for just one evening to help him gain a desperately needed inheritance, Mina jumps at the chance only to find herself caught in a rapidly growing trap of lies and deceit. This story is a fine example of the often quoted “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” by Walter Scott. One lie led to another one as Mina and William’s good intentions seemed to offer them excuses to continue the charade.

The plot was creative and expertly crafted with wonderful characters, some of whom were extremely easy to dislike. A strong theme of grace, mercy, and redemption was skillfully woven throughout the tale and I loved how the author wrapped it all up at the end.

A Tale of Two Hearts is a perfect Christmas story, especially for lovers of Dickens and historical fiction. Both this book and the previous one 12 Days at Bleakly Manor would make excellent gifts for readers in your circle of family and friends.


Once again the second chance coin plays a role in the lives of two people who indeed need a second chance. Young widow Bella decides to keep one of her late husband’s businesses only to find an unexpected partner from her life before marriage. Edmund Archer is not at all happy that Bella has shown up in his life again but soon finds himself falling for her sweet and generous spirit. Of course everything cannot go well and lead up to a happily-ever-after in this final novella of the series. There is evil afoot and both Bella and Edmund will need their second chance, possibly more than once before their story is resolved.

I loved all three of these stories and will most likely want to read them all again next Christmas season. This gorgeous book will definitely find its place on my keeper shelf. And like I mentioned earlier, Once Upon A Dickens Christmas would make someone on your Christmas list a special gift.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author.  A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


3 Charming Christmas Tales Set in Victorian England

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 at 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.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.