Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Release: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

Once Upon A Dickens Christmas #1
September 1st 2017, 192 Pages, Print, ebook and audio

"A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger...and love?

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 one thousand 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 fiancĂ©, 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"

It's not Christmas, its October, but I decided to read this alongside the audiobook borrowed on Scribd. The description of the book is pretty accurate, its pretty much like a combination of Dickens Bleak House with one of Agatha's Christie's darkest stories 'And Then There Were None' (which was originally entitled 12 Little Indians).

I'm rather in two minds about how some of the characters seemed to be directly lifted from Bleak House, especially Mr. Tallgrass (Mr. Bart. Smallweed, clearly was the inspiration there), and Miss Scurry with her mice, who was clearly based on Miss Flyte with her collection of prophetically named birds.
Whilst I am sure authors borrow from other works all the time, it's not something I'm always totally comfortable with when I spot it. This was still a great book though, and it does not detract from Dickens great tale. To be fair, its hard to beat the classics, so why not use them as an inspiration?

Aside from some of the inevitable Americanisms, and the American narrator of the audiobook who struggled with some of the accents, I did enjoy this book. A lot. Its great little short read for any time of the year, but also ideal reading on a long Winter night over the Holiday season incorporating intrigue, suspense, mystery, but also love and redemption.

I requested the ebook edition of this title from Netgalley for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Line Fridays #12: Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

I've noticed that First Line Friday posts are all I have been, well, posting for a few weeks now, with far less reviews. Maybe its because I'm not posting reviews of most of the titles I listen to as audiobooks, or that reading time is sometimes limited I seem to keep waking up late, which cuts out some of the time I would otherwise spend reading of an early morning. 
Perhaps I need to buy that LED light to stick to the shelf above my bed, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep now that the mornings have grown dark with the onset of British Autumn. 

Anyway, today I am featuring the first line of the book I am about to start reading (or more likely listening to most of on Audible), which I picked as it was set in the Victorian Period, and and I rather like this stories those with a Gothic bent or some underlying mystery.  I heard about the novel months ago, waited for it to appear on Netgalley then had to wait several days before finally being approved.

The first lines read: 

London, England 1861 
 "Well Miss Harcourt. Are you, or are you not, Nathaniel Droll?"

Happy reading and have a good weekend, untul next time. Hopefully I will get more review up in the intervening days. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

First Line Fridays #11: The Middle Ages Unlocked

That time of the week again, and I've managed to fall behind in my reading Challenge again, but I am making my way through two audiobooks and one paperback, so it's not because of laziness. Today also marks another milestone: The First Line Fridays group has a new home and we are including our posts in a new links list.  

Today is also a first for me: I'm including a non-fiction title on this site which is not Christian, for like the first time ever. Those who follow me on Goodreads will probably have seen this title on there: it's a History book that I have been reading for a while. Not because its a bad book, but just because I only read a few pages every now and again in between other titles. 

The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England 1050- 1300. Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory, it's from a British Publisher, and the authors are Polish and Latvian scholars. I've always enjoyed reading about how people lived in the past, and not just about major political events, so a book that covers everything from law to clothing, building styles and the dietary habits of Medieval English men and women is ideal for me. 

What's also interesting about this book though, is that it also examines the lives of the Jewish communities of Medieval England, alongside the English, Normans and other majoritygroups. 
There were several thousand Jews in England until their forced expulsion in the late 13th century. 

Today I am including two first lines, actually the first lines of the first two paragraphs, as I think this gives a better idea of what the book is about. 

"So many people love the Middle Ages. Movies, books,  role-playing games and reenactment, these help us to enjoy - and shape how we see, the period.... The Middle Ages of our imagination of popular culture is not, however, always close the Middle Ages that historians and archeologists know." 

That's my contribution for the week: from now on instead of the little list of links at the bottom we're going to be using the button below. Happy Friday from me, and remember to comment with the first line of the book you are reading.


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