A Tale of Two Hearts – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

About the Book

img_0004Book Title: A Tale of two Cities

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 1, 2018

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such a deception?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I confess I didn’t understand enough of the references to other books in this novel; clearly I need to brush up on my classics. But, that didn’t stop me from enjoying it! A Tale of Two Hearts to me is really a tale not just about two people falling in love, but two people learning that it’s important to be themselves and to be honest. Both Will and Mina struggle with their own insecurities and while they set out with the best of intentions, their methods may not be the best choice, but this is one of those stories where if I was in their shoes, I’m not sure I would’ve made a different decision.

I appreciate how Michelle kept the story within social norms of the time period. For two people to act married and not be put them in situations that would’ve been scandalous, and this is reflected in both characters actions; their behavior wasn’t changed for modern audiences (i.e. it’s ok to be alone together for awhile, etc.).

If you’re looking for a drama where Christmas is an aspect, but doesn’t overwhelm the story and where characters learn to give others another chance, this story is for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

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. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

Victorian Christmas Foods

So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food?

In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.

Victorian Oyster Stew

Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid 1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey.

Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.

Drinking Chocolate

What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid 1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home.

And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruit cake.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table.

If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.

Blog Stops

Kat’s Corner Books, October 2

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Just the Write Escape, October 2

The Avid Reader, October 2

Genesis 5020, October 3

The Power of Words, October 3

Just Commonly, October 3

Baker Kella, October 3

Among the Reads, October 4

Fiction Aficionado, October 4

Godly Book Reviews, October 4

Inklings and Notions , October 4

Captive Dreams Window, October 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, October 5

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, October 5

Multifarious, October 6

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 6

Texas Book-aholic, October 6

Remembrancy, October 7

Splashes of Joy , October 7

Blossoms and Blessings, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Back Porch Reads, October 8

A Reader’s Brain, October 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 8

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 8

Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, October 9

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 9

Carpe Diem, October 9

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Britt Reads Fiction, October 10

Luv’N Lambert Life, October 10

A Baker’s Perspective, October 10

By The Book, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Book by Book, October 11

Bigreadersite, October 11

More Of Him, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 12

With a Joyful Noise, October 12

Have A Wonderful Day , October 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 13

Bibliophile Reviews, October 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 13

Vicky Sluiter, October 14

Daysong Reflections , October 14

To Everything A Season, October 14

Henry Happens, October 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

Reader’s Cozy Corner, October 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ef/a-tale-of-two-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

12 Days at Bleakly Manor – C

12 days at bleakly manor copy

About the Book

Bleakly Manor COVER

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

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.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

I may be dense, or just need to brush up on my classic literature, but I didn’t realize that this book was related to a Dicken’s classic until I was reading about the next in the series at the end. Thus, this review will not comment on whether or not the author did that compassion justice. Instead, I will be relating it to a more modern piece of entertainment, Clue.

I love Clue. I’ve always loved the game, the mystery, puzzling out just who did it. Once I was old enough, I also saw the movie, and now I own it. I was so excited when I watched the DVD the first time and it had an option to pick one random ending from three and you would never know which was going to be selected. It still thrills me even thinking about it. Unfortunately, it’d be extremely difficult for Michelle to pen three different endings, and then make us randomly flip to the page to select a different one, but all of the other essential reasons of why I love Clue, Michelle did in such a creative fashion.

I can’t say I was surprised by the ending, but that is because I suspected EVERYONE at some point, it’s the nature of the story arc. But, I also was surprised because it was brought together and the motivations behind it weren’t what I was puzzling together in my imagination. The mystery of who will die next and who was behind it all is what kept me turning pages because I had to know. Also the anxiety of knowing there could be only one winner, but we have both a hero and a heroine! I want them both to win! It was agonizing.

For regular readers of my blog, you will be happy to know I DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT, read the end until I got there. Aren’t you proud? In this case, I just knew it would ruin the mystery and allure of everything and Michelle wrote it in such a way with clues coming steadily that I didn’t feel the all consuming desire to know how it turned out before I got there.

So, that should tell you something. If you’re a fan of mystery, give it a try.

Side note: If you’re looking for a fluffy cheery Christmas read, this isn’t it. It’s a bit morose, but I ensure you, a very satisfying read.

What about you? Do you like Clue? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

michelle griep

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…

TREE DECORATIONS

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.

GREENERY

Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.

WREATHS

“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.

CANDLES

Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.

DRESDENS

Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal.

And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy.

And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

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A Reader’s Brain, December 15

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Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated Reads, December 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater Yes, December 17

Remembrancy, December 17

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Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

amandainpa, December 19

Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27


Giveaway

barnes and noble

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8