First Line Friday — 12 Days at Bleakley Manor

1 Dec


It’s officially the Christmas season! Oh, I know that many of you have your house all decorated and have been humming Christmas carols since Halloween. The stores here in Middle Georgia have certainly been decked out for months. But I like the Thanksgiving leftovers to be consumed and the calendar to read December 1st before I really start to celebrate. But don’t call me a Scrooge, because I am all in when it comes to Christmas books, indulging long before I crack open the ornament box. Speaking of Scrooge, my FLF selection is a Victorian novel a la Dickens. In fact, this book is the first in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series by Michelle Griep 12 Days at Bleakly Manor.

So grab the closest book, share its first line in the comments, and then head on over to Hoarding Books for more bloggers and their FLF posts!

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 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.

Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series — a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale — by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes — except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild).



26 Responses to “First Line Friday — 12 Days at Bleakley Manor”

  1. Ellie December 1, 2017 at 7:13 am #

    I’m sharing the first line from Heather Gray’s An Informal Christmas on my blog today. The first line from the book I’m currently reading is “His footsteps echoing, Ryan Savage walked the first grader from the cafeteria toward the media center.” The Christmas Baby by Lisa Carter.

    Happy Friday!

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

      Lots of Christmas books shared today. Thanks for the first line from your current read.

  2. The Cozy Pages December 1, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    The twisted alleys…. nice and intriguing.

    My first line comes from a book on my TBR list by Lynda Wilcox. Strictly Murder is the first book in the Verity Long Mystery series.

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. susandyer1962 December 1, 2017 at 7:40 am #

    My first line Friday is from Christmas Magic by Cathy Kelly

    Primrose Cottage sat at the very end of Johnson’s Lane, an enchantingly pretty little house with wisteria snaking into the low roof and rose bushes clustering up to peer in the windows.

    Happy Friday!

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

      Wow! I want to live there!

  4. Suzie Waltner December 1, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    I enjoyed this one too!

    Today I’m featuring Cowboy Christmas Guardian by Dana Mentink (because it’s December and all).

    The first line of the book I’m reading is: “Not Now. For the love of candy canes, not now.” From I’ll Be Home for Christmas Collection by Bonnie Calhoune, Jill Kemerer, Allie Pleiter, and Lenora Worth

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      That line made me smile! 🙂

  5. Phyllis December 1, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    While I love Christmas, I also don’t like to get decorated for Christmas too early. Though often the day after Thanksgiving works for me. 🙂

    I reviewed the anthology A Grand Tour a couple weeks ago, but it has such a great first line, it had to get included. This is from the first book, A Lord’s Chance

    Southern coast of Spain, October 1852
    “The smell of deck tar warming under the Mediterranean sun made Miss Isabelle Strathmore smile beneath the brim of her second-best bonnet.”

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      Great line!

  6. Becky December 1, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    This looks like a great read! I love Christmas and mysteries!!

    I’m sharing about The Austen Escape on my blog today, but the closest book to me is Christmas at Carton by Tamera Alexander, so I’ll use that here.

    November 13, 1863
    Franklin, Tennessee
    21 Miles South of Nashville

    “Very nice stitching, Mrs. Prescott.”

    Happy Friday!

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      That book looks so good. I need to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

      • Becky December 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

        Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      • rbclibrary December 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm #


  7. lelandandbecky December 1, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    It’s on my wish list!

    Happy Friday!
    My first line is from First Street Church Romances: Love’s Christmas Cheer by Alexa Verde:

    “Hurting her co-chef wasn’t an option,”

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

      I had to read that line twice! I thought some violence might ensue!

  8. carylkane December 1, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    I love Michelle’s books! Happy Friday, Beckie!

    MAY 1817

    I sat across the table from the man I most admired, feeling self-conscious. – The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      I love Julie Klassen’s books!

  9. bellesmoma16 December 1, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Happy Friday!

    I received this book in a giveaway. I am excited to get to it. I’ve heard great things.

    Today, over on my blog, I am showcasing Cara Putman’s novel, Imperfect Justice. I am so excited to review this book. I have heard so many good things. On my site, I used the first lines from the prologue, so here I will share the first sentence from chapter 1.

    “Emelie Wesley glanced at her watch and frowned.”

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      My book club is reading that one in January. Can’t wait!

  10. Anneliese Dalaba December 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    That description captivates me, and that’s a great first line. I’ll be checking out that novel as soon as I type up this comment. Thanks for sharing it. I’m featuring Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick on my blog this week. It’s one of her best novels. I wish you a wonderful weekend and hope you are enjoying this beautiful Christmas season.

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful first Christmas weekend! 😉

  11. Beth Erin December 1, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    Happy Friday!

    January 1894
    Denver, CO
    The cheerful tinkle of a bell alerted Grace Mallory to the arrival of a guest.
    – Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

    • rbclibrary December 1, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

      I like her books, but haven’t read one in a while. I need to check this one out.

  12. Iola December 2, 2017 at 4:02 am #

    The book description asks “Is she walking into danger?” Well, if they have to ask, then we already know the answer, right?

    My choices are a little less suspenseful. I’m sharing from The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce on my blog today. Great book!

    I’m currently reading Out of the Ordinary by the always-witty Jen Turano. Here’s the (long) opening line:

    Slipping through the crowd gathered on the upper deck of a most extravagant yacht, Miss Gertrude Cadwalader drew in a breath and adopted an air of what she hoped would be taken for nonchalance.

    With a start like that, I’m expecting another winner!

    • rbclibrary December 2, 2017 at 10:49 pm #

      I love the heroine’s name! Hope you enjoy it.

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