Book Review (+ Giveaway!): 12 Days at Bleakley Manor

14 Dec


About The Book

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 the book.


My Impressions:

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep is a fun Christmas read. With its Victorian setting and a big nod to Charles Dickens, it captures the spirit of the season. This novella has quirky characters galore (with equally quirky names a la Dickens), a heartwarming message of second chances, and sweet romance just perfect for a long winter night’s reading experience. This one is a recommended read!

Clara Chapman was left at the altar months before this cold December. With her fortune gone, stolen she believes by her fiancé, she is living in reduced circumstances. An invitation to Bleakly Manor for the Twelve Nights of Christmas celebration promises a way out of her financial difficulties — if she stays the full 12 days. Benjamin Lane was arrested on the way to his wedding and has been held without trial awaiting transportation to Australia. He has become bitter and vengeful, but a chance to be released and restored to society has him also at Bleakly Manor. Clara and Ben, along with 8 other guests, are all hoping for their deepest wishes to come true.

A bit A Christmas Carol and a bit Then There Were None, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor has all the ingredients for a quick, quirky, and thoroughly satisfying read. The characters provide amusement and intrigue as the mysterious Master of the house manipulates the action. Odd occurrences and threats put them in danger, and they and the reader never know who is to blame. The novella is filled with Victorian details, especially those that surrounded the Christmas celebrations of England. I really enjoyed the trip back in time. The romance is filled with obstacles of betrayal, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings, but also the promise of love restored. When all seems chaos, the characters depend on a God that is in control.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor is the first in Griep’s Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series, and it has definitely made me want more. A great start for a promising series!


Audience: adults.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


About The Author

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 or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.


Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

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…


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.


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.


“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 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 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

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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!

13 Responses to “Book Review (+ Giveaway!): 12 Days at Bleakley Manor”

  1. joyofreadingweb December 14, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    This is one of my new favorite Christmas novella’s! I am giving a couple copies as Christmas gifts. Wonderful review!

    • rbclibrary December 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

      That’s so wonderful!

  2. Rita Wray December 14, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    The book sounds great.

    • rbclibrary December 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

      It is!

  3. Kelly D December 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    I would like to read this book.

    • rbclibrary December 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      Good luck in the giveaway!

  4. Carrie December 15, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    “A bit A Christmas Carol and a bit Then There Were None” – that’s a great description for this great read! 😀

    • rbclibrary December 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

      I read another review that said the same thing! I guess I was on the right track.

  5. Tarissa December 16, 2017 at 11:00 pm #

    I loved reading about all the tidbits on a Victorian Christmas… how simple and delightful! I’m really excited about this book.

    • rbclibrary December 17, 2017 at 8:13 am #

      Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Debbie Clatterbuck December 17, 2017 at 11:15 am #

    What a great post. So much wonderful information on Christmas’s past. Thanks for the post and the giveaway. Good luck everyone.

  7. Patty December 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    I love using candles at Christmas. My husband just pulled one out today that I didn’t remember. Looking forward to lighting it!

    • rbclibrary December 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm #

      I love them too, but I don’t use them enough.

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