12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1)
When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. 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 for the Twelve Days of Christmas, 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.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1) Details

Title12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1)
Author
ReleaseSep 1st, 2017
PublisherShiloh Run Press
ISBN-139781683222583
Rating
GenreHoliday, Christmas, Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Christian Fiction, Fiction

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1) Review

  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Christmas - 1850 - LondonTHE BEGINNING.....After being left at the altar by the man she loves, and being stripped of her family fortune, Clara Chapman accepts a mysterious invitation to receive a much needed $1000 IF she agrees to stay at an English Manor for a period of twelve days.After her arrival, Clara meets a variety of unusual cohorts, each with their own personalized promise of compensation.....including her former fiancé.THE MIDDLE.....There is a bit of mystery...a touch of romance, and Christmas - 1850 - LondonTHE BEGINNING.....After being left at the altar by the man she loves, and being stripped of her family fortune, Clara Chapman accepts a mysterious invitation to receive a much needed $1000 IF she agrees to stay at an English Manor for a period of twelve days.After her arrival, Clara meets a variety of unusual cohorts, each with their own personalized promise of compensation.....including her former fiancé.THE MIDDLE.....There is a bit of mystery...a touch of romance, and some very quirky characters, but the mishmash of dubious accidents did not flow well here and turned a great start into an ineffective read...for me.THE END.....Overall, 12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR was just ok. I expected more atmosphere...a bit of creepy intensity...and less predictability. For me...the storyline was trying to be a combination of too many other classic works of fiction all thrown together in a short 192 pages...not an easy task, but.....IT IS in fact a light Christmas read and average ratings ARE already at 4+ Stars so I am definitely in the minority here!There is a slight Christian theme with an important message and a historical compilation of past Victorian Christmas traditions to sum it all up.Many thanks to NetGalley and Shiloh Run Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Melisa
    January 1, 1970
    The 2017 Christmas book ARCs are coming out, and I'm not mad about it at all!This book is Downton Abbey + Clue + Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I very much enjoyed the mystery and the huge manor at Christmas time in the Victorian days. An atmospheric story full of romance and intrigue.I did feel that there are a few loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. I have some questions that were left unanswered. (A pet peeve of mine.)I will definitely be reading more of this serie The 2017 Christmas book ARCs are coming out, and I'm not mad about it at all!This book is Downton Abbey + Clue + Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. I very much enjoyed the mystery and the huge manor at Christmas time in the Victorian days. An atmospheric story full of romance and intrigue.I did feel that there are a few loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. I have some questions that were left unanswered. (A pet peeve of mine.)I will definitely be reading more of this series to see where it goes, there is a lot of potential here. Note: this is technically classified as Christian Fiction. While there are some undertones, it is not a specific theme. Thought I would throw it out there whether it appeals to you or not. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Julie Carpenter
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, I LOVE Bleak House by Charles Dickens, as well as, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and I LOVED how Michelle Griep combined the two of these together. I loved the ending of the book and how everything came together and the hows and whys of it all. So much fun. If you've read either of the above books that I mentioned then you will have fun reading this book and seeing the similarities. If you haven't read either of those books, grab them now or snatch this one up and it will have Ok, I LOVE Bleak House by Charles Dickens, as well as, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and I LOVED how Michelle Griep combined the two of these together. I loved the ending of the book and how everything came together and the hows and whys of it all. So much fun. If you've read either of the above books that I mentioned then you will have fun reading this book and seeing the similarities. If you haven't read either of those books, grab them now or snatch this one up and it will have you wanting to pick up either of those above mentioned stories to figure out the references.There were several times when a character would make a comment and I would look over at my husband and say, you've got to hear what this character said. He would listen, smile and say "hey that's so and so from Bleak House". I read a few scenes out loud to him and we both really enjoyed it lots.Clara and Ben are two great MCs. At the beginning there is the mystery of who are these people, why are they in these circumstances and why are they the ones chosen to attend this 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor? The accidents, incidents, intrigue, mystery and the feeling of constantly being watched definitely made this a great cozy mystery.Oh, I want to tell you so much about this story but I don't want to spoil any of the surprises or outcomes. Typing this I'm going through all the characters in my head and thinking about their individual little nuances. I start to say that one is my favorite over the other but then I think about them in Bleak House and just smile and think, "I like them all". Well maybe saying I like them isn't quite right, because some of these characters are just despicable, but I will say I like the way that the author wrote the characters. So fun. Yes this is a "Christmas" story. It is set at Christmas time but I think you would have fun reading this at any time of the year. Especially if you enjoy Dickens, Christie and Griep! I think this would make a fun movie...Masterpiece, if you're reading this grab the rights to it fast! I would watch it and love it! Grab yourself a copy, settle in with a cozy blanket, your favorite reading snack/drink and see how fast you can solve the mystery. My family loves watching Masterpiece Theatre, and the best part about watching it together is we all have to make a prediction about whodunnit within the first few minutes of the show. Can you do that with this book? Probably not within the first few minutes, but can you predict and be correct in your guess within the first 10 chapters? Or will it be a surprise to the end for you?If you haven't read any books by this author, I highly recommend doing so. I've read a novella and this is my second novel by her. I am wanting to adjust my reading schedule to move her books up my list. Great writing, great storyline, loved the mystery and especially the characters. Here's my shoutout to the 'day of reckoning' and 'shake me up'. If those don't make sense, well just read the book and Bleak House as well. Loved it!I didn't really mention anything about the sweet love story within this story. I loved the second chance given to the MCs. The love and trust that saves them all. I won't say anything past that except I loved watching that relationship unfold and grow. *happy contented sigh*Content: Clean. A few moments of peril but nothing graphic. Christian aspects are throughout, characters do call out to God in their thoughts and ask for His guidance. Very well done and fits perfect with this time period and characters. I received a copy from the publisher, Barbour Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.Happy Reading!!!
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  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    With a writing style reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie, Michelle Griep sets up quite the atmospheric novel. I enjoyed getting to know the characters over a 12 day time period, the 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor. A tale that kept me reading as I was so intrigued to read the twists and turns taking place. I never knew what to expect til the end. This well developed plot and characters where enjoyable to read about in this mystery. Looking forward to reading book 2 in the On With a writing style reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie, Michelle Griep sets up quite the atmospheric novel. I enjoyed getting to know the characters over a 12 day time period, the 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor. A tale that kept me reading as I was so intrigued to read the twists and turns taking place. I never knew what to expect til the end. This well developed plot and characters where enjoyable to read about in this mystery. Looking forward to reading book 2 in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series releasing Fall 2018. I also enjoyed reading about Victorian Christmas Traditions and their description from the end of the book.Pub Date 01 Sep 2017Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for a review copy in exchange fro my honest review.
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    Clara Chapman's life has taken a bad turn. Her fiance left her waiting at the altar a year before, after supposedly stealing her family's money. Funds are running out. She will be left destitute soon. As Christmas approaches, Clara does not know what might become of her and her sickly aunt. Then, on Christmas Eve, an unexpected visitor comes to the door. He hands her an invitation to Bleakly Manor. If she can stay at the manor through the entire 12 days of the Christmas season, she will receive Clara Chapman's life has taken a bad turn. Her fiance left her waiting at the altar a year before, after supposedly stealing her family's money. Funds are running out. She will be left destitute soon. As Christmas approaches, Clara does not know what might become of her and her sickly aunt. Then, on Christmas Eve, an unexpected visitor comes to the door. He hands her an invitation to Bleakly Manor. If she can stay at the manor through the entire 12 days of the Christmas season, she will receive 500 pounds. Although she is afraid of the unknown, they need the money, so she travels to the manor. Six people arrive. All have been promised a different reward for staying in the house for 12 days. It is revealed that only one person will actually receive a prize -- the last person remaining in the house at the end of the 12th day. Strange things start occurring almost immediately, and one by one the guests leave, by choice or through force. Who will be the last one left?Clara is beside herself....not only because she's in a strange house, but because one of the people with her is the very fiance that left her standing at the altar. This is an enjoyable holiday story! It is Christian fiction, but not overly preachy. (If Christian beliefs are not your cup of tea, pass this one by.) The story is like A Christmas Carol by Dickens got intertwined with And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It's a nice mix of suspense, romance, and heartwarming holiday tale. The ending has a bit of a surprise that made me smile. All in all, a great Christmas story!! The cover art is wonderful! So festive! :) 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is the first book in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series. The second book, A Tale Of Two Hearts, will release in 2018. Michelle Griep is the author of several novels. Find out more about the author and her books here: https://michellegriep.com/**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a refreshingly unique tale of mystery and romance set over the holidays in 1850's, England! I enjoyed following this group of colorful characters through the Twelve Days of Christmas in the manor house, each with their own motivation for being there. A bit of other classic tales cleverly mixed in gave it an authentic flavor; one slice Dickens, Christie and a bit of Dumas. Lyrical, descriptive writing, with quotable lines added to the reading pleasure, plus some action. A choice between Wow, what a refreshingly unique tale of mystery and romance set over the holidays in 1850's, England! I enjoyed following this group of colorful characters through the Twelve Days of Christmas in the manor house, each with their own motivation for being there. A bit of other classic tales cleverly mixed in gave it an authentic flavor; one slice Dickens, Christie and a bit of Dumas. Lyrical, descriptive writing, with quotable lines added to the reading pleasure, plus some action. A choice between seeking revenge and holding onto bitterness, versus choosing to love and forgive, was a prominent theme. Recommend to readers who enjoy historical mystery and clean romance, with some faith.(An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
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  • Michelle Griep
    January 1, 1970
    Love Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None?Adore Charles Dickens' Bleak House?Then 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is the book for you!
  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    "Some choice. Remain in a room of vipers or search for a rodent." 12 Days at Bleakly Manor (September 2017, Shiloh Run Press), first in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series by Michelle Griep, is a Christian historical romantic mystery. It opens in London on December 24, 1850, which puts it in the Victorian Era. The novel is a standalone with no cliffhangers. I wanted to read this book because I absolutely loved both titles I previously read by Griep. See my reviews for Brentwood's Ward "Some choice. Remain in a room of vipers or search for a rodent." 12 Days at Bleakly Manor (September 2017, Shiloh Run Press), first in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series by Michelle Griep, is a Christian historical romantic mystery. It opens in London on December 24, 1850, which puts it in the Victorian Era. The novel is a standalone with no cliffhangers. I wanted to read this book because I absolutely loved both titles I previously read by Griep. See my reviews for Brentwood's Ward and The Captive Heart .Rating: 5 starsThe heroine: Clara Chapman, 25, is wounded by multiple rejections: first by her father, and then nine months ago, by her fiance. Formerly from a well-to-do family, she is now poor and has been living with kindly, infirim Aunt Deborha. Clara unexpectedly receives a cryptic (and if it is to be trusted, a lucrative) invitation:"The Twelve Days of ChristmasAs never's been reveledYour presence, Miss Chapman,Is respectfully hearld.Bleakly Manor's the placeAnd after twelve nightsFive hundred poundsWill be yours by rights."The hero: Benjamin Lane is in prison for stealing and is slated for deportation to a labor camp in another country. The reader is immediately privy to the fact that he views himself as not only innocent, but betrayed by "the woman he loved." (Now, there's a conundrum. The reader naturally will presume he is thinking of Clara, which doesn't make sense! How could she feel rejected by him while he simultaneously feels betrayed by her? Particularly when it seems they both still love each other???) Ben also receives an invitation to Bleakly manor, and he is promised something different if he remains the full time: his freedom. Christian elements: *"Sometimes all we have are questions. But there's really only one that matters…. Is God in control, or is He not?"*Both our hero and heroine are suffering and question, "Why, God? Why?"*There is a coin that occasionally appears in the story, and while I interpreted it (and its message) to be symbolic only, looking back, I see that the introduction says that both the babe Jesus and the coin are "both bearers of a second chance." I still interpret the coin as symbolic and the verse as poetic. But I suppose a different reader could view the coin as slightly magical. This is just an FYI, because some Christians are not comfortable with magic in stories. (I know some Christians who avoid Harry Pottter, for example.) Is it clean/chaste? Yes. There is the occasional warmth in the gut or belly. Or, at another time, "the touch of his hand guiding her foot into the skate sent a charge up her leg. A shameful response, but completely delicious." (See information about kissing below.)What I liked: *The portrayal of Ben in prison seemed very realistic. Yipes.*The mystery was extremely cozy, and there was no murder! I found this totally lovely! I was able to feel nostalgic about previous mysteries I've read without the negativity that often comes with it. Yes, there were some negative characters, but I didn't feel they were pervasive.*I totally enjoyed the nod to Agatha Christie. The cast of characters could easily have been in a Christie novel. I did wonder what the host would have done if things didn't work out the way they did, though. And I was completely mistaken about who invited people to Bleakly Manor, which is awesome.*I loved the tidbits of information about the Twelve Days of Christmas. I had always wondered about it due to the famous Christmas song.What I didn’t like: *I'm noticing a trend in some clean romance novels of extremely steamy kisses without crossing into questionable waters. It's not what I prefer. I think there were two steamy (but not inappropriate) kisses in this story. I felt a bit impatient when this happened even though they weren't very long. I'm not reducing any stars for this dislike of mine, because I think that the book is definitely clean and I know many readers of clean romance enjoy steamy-clean stories.*Not precisely a dislike, but I did notice that the 12 Days of Bleakly Manor, which start on December 24th, don't quite line up with the Twelve Days of Christmas, which begin on December 25th. I asked Ms. Griep about this, and she explained that it was intentional.***********The bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend it to fans of Agatha Christie, cozy historical mysteries, and Christian historical romance. The next book I read by Ms. Griep might be Out of the Frying Pan , as I recently picked up a Kindle copy for free! I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Prepare yourself to be highly entertained by this delightful book! "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep is the first book in the "Once Upon a Dickens Christmas" series. Ms. Griep fills her story with danger and mystery, leaving the reader guessing as to what will happen next! "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" is a mix of Charles Dickens's "Bleak House", Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None", and pure genius. I love BBC's version of "Bleak House", so I was excited to pick this book up. I' Prepare yourself to be highly entertained by this delightful book! "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep is the first book in the "Once Upon a Dickens Christmas" series. Ms. Griep fills her story with danger and mystery, leaving the reader guessing as to what will happen next! "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" is a mix of Charles Dickens's "Bleak House", Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None", and pure genius. I love BBC's version of "Bleak House", so I was excited to pick this book up. I've never read "And Then There Were None", but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having read the book. It was fun for me to pick up the "Bleak House" nods throughout the story. Ms. Griep reminds me of Dickens in the way that she shows and describes the conditions of prisons, the plight of the poor in Victorian England and the unfair and corrupt justice system. This story is a fast-paced read with amazing characters and a gothic, mysterious setting. Ms. Griep employs great descriptions and word pictures. There is a darker side to the goings-on at Bleakly Manor. I appreciate how Ms. Griep gives the readers a helpful list and description (at the back of the book) of the Victorian Christmas traditions that are mentioned in the story. If you think the people at your Christmas get-togethers are crazy, check out this group at Bleakly Manor! Some of the characters have very funny and weird idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, which makes the story all the more interesting. With everything going on in the house and mystery looming everywhere, can the characters trust that God is in control? "12 Days at Bleakly Manor" is a novel of second chances and choosing between revenge and forgiveness. There is a theme of trust and a strong faith element. I very much enjoyed this book!Content: This is a clean read. There is a scene where a man is in prison and the conditions are described vividly, which might make sensitive readers uncomfortable. It also mentions that a character swears, but the word is not actually used.Rating: I give this book 4.5 stars.Genre: Christian historical fiction; Victorian England; MysteryI want to thank Michelle Griep, Shiloh Run Press and Barbour Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
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  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
    January 1, 1970
    I know it's not the Christmas season, but this book sure put me in the mind for it! I love the cover for this book and I'm so excited to see that this is the beginning of a new series from Michelle Griep. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.This book had a bit of everything. It's a cozy mystery with romance and a dash of danger. I loved how the characters came alive for me- jumping out from the pages like a movie in my head. This book should be a movie!! I'm envisioning hot chocol I know it's not the Christmas season, but this book sure put me in the mind for it! I love the cover for this book and I'm so excited to see that this is the beginning of a new series from Michelle Griep. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.This book had a bit of everything. It's a cozy mystery with romance and a dash of danger. I loved how the characters came alive for me- jumping out from the pages like a movie in my head. This book should be a movie!! I'm envisioning hot chocolate and a cozy blanket with my girls. :)Yes, this book is set during Christmas but don't let that stop you from reading it at any time of the year. I loved that as a reader, I didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I was right there with the characters, wondering and trying to figure things out. It made me feel like I was a part of the book in some way.This was such a fun story! I can't wait for the next one!Content: mild violence, kissing- I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    What a fun book. I loved this book, can't wait for the next one in the series to come out.
  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc., Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read this digital book galley.I truly enjoyed this well plotted mystery novel filled with well developed characters. Six people receive an invitation to spend the Twelve Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor, beginning on December 25, 1850 and ending at midnight on January 5, 1851. Each is promised something that they desperately want or need will be their reward for spending the season there. Once they arrive Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc., Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read this digital book galley.I truly enjoyed this well plotted mystery novel filled with well developed characters. Six people receive an invitation to spend the Twelve Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor, beginning on December 25, 1850 and ending at midnight on January 5, 1851. Each is promised something that they desperately want or need will be their reward for spending the season there. Once they arrive at Bleakly, however, they discover that only one will receive the promised reward for staying the entire time and anyone who leaves before time is up, regardless of reason, forfeits their chance at the reward. The mixture of character types was quite interesting and the author, Michelle Griep, was very clever about keeping the true motivations of each person well under wraps. There are no deaths which take place, but this is definitely a series of mysteries. In the first place no one knows the identity of the owner of Bleakly Manor. Neither do they know whether the six guests are who or what they claim to be. So prepare yourself for a Christian mystery novel where faith, love, and charity all play their part in helping...........Ah, but that's where the twists begin so you really need to read this to find out how these strangers deal with all the misfortunes and adventures they find themselves involved in. A sweet love story is the main basis for the novel, but trying to figure out what is going on will bring readers enjoyment also.The first chapter of book two in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series, A Tale of Two Hearts, is included at the end of the book.
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  • MH
    January 1, 1970
    This book was my introduction to Michelle Griep's writing and, wow, it was a fun ride! This book combines a little history, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and a heapful of romance to draw the reader in from page one. The writing is easy to follow and the book is very well-written. The plot is engaging and there are many twists and turns in the storyline that the reader is kept guessing until the very end of the book. The premise of the book reminded me of the board game Clue...or Agatha Christi This book was my introduction to Michelle Griep's writing and, wow, it was a fun ride! This book combines a little history, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and a heapful of romance to draw the reader in from page one. The writing is easy to follow and the book is very well-written. The plot is engaging and there are many twists and turns in the storyline that the reader is kept guessing until the very end of the book. The premise of the book reminded me of the board game Clue...or Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Three men and three women are invited to Bleakley Manor for the Twelve Days of Christmas celebration and they are promised something in return if they stay the entire twelve nights - but the promised reward is only for the last person remaining at the end of twelve days. Cue the rolling fog and eery music....Clara and Ben, the main characters of the story and two of the invited, are wonderfully detailed in their personalities, flaws, dreams, and desires. Their shared painful past divides them but also draws them together. I'm definitely looking forward to the second installment of this series and will be on the look out for more of Michelle Griep's books. I received an ARC of the book from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley. I was not required to write a review or a favorable review. All comment and opinions are solely my own.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Clara Chapman has fallen from high society, a woman about to be married;to a poor girl taking care of her invalid aunt. When an odd invitation comes, inviting her to spend the 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor in exchange for a goodly sum, Clara decides to accept the offer. However, things are not as they seem at the old,odd mansion. Other guests show up in hopes of a reward and the host is conspicuously absent.Griep toys with the reader's mind as each guest is presented and well-drawn with Clara Chapman has fallen from high society, a woman about to be married;to a poor girl taking care of her invalid aunt. When an odd invitation comes, inviting her to spend the 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor in exchange for a goodly sum, Clara decides to accept the offer. However, things are not as they seem at the old,odd mansion. Other guests show up in hopes of a reward and the host is conspicuously absent.Griep toys with the reader's mind as each guest is presented and well-drawn with both clues and secrets. I was glued to my chair as I tried to figure out what part each character would play in the mesmerizing drama. Or was I (and other readers)being intentionally sent on a red-herring chase?Michelle Griep depicts the times, settings, and peoples well. She has proven herself a very versatile writer, able to perform well in whatever genre she chooses.I appreciated the footnote early on that urges reader to see the back of the book for historical traditions. More historical fiction books could take a lesson from Griep. Quotable:"Worrying doesn't stop the bad from happening. It keeps you from enjoying the good."I received an ARC from the author. I am freely leaving this review, for which opinions I am solely responsible.
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  • Lucinda
    January 1, 1970
    This one is so good! How lucky am I to get an ARC! Thank you, Michelle and Barbour Publishing. It gripped me from the first chapter. What happens when the person you loved and thought you knew turns out to be your biggest traitor? And then you come face to face with them and not everything as it seems to be. I loved the backstory between Clara and Ben. There was so much hurt but also so much love. And so many twists in this story! And there's even a little cameo appearance by Charles Dickens! Ho This one is so good! How lucky am I to get an ARC! Thank you, Michelle and Barbour Publishing. It gripped me from the first chapter. What happens when the person you loved and thought you knew turns out to be your biggest traitor? And then you come face to face with them and not everything as it seems to be. I loved the backstory between Clara and Ben. There was so much hurt but also so much love. And so many twists in this story! And there's even a little cameo appearance by Charles Dickens! How cool is that!It's a story of second chances and redeemed love, delivered in Michelle Griep's gripping writing style that I've come to expect and love.Highly recommend!
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. 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.Imp When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. 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 for the Twelve Days of Christmas, 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 . . . loveThis is a cozy mystery with all the right ingredients. Everyone who comes to Bleakly Manor for the 12 days is promised something known only to themselves. Everything is so mysterious, including the manor itself. Nothing is as it seems to these guests for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie, this mystery will reel you in and keep you guessing to the very end. I'm happy to see there will be more in this series. Michelle Griep is a favorite of mine and she has proven that she is quite capable of switching genres very easily and continuing to be a favorite in each.*I was given a preview copy of this book by the publisher. My opinion is entirely my own.
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  • Lynda Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    This book is fun, quirky, and not at all what I expected. Yes, the book is set during Christmas and the days following, but it really isn't a story about the holiday. Instead, Michelle Griep explores relationships and how we perceive people, both those long acquainted but separated for a time, and those who are strangers until thrust into unusual circumstances together. There's a mysterious air owing to the absent host, who makes many demands of his guests while not even present to enjoy the spe This book is fun, quirky, and not at all what I expected. Yes, the book is set during Christmas and the days following, but it really isn't a story about the holiday. Instead, Michelle Griep explores relationships and how we perceive people, both those long acquainted but separated for a time, and those who are strangers until thrust into unusual circumstances together. There's a mysterious air owing to the absent host, who makes many demands of his guests while not even present to enjoy the spectacle. The guests themselves all have issues of varying types, including an older woman with mice as companions, an inspector who wants to improve his station in life, and our main characters who have to discover the truth and learn to trust each other again; there is no shortage of material in this short novel and the author expertly balances character development without overwhelming the reader with unnecessary information. Even though this book is set during the period around Christmas, it can easily be read and enjoyed at any time of year. I recommend it for those who enjoy Victorian era stories, historical romance readers, and, of course, anyone who likes a story that takes place during Christmas. The author helpfully includes a guide to Victorian Christmas traditions at the end for those who may be unfamiliar with them. I received a free copy of this book from the author and publisher but was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed are both honest and my own.
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  • Nicole Sterling
    January 1, 1970
    This was quite a charming novel, set during the twelve days of Christmas in 1850. Our main protagonist, Clara, has fallen on hard times after being left at the altar nine months before, and now has to live with her ailing aunt, who is kind and loving, but dying. When she receives an invitation to spend the twelve days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor in exchange for 500 pounds, she hesitates to leave her aunt, even thought that sum of money would help her take care of herself after her aunt passes. This was quite a charming novel, set during the twelve days of Christmas in 1850. Our main protagonist, Clara, has fallen on hard times after being left at the altar nine months before, and now has to live with her ailing aunt, who is kind and loving, but dying. When she receives an invitation to spend the twelve days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor in exchange for 500 pounds, she hesitates to leave her aunt, even thought that sum of money would help her take care of herself after her aunt passes. Her aunt encourages her to go, though, so she does. When she arrives, she finds herself thrown in with an odd assortment of characters, including her ex-fiancé, whom she hadn't seen or heard from since before the wedding day he was absent for. They find themselves in a "Clue"-style situation, where the host is unknown and strange & menacing things keep happening. It was never too convoluted to follow, but it was also never so easy to figure out that I was bored. I enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to reading the second book when it comes out next year. I received a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a truthful review.
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  • Trixi
    January 1, 1970
    What fate awaits a cast of seven eccentric characters who heed the missive of a single gold embossed envelop inviting them to spend 12 days at Bleakly Manor? That's what the reader will find out in this cleverly written mystery! Only one will receive the prize promised within the letter and each are determined to stay. Even when mishaps begin to happen! Mystery, mayhem, a manor full of secrets and a missing host mash up in this page turner! Unique and eccentric characters, vividly told scenery s What fate awaits a cast of seven eccentric characters who heed the missive of a single gold embossed envelop inviting them to spend 12 days at Bleakly Manor? That's what the reader will find out in this cleverly written mystery! Only one will receive the prize promised within the letter and each are determined to stay. Even when mishaps begin to happen! Mystery, mayhem, a manor full of secrets and a missing host mash up in this page turner! Unique and eccentric characters, vividly told scenery so real you think you've stepped in the story yourself, clues cleverly dropped, all sprinkled with a second chance love story. What a fun read! *I received a complimentary early copy from the author. No favorable review was required and opinions expressed here are all my own. *
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  • Nicki
    January 1, 1970
    I felt like I stepped back in time. The manor sounded grand, but a bit bizarre at the same time. What a combination of characters to have at a holiday gathering. Each person had such an interesting reason to be at the manor. I truly expected the servants to slowly disappear one by one and have the guests fix their own meals. This book was a book I had a hard time setting down. I was hoping there was a way for all to get their hearts desire. But only one can win the grand prize. I liked the conce I felt like I stepped back in time. The manor sounded grand, but a bit bizarre at the same time. What a combination of characters to have at a holiday gathering. Each person had such an interesting reason to be at the manor. I truly expected the servants to slowly disappear one by one and have the guests fix their own meals. This book was a book I had a hard time setting down. I was hoping there was a way for all to get their hearts desire. But only one can win the grand prize. I liked the concept of the book. The pace was good and kept me entranced. This story works well for a historic cozy mystery too. What a delight!i received this book on NetGalley.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    This is gripping, entangling, heart pounding, enthralling and a tale that opens your eyes to how GOD can move mountains in humongous ways. What a heart gripping tale of two loves - coming from two different directions. One believed he left her at the later and he believed she had him put in prison for embezzling their families companies money on the day of their wedding. Both wanting explanations both wanting revenge both wanting to love again. You feel yourself being pulled deeper and deeper in This is gripping, entangling, heart pounding, enthralling and a tale that opens your eyes to how GOD can move mountains in humongous ways. What a heart gripping tale of two loves - coming from two different directions. One believed he left her at the later and he believed she had him put in prison for embezzling their families companies money on the day of their wedding. Both wanting explanations both wanting revenge both wanting to love again. You feel yourself being pulled deeper and deeper into the story with each new amazingly hauntingly huge disaster after another, as dangerous as it were. I started reading it late at night and found myself greeting my kid in the morning as I was fine wishing it cause there was no way was I going to put this down til I was done and I knew it all and I tell you - you won't either. You will love and adore it like I do. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed in this review are all my own.
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  • Kella
    January 1, 1970
    Christmas is nearly upon us…and yes, 4 months away means nearly in my book!!…and Michelle Griep is gifting her readers with a gloriously comedic Victorian theater dinner-esque novel wrapped with murder, mystery, and a hint of chocolate.12 Days at Bleakly Manor is all sorts of intrigue and fun, with a dash of nefarious deeds and all the makings of a page turner. Lovers of Charles Dickinson and Agatha Christie will find themselves quite pleased with Griep’s homage to Bleak House and And Then There Christmas is nearly upon us…and yes, 4 months away means nearly in my book!!…and Michelle Griep is gifting her readers with a gloriously comedic Victorian theater dinner-esque novel wrapped with murder, mystery, and a hint of chocolate.12 Days at Bleakly Manor is all sorts of intrigue and fun, with a dash of nefarious deeds and all the makings of a page turner. Lovers of Charles Dickinson and Agatha Christie will find themselves quite pleased with Griep’s homage to Bleak House and And Then There Were None with the unexpected twists, robust characters, and cheery Christmas celebrations. Releasing on Friday, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is a must-read this holiday season and is available for pre-order now!Read more of my review at: http://ow.ly/wN7v30eLbfC
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  • Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)
    January 1, 1970
    See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com...As I opened the pages and began to read I was instantly catapulted to December 24, 1850. It may have been early August in reality, but in my mind’s eye, I was there in the story. I could smell the musty drapes and wood smoke; I could feel the sting of the cold on my fingers and toes. My senses sprang to alertness as I tried to discover who was behind the mysterious transgressions. Would my favorite characters make it to the end of the s See full review at: https://joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com...As I opened the pages and began to read I was instantly catapulted to December 24, 1850. It may have been early August in reality, but in my mind’s eye, I was there in the story. I could smell the musty drapes and wood smoke; I could feel the sting of the cold on my fingers and toes. My senses sprang to alertness as I tried to discover who was behind the mysterious transgressions. Would my favorite characters make it to the end of the story?In just under 200 pages, Michelle Griep has penned a spine-tingling Christmas mystery to rival that of Charles Dickens himself, and I was blissfully along for the ride. Kept on the edge of my seat with curiosity until the very last chapter when, like a beautiful Amaryllis, all was expertly revealed.Underlying the twists and turns of this delightful page-turning story, the magnetic characters, and the realistic detailed setting is the gentle reminder of our Savior’s love, we are all “inherently precious” and “we have all fallen from grace, yet it is grace alone that saves the worst of us.”Bottom line: I loved this fantastic 5-Star book and I can’t wait to read the next one!(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Publisher's Description: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 guest Publisher's Description: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 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. My Thoughts:This book is romantic suspense at it's best with a Christmas/Holiday backdrop thrown in for good measure. A Christmas theme is a plus as this is the time of year I look forward to reading new Holiday romance stories.I admit to never having heard of or read anything else by this particular author, but I will look for more from her in the future. I am always on the lookout for new to me authors and Michelle Griep has surpassed my expectations.I gave this book 4.5 of 5.0 stars for storyline and character development and a sensual rating of 2 of 5 flames. This book is mostly a mystery with a second chance love story added for good measure.There is an Agatha Christie like plot and feel to this sweetly told Christian romantic suspense novel.I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley to read. This in no way affected my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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  • Vickie
    January 1, 1970
    Clara Chapman was left at the altar by Benjamin Lane who seemed to disappear. Along with her family's fortune and that of the company Ben and her brother worked for. Impoverished and shunned by those she thought were friends, she has lived the past year with her sickly aunt. She receives an invitation to spend the Twelve Day celebration at Bleakly Manor. If she stays the entire time she will receive five hundreds pounds.Benjamin Lane was stopped on his way to the altar, arrested and tried withou Clara Chapman was left at the altar by Benjamin Lane who seemed to disappear. Along with her family's fortune and that of the company Ben and her brother worked for. Impoverished and shunned by those she thought were friends, she has lived the past year with her sickly aunt. She receives an invitation to spend the Twelve Day celebration at Bleakly Manor. If she stays the entire time she will receive five hundreds pounds.Benjamin Lane was stopped on his way to the altar, arrested and tried without ever having seen the charges or who his accuser was before spending time in prison, branded and heading for transportation. On the eve before transportation he receives an envelope stating that if he remains at Bleakly Manor for the Twelve Day celebration he will receive his freedom. If he leaves, he will be shot for attempting to flee.Both arrive at Bleakly Manor and are shocked to see the other whom they feel betrayed by. They are joined by others who also have received invitations with a promise of reward should they remain the entire time. They are a strange lot that do not make for a comfortable house party. They never see the master of the house and have no clue who their host is. Accidents begin to whittle down those who are there. Who will be the last one there to win the promised prize? One of the quotes from the book that stood out is when Ben says "Sometimes all we have are questions." He shook his head. Lord knows he'd had his share of them while rotting in a gaol cell. "But there's really only one that matters." She blinked, an endearing little wrinkle bunching her nose. "What's that?" "Is God in control, or is He not?"This is a book about second chances for all the house guests that will reveal their true character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next in the series. I received an advance copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Wanda Maynard
    January 1, 1970
    Listen! Can you hear the clock in the background ticking away the hours as unseen eyes watch from the shadows? In this shrouded, deep mystery of a tale, who will stay? Who will depart from Bleakly Manor? Even the title and front cover shows suspense, along with Christmas spirit and maybe a little sadness thrown in for good measure. I loved the way the details gradually unfolded to develop the plot. And, to top it off, a little romance to go along with the Victorian manor style home. Plus; that g Listen! Can you hear the clock in the background ticking away the hours as unseen eyes watch from the shadows? In this shrouded, deep mystery of a tale, who will stay? Who will depart from Bleakly Manor? Even the title and front cover shows suspense, along with Christmas spirit and maybe a little sadness thrown in for good measure. I loved the way the details gradually unfolded to develop the plot. And, to top it off, a little romance to go along with the Victorian manor style home. Plus; that gloomy-filled atmosphere surrounding the countryside made for a splendid drama setting. On page 44 of 12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR, when Clara described the strong and slightly unpleasant sensation, I could almost smell the offensive odor. I love this book! The story itself seemed to come to life, and became even more mysterious as each page unfolded, with anger, confusion, doubt, Indignation, heart-aches, and thievery. And, in turn, it kept my interest piqued right up to the end. The characters were so delightful, and I was glad to be given a chance to know them. I loved meeting all of them! But especially Clara and Ben. While some were so heart-warming and welcomed me in the manor with open arms, others seemed to beckon me in with that slight warning from their cold stare to beware of what could be inside. I simply devoured this amazing work of art, and look forward to reading yet more work from this fantastic author, Michelle Griep. In my opinion, a brilliant achievement!! A well deserved five star rating because it was so extremely pleasing to read and reread again.
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  • BlueJeansAndTeacups
    January 1, 1970
    •°o•:*:•. Wow! Game of ‘Clue’ set in 1850 London .•:*:• o°•This story had so many twists and turns and really kept me guessing. It very much reminded me of the game of Clue with its quirky characters and mysterious manor. It kept me guessing all the way through. Each person had received an invitation to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas (Dec 25 to Jan 5). Each guest received a cryptic invitation and would win a gift important only to them IF they could last the entire time. Kindhearted Clar •°o•:*:•. Wow! Game of ‘Clue’ set in 1850 London .•:*:• o°•This story had so many twists and turns and really kept me guessing. It very much reminded me of the game of Clue with its quirky characters and mysterious manor. It kept me guessing all the way through. Each person had received an invitation to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas (Dec 25 to Jan 5). Each guest received a cryptic invitation and would win a gift important only to them IF they could last the entire time. Kindhearted Clara and honorable Benjamin each received invitations, not knowing the other had as well. Each had suffered much, and finding their way back to each other was unexpected for both, but because of their faith and buried love for one another, it was not as difficult as they would have imagined. The big reason for the mystery was not one I would have guessed AT ALL! What a fun and unique surprise. A favorite supporting character was Miss Scurry and her box of “friends”. She was a kind hearted elderly lady who just wanted companionship. I enjoyed this story very much, and the cover is gorgeous! © To be released September 2017, Shiloh Run Press, 182 pages – 31 chaptersI received an advance eCopy from NetGalley., in exchange for my honest opinion which I am privileged to provide, with no further compensation.SERIES: Once Upon A Dickens ChristmasBook #2 A Tale of Two Hearts is expected in Fall 2018
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  • Dana Kamstra
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for something a bit different to read this year around the holidays, look no further than Michell’s Griep’s 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, the first book of her Once Upon a Dickens Christmas.The book holds so many things that I find reminiscent of the actual Charles Dickens novels that I’ve read. Mainly in the characters with fairly eccentric natures. It was this that stood out most strongly in this book and was one of the reasons that I adored it. With that said, there was somethi If you are looking for something a bit different to read this year around the holidays, look no further than Michell’s Griep’s 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, the first book of her Once Upon a Dickens Christmas.The book holds so many things that I find reminiscent of the actual Charles Dickens novels that I’ve read. Mainly in the characters with fairly eccentric natures. It was this that stood out most strongly in this book and was one of the reasons that I adored it. With that said, there was something about this book that didn’t jive quite as well with me, but I can’t quite pin what it was. And it may just simply be a case of my expectations being one thing and then getting something different. I’ll add that this book may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It is a different sort of story in some of the mysterious happenings at Bleakly Manor. But I still found it to be a fun and charming quick read that I really did enjoy.**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    "The Twelve Days of Christmas, As never's been reveled, Your presence, Miss Chapman, is respectfully herald." "Why God? Why?" Clara Chapman has whispered the prayer a thousand times over the past months; stripped of her wealth, left at the altar by the man she loved, and betrayed beyond measure, she has nearly lost hope of an happily ever after. When the finely embossed invitation to Bleakly Manor arrives at the door of her aunt's modest residence on Christmas Eve, she has no idea what it means, "The Twelve Days of Christmas, As never's been reveled, Your presence, Miss Chapman, is respectfully herald." "Why God? Why?" Clara Chapman has whispered the prayer a thousand times over the past months; stripped of her wealth, left at the altar by the man she loved, and betrayed beyond measure, she has nearly lost hope of an happily ever after. When the finely embossed invitation to Bleakly Manor arrives at the door of her aunt's modest residence on Christmas Eve, she has no idea what it means, but dutifully responds to her dear relative's advice, "One does not question an opportunity, my dear. One simply mounts it and rides."Benjamin Lane is angry, hungry, and cold; wasting away in a London prison for a crime he did not commit. To his complete astonishment, a taste of freedom appears when he is curiously transported to Bleakly Manor, only to discover that the woman whom he never thought to see again has arrived as well, along with a smorgasbord of curious guests with their own invitations and agendas; some rather nefarious, others quite innocent. Stranger things have never happened than during the 12 Days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor.I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions stated are entirely my own.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Michelle Griep is an author I've always enjoyed ever since I found her. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is a rollicking read that takes place over Christmas. A random group of people have been invited to spend the twelve days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor. A skeleton staff has been left to see to the needs of the guests. What the guests don't really know is that they are being watched.This book reminds me of those parties where the guests play characters in a murder mystery and the job of each one is t Michelle Griep is an author I've always enjoyed ever since I found her. 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is a rollicking read that takes place over Christmas. A random group of people have been invited to spend the twelve days of Christmas at Bleakly Manor. A skeleton staff has been left to see to the needs of the guests. What the guests don't really know is that they are being watched.This book reminds me of those parties where the guests play characters in a murder mystery and the job of each one is to find out "who-dunit." Clara Chapman and Benjamin Lane are two of the guests. A year ago, they were supposed to be married, but Ben stood Clara up at the altar, or so she thought. While the rest of the guests are having to find what is missing in their lives, Clara and Ben are having to find what they've lost. This is one of the most compelling books I've read in a while. I give it five stars, two thumbs up, and a stay at a manor house.My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.
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