A Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, #2)
London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming 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. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost. Can two hearts survive such deception?

A Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, #2) Details

TitleA Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 2018
PublisherShiloh Run Press
ISBN-139781683222590
Rating
GenreHoliday, Christmas, Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction, Christian, Fiction

A Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, #2) Review

  • Julie Carpenter
    January 1, 1970
    Isn't it just a wonderful feeling when you read a book and while reading it you feel so happy and content? Then to finish it and you're still contemplating the story and characters that have left you changed and wanting to do better/be better? I sure love that feeling and that is definitely how I felt while reading Michelle Griep's latest book. I absolutely love Charles Dickens. Confession-I've read several of his books but not all, but I have watched and rewatched several different adaptions of Isn't it just a wonderful feeling when you read a book and while reading it you feel so happy and content? Then to finish it and you're still contemplating the story and characters that have left you changed and wanting to do better/be better? I sure love that feeling and that is definitely how I felt while reading Michelle Griep's latest book. I absolutely love Charles Dickens. Confession-I've read several of his books but not all, but I have watched and rewatched several different adaptions of most of his books and absolutely love his characters and his way of showing life and people, struggles and triumph. I loved his little cameo in one of the scenes of this book but I especially loved how much our heroine, Mina Scott, loved Dickens' works. Plus as readers we get a little bonus throughout this book, the beginning of every chapter has a quote from different books by Dickens and the quote fits perfect with the chapter and what is happening with the characters in the upcoming scenes.I loved the title of this book and the play on Dickens' book title A Tale of Two Cities. I loved these two characters who are flawed, have past mistakes, struggles and yet there is hope and goodness in them. They have dreams and desires that are good and are trying to navigate life the best they can. Sometimes they don't make the best choices and problems ensue because of those choices. But, I loved watching the inner turmoil. Isn't that how we all are? We have to make choices constantly. Sometimes those choices lead us where we want to go, or where we think we should go. And sometimes those choices lead us down paths that we shouldn't go and we wish we could take back heading in that direction. Michelle Griep illustrates so beautifully this concept of choices, mistakes and redemption in this story. Second chances can mean the world of difference in a life. Are we willing to offer them so that we might receive them?Mina is such a sweet character. I loved her hope, her character not dwelling on her past struggles as much as she could have. Her dreams are very real and she tries to reach for them as well as trying to be kind and helpful to those in need. She's not afraid to own up to her mistakes even though it is hard. Fabulous character and perfect for William Barlow who needs a little bit more patience, love and understanding than he sometimes might deserve. That said, I didn't quite know if I would like his character at the beginning. But as more was revealed, I grew to like him. I wasn't always impressed with his choices but I could see his intent and cheered him on when he finally started realizing the path that would lead him to happiness.If you haven't read the first book in this Once upon a Dickens Christmas series, it isn't necessary for reading this second book. But it is also an enjoyable read and another fun tribute to Charles Dickens. Definitely two books that I would recommend. And it doesn't even have to be Christmas time to read them, although that would be a great time to read them.Content: Clean. Nothing beyond kissing. Christian topics are discussed, especially redemption and second chances but was not preachy for those readers who don't necessarily like Christian fiction because of a lot of religious talk. I think most readers would enjoy this book, Christian fiction fans or not.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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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    'Either he believed all he'd heard and read of God, or he didn't.'I enjoyed every moment of this book. Michelle Griep continues her 'Once Upon a Dickens Christmas' series with this second book. A second chance coin features in each novel and it was used so sweetly in this one.Will is having tea with his rich Uncle Barlow, he and his loathsome cousin Percival and his equally obnoxious wife Alice. Uncle Barlow is going to let the men know which he intends to leave his worldly belongings to. But... 'Either he believed all he'd heard and read of God, or he didn't.'I enjoyed every moment of this book. Michelle Griep continues her 'Once Upon a Dickens Christmas' series with this second book. A second chance coin features in each novel and it was used so sweetly in this one.Will is having tea with his rich Uncle Barlow, he and his loathsome cousin Percival and his equally obnoxious wife Alice. Uncle Barlow is going to let the men know which he intends to leave his worldly belongings to. But...Uncle Barlow wants Will to be married. So, Will asks Mina, the young woman who works in her father's tavern which he frequents if she will play the part of his wife for the evening, not knowing that Mina has a huge crush on him. Or did they call it a crush in those days? No matter. Mina really, really likes Will and agrees to the deception. However, her sensibilities betray her after the meeting and she cannot agree to continue with the lie. More is afoot here than meets the eye, though, and the charade must continue in order to protect Uncle Barlow from a very serious fate indeed. Will Mina agree? Will her heart get truly broken into little pieces from a man who merely desires her to play a role?Michelle Griep is a forever favorite of mine. I truly love how adept she is at switching genres so smoothly and making each work great! I just love her work and I don't ever think I'll change my mind. She makes you feel her characters' pain and joy, lets you 'see' the setting. Even her secondary characters are wonderful. Well, except for the loathsome and obnoxious ones. Don't miss this one, folks. Highly recommended.*My thanks to the publisher for a preview copy of this book. My opinions are entirely my own.
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    update 12/3/18: updated my rating"And in the meantime, when ere your fingers rub against the metal, think on more than just the second chance I gave you. Think on the second chance God gives us all, eh love?"A Tale of Two Hearts (2018, Barbour), second in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series by Michelle Griep, is a Christian historical romance set in 1853 London. The novel is a standalone story, and is only connected to 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by the Dickens theme and the presence of update 12/3/18: updated my rating"And in the meantime, when ere your fingers rub against the metal, think on more than just the second chance I gave you. Think on the second chance God gives us all, eh love?"A Tale of Two Hearts (2018, Barbour), second in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series by Michelle Griep, is a Christian historical romance set in 1853 London. The novel is a standalone story, and is only connected to 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by the Dickens theme and the presence of a certain second chance coin, passed along by a secondary character present in both books. I wanted to read this book simply because I read everything I can by this author!Rating: 4.5 stars (update: When I originally gave this book 5 stars, I checked the "dislike" section in the review and felt that all the negatives were either very minor or only reflective of my personal preferences. I overlooked my comments about the language in a different section. While the language issues outlined below were not prevalent, they were present, and not quite what I think should be in Christian fiction.)The heroine: Wilhemina Scott, 23, is the beautiful daughter of an innkeeper. Her life revolves around helping her father, Jasper Scott, run the Golden Egg Inn. Mina loves to read Charles Dickens books and is involved in helping her community. She has quite a crush on William Barlow, one of their patrons. So when he asks a favor of her, "how could she refuse the man she'd cast as the champion in every story she'd read?" The hero: William Barlow has lately been invited to tea by his uncle, who insists that William bring his wife with him. Uncle Barlow is trying to decide which deserving married relative to bequeath his estate to. Will explains to his good friend, "Well, I gave Uncle Barlow the impression I'd recently wed, or I'd not even be considered." Which, of course leads right into a fake marriage trope. As Mina serves him at the inn, he asks, "Say, Mina. You wouldn't be willing to be my bride, would you?" Christian elements:*Prayers are uttered. "Lord, though I don't deserve it…"*There's contemplation on the nature of God during prayer.*"My mother - God rest her - always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o' whittlin' down our current troubles to a size we can crumple up into a ball and toss aside."Is it clean/chaste? Yes, certainly!Language*The cook surprisedly exclaims, "Peas and porridge!" Substitute swear? *The hero of this story utters these British swears: "Thunderation!" and "Blast it!" *"Sweet Heavens! What was he to do?"*"What in all of God's great goodness could…?"What I liked: *I'm not a Dickens expert, but I definitely found some nods to Dickens' stories! *Quotes from Dickens at the beginning of each chapter. I just love to see this in books I read, and these quotes are fabulous. Also, the names of some book titles unknown to me are downright delightful. Martin Chuzzlewit, anyone? I think I need to read more Dickens.*"Pen nibs scritch-scratched like little feet running across so many pages, and the hushed whispers of conferring clerks circled the room, as dry and rustling as leaves caught up in an eddy."*"Pay her no mind, my dear. I should much rather live in a world of unicorns and faeries."What I didn’t like: (all nitpicks or personal preferences)*"Just thinking his name lit a fire in her belly." The on-fire bellies grates on me even though I don't believe the author overdoes it.*At one point, Mina thinks, "Why was God so good to her?" I objected to this statement because she's experiencing something under false pretenses. The reader likely knows that this is a misguided statement, but I think it would have been better left out - or better to have Mina call herself out on her own statement.*Just a couple of nitpicks regarding period language: The phrases "out of context" , "...it's not like I can…" and "...not knowing how the plot wil twist…" feel anachronistic. However, I think Griep does a great job with period-appropriate language in general.*The fake marriage scenario is NOT my favorite romance trope, but as the characters have misgivings about it, it assuaged my feelings. "Her heart twisted, and she drew back her fingers. The old fellow would not say such things if he knew he held the hand of a deceiver." ***********The bottom line: A Tale of Two Hearts was a delightful Christmas read. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Christian historical fiction or Charles Dickens fans. In the very near future, I'll be reading Ladies of Intrigue: 3 Tales of 19th-Century Romance with a Dash of Mystery, also by Ms. Griep.
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  • Rachel McMillan
    January 1, 1970
    The magic of Michelle Griep is that you know she is enjoying what she is writing. That knowing wink to the reader is more alive than the paper and ink of a manuscript ( or at least the type and screen of an e-device). Here, she takes those who spend too much time in the pages of Dickens, his life, writing and work and those who just want a nice Victorian Christmas confection and throws it altogether. The premise is delicious, of course, a young impoverished woman who will go to great lengths to The magic of Michelle Griep is that you know she is enjoying what she is writing. That knowing wink to the reader is more alive than the paper and ink of a manuscript ( or at least the type and screen of an e-device). Here, she takes those who spend too much time in the pages of Dickens, his life, writing and work and those who just want a nice Victorian Christmas confection and throws it altogether. The premise is delicious, of course, a young impoverished woman who will go to great lengths to marry well, a roguish gentleman's son who is very much in need of a bride ---and quickly. This is a sumptuous feast that features two sparkly and indelible characters who are flint and fireworks in their navigation of an unlikely added layer to their deception: William's uncle. I really loved the fact that I closed the last page of this book with my cheeks hurting from a broad and stretching smile. A lovely homage, a Christmas scheme worthy of your favourite Hallmark and a perfectly rendered Victorian tapestry of traditions. At the center, a lovely, lovely, love story.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep is the second installment in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Mina Scott works at The Golden Egg Inn owned by her father, Jasper Scott in 1853 London. Mina is engrossed in David Copperfield when her father finds her and sends her back to work. He fails to understand her love of literature. She enters the taproom and finds her crush William Barlow along with his friend Thomas Fitzroy. William is a law clerk with a gentleman’s upbringing and an ailing mother wi A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep is the second installment in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Mina Scott works at The Golden Egg Inn owned by her father, Jasper Scott in 1853 London. Mina is engrossed in David Copperfield when her father finds her and sends her back to work. He fails to understand her love of literature. She enters the taproom and finds her crush William Barlow along with his friend Thomas Fitzroy. William is a law clerk with a gentleman’s upbringing and an ailing mother with crippling medical bills. His uncle, Charles Barlow is ready to name his heir. It is between William and his conniving cousin, Percy. When William learned his uncle would prefer to leave his estate to a married man, William may have given him the impression he had a bride. Now Charles is hosting a tea for his heirs and their wives and William needs to find a woman willing to play the part. When Mina appears, Williams asks if she will do him the favor of playing his wife for the tea. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned and the deception will need to continue until Christmas. Uncle Barlow is kind, gracious and a lover of literature just like Mina. While she dislikes Percy and his equally odious wife, Mina does like deceiving the sweet man. What happens when the truth is revealed?After reading A Tale of Two Hearts the phrase “oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive” came to mind. I enjoyed reading the book to see how the tale would play out. A Tale of Two Hearts is the second book in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series, but it is a standalone. Michelle Griep brought London in 1853 to life with her descriptions of the clothing, language, literature as well the architecture, cobbled streets, the inn and the insides of the buildings as well as the class stations of the characters. I especially loved the imagery of Purcell’s where they had tea with Uncle Barlow. A Tale of Two Hearts has delightful characters. I especially liked Uncle Barlow and Miss Whymsy. They are two charming people who have a touch of whimsy. There are some good life lessons included in the story. Second chances, forgiveness and Christian charity being the main themes. Every one of us has needed a second chance at one time or another. I thought A Tale of Two Hearts was well-written and had steady pacing which made for an engaging story. The book is told from William and Mina’s point-of-views giving us different perspectives. It is always fascinating to see how different men think from woman. There are references to Charles Dickens work scattered throughout the story. Uncle Barrow loves discussing literature with Mina and challenging her to guess the book title from a quote. My rating for A Tale of Two Hearts is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I highly recommend reading the first book in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series which is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. It has an intriguing mystery and a mysterious atmosphere. A Tale of Two Hearts is the type of story that will leave you smiling and have you longing for Christmas.
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  • Bree
    January 1, 1970
    This book was more than a romance it was a reminder we get second chances in God and with people. Mina wants nothing more than to be with Will in more than a fake marriage. Though she is happy to pretend for his Uncle’s sake, and Will’s. She is a sweet girl with a heart of gold, one that is willing to do anything for those that she love. Her dear friend Effie was the one to remind her of the second chance and give her the second chance coin. Which was the sweetest gift ever, in my opinion. Uncle This book was more than a romance it was a reminder we get second chances in God and with people. Mina wants nothing more than to be with Will in more than a fake marriage. Though she is happy to pretend for his Uncle’s sake, and Will’s. She is a sweet girl with a heart of gold, one that is willing to do anything for those that she love. Her dear friend Effie was the one to remind her of the second chance and give her the second chance coin. Which was the sweetest gift ever, in my opinion. Uncle Barlow is the eccentric character that readers come to expect in the series, he is wonderfully and joyfully my favorite character. The way he and Mina took to each other and fondly shared a passion for books made it easy to enjoy each chapter with him in it.I think Will has the biggest growth in this novel. He learns from his past and present. He is seeing that Mina is a wonderfully and beautifully made woman from God. I liked him from the start, but really liked him in the end.I have fallen in love with Michelle Griep’s words in this book. She has brought to life a era and family that makes this reader smile and think fondly of Dickens. A Tale of Two Hearts will give readers the warm and cozy feelings they look for around the Christmas season.
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  • Karen R
    January 1, 1970
    Another delightful Victorian era story by one of my favorite authors! A faster paced read with a lot of depth. Set in 1853 London around the Christmas season, this shorter novel is full of wonderful characters, Dickens quotes, and plenty of dilemmas to bring the tension level up. Loved the Dickensworthy descriptions of people such as, "He wore his wrinkles like a garment, the deep creases on his face in sore need of a good ironing." A few cameo appearances of recognizable names adds a bit of fu Another delightful Victorian era story by one of my favorite authors! A faster paced read with a lot of depth. Set in 1853 London around the Christmas season, this shorter novel is full of wonderful characters, Dickens quotes, and plenty of dilemmas to bring the tension level up. Loved the Dickensworthy descriptions of people such as, "He wore his wrinkles like a garment, the deep creases on his face in sore need of a good ironing." A few cameo appearances of recognizable names adds a bit of fun too. Inspirational discussions are plentiful, without being preachy, as the main characters wrestle with an ethical dilemma as well as their own faith. Lies and deception underlie motives on all sides, but grace and truth eventually win out in the end. Trusting God and being content with His plan to bring good for those who look to Him, is a hopeful theme. He is the God of second chances as emphasized in Will's life, He gives us grace to start over and extend grace to others. This was an inspirational theme that really stuck with me. Recommend to readers who enjoy a historical setting with a bit of romance and inspiration.(An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars"There is no playing fast and loose with the truth, in any game, without growing the worse for it." - Charles Dickens, "Little Dorrit"And yet . . . . . the truth of the matter was, William Barlow was in a bit of a pickle and the lovely innkeeper's daughter seemed just the right person to ask for a favor; of the honorable kind, that is. (if you could call pretending to be one's wife an honorable role) Much was riding on a family inheritance; a contest of sorts between Will and his pompou 4.5 stars"There is no playing fast and loose with the truth, in any game, without growing the worse for it." - Charles Dickens, "Little Dorrit"And yet . . . . . the truth of the matter was, William Barlow was in a bit of a pickle and the lovely innkeeper's daughter seemed just the right person to ask for a favor; of the honorable kind, that is. (if you could call pretending to be one's wife an honorable role) Much was riding on a family inheritance; a contest of sorts between Will and his pompous cousin, and while Will felt no compunction about risking his own heart. . . . . was it fair to risk Mina's?Plucking Will and Mina directly into a delightful Christmas conundrum, the author almost gleefully declares, "if we knew how things would turn out, then there'd be no need for faith". Indeed!I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions stated are entirely my own!
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful Christmas story about second chances and redemption. It is such a sweet love story and it holds your attention. This book was a joy to read. Thank you Barbour Publishing via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. This is my honest opinion of this book.
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  • Carole Jarvis
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed at The Power of Words: https://bit.ly/2NCjmbmA Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep is enjoyable, intriguing, and very clever. Being transported to the 1853 Victorian world of Dickens is pure pleasure at any time, but there’s just something special about the Christmas season. Michelle Griep is gifted at conveying the essence of a setting and its culture, so much so that I felt like I was in the middle of a PBS period drama, enjoying all the sights, sounds, and aromas of Victorian Englan Reviewed at The Power of Words: https://bit.ly/2NCjmbmA Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep is enjoyable, intriguing, and very clever. Being transported to the 1853 Victorian world of Dickens is pure pleasure at any time, but there’s just something special about the Christmas season. Michelle Griep is gifted at conveying the essence of a setting and its culture, so much so that I felt like I was in the middle of a PBS period drama, enjoying all the sights, sounds, and aromas of Victorian England. This historical romance has unexpected depth and complexity, as well as a plot that captured my interest throughout.“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”- Great ExpectationsEach chapter begins with a Dickens quote that beautifully foreshadows the events that will take place. We meet the delightful members of a secret society dedicated on accomplishing good, the Single Women’s Society of Social Reform, of which Mina is a member. My favorite part is the second-chance coin that is passed around in meaningful ways throughout this series.William and Mina are strong, appealing characters with a sweet chemistry between them. But the unethical situation William put Mina in created insecurity as to his motives. Mina confessed to her friend Effie, “I suppose I feel like a character in a book, not knowing how the plot will twist – and am unable to flip to the last page to find out.”A Tale of Two Hearts is a story of love, grace, and second chances. I loved how it reflects on the need for faith rather than relying on self as it asks the question: Which is more important – the final outcome or the method by which you get there? There were several thought-provoking moments and here are two of my favorite quotes…“My mother always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o’ whittlin’ down our current troubles to a size we can crumple up into a ball and toss aside.” (Effie)“Real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment…even those as dreadful as death.” (Miss Whymsy)A Tale of Two Hearts is a great read at Christmas or any time of the year. I hope for many more stories in the Dickens Christmas series.I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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  • Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars“… think of eternity, then live backward from that.”Y’all! I loved this story so much! And for a shorter page count, it’s full of delicious gems – multiple sentences that I’ve highlighted in my Kindle copy to remember later.Mina is an absolutely delightful heroine – a romantic bookworm with a big heart. (“Were this a novel, she’d skip to the next chapter to see how things turned out.”) Though poor by most standards of the day, she is rich in things that truly matter. A love of books. De 4.5 stars“… think of eternity, then live backward from that.”Y’all! I loved this story so much! And for a shorter page count, it’s full of delicious gems – multiple sentences that I’ve highlighted in my Kindle copy to remember later.Mina is an absolutely delightful heroine – a romantic bookworm with a big heart. (“Were this a novel, she’d skip to the next chapter to see how things turned out.”) Though poor by most standards of the day, she is rich in things that truly matter. A love of books. Dear friends. A loving father (even if he is somewhat misguided at times). A sweet spirit. It’s this sweet spirit, however, that gets her in a spot of trouble when she’s compelled to help Will Barlow (her ‘hero’) by pretending to be his wife.The Dickens references, style, and even a brief appearance by the man himself are deliciously cozy and Christmasy and will warm your bookworm heart. Griep has such a talent for prose, setting, and characters that leap off the page. Such is the case again with A Tale of Two Hearts. The secondary characters (Uncle Barlow) are as vivid & delightful as the protagonists, and I wished for the ability to claim a chair in Uncle Barlow’s library to talk books & Dickens with him and Mina.A gentle thread of faith weaves throughout the story as well, never overpowering it but rather making it more well-rounded and complete. Our God is a God of grace and second chances, even as He is a God of justice. And as Miss Whymsy tells Mina, “You see, my dear, real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment… even those as dreadful as death.”Bottom Line: The perfect choice for anyone who must have always a book in hand, for you’ll feel right at home with Mina, particularly if that book is often a Dickens novel. Delightful and meaningful quotes from his books introduce his chapter, and the overall tone and cadence of the story is an homage to his writing. But even if you’ve only watched the Muppets’ Christmas Carol and never actually read a Dickens novel, you will adore Mina and Will and A Tale of Two Hearts. Cozy, Christmasy, and deliciously written, this is a story to savor and reread every holiday season. Already looking forward to the next installment!(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
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  • Loraine
    January 1, 1970
    This is book 2 in the Once Upon a Dickens' Christmas series, but it reads well as a standalone. This book is delightfully enchanting as you stroll through Dickens' era with Mina Scott and William Barlow. A topsy turvy tale as William embroils Mina in his attempt to appear married for his Uncle Barlow as Barlow decides which of his two nephews would become his heir. Even though William had good intentions to protect his uncle from his cad cousin Percy, the truth from the beginning would have prob This is book 2 in the Once Upon a Dickens' Christmas series, but it reads well as a standalone. This book is delightfully enchanting as you stroll through Dickens' era with Mina Scott and William Barlow. A topsy turvy tale as William embroils Mina in his attempt to appear married for his Uncle Barlow as Barlow decides which of his two nephews would become his heir. Even though William had good intentions to protect his uncle from his cad cousin Percy, the truth from the beginning would have probably saved William as well as Mina from the problems they encountered with Uncle Barlow and Mina's father. The Dickens' quotes at the beginning of each chapter were perfectly connected to whatever took place in the chapter, and Dickens cameo appearance at the fancy restaurant where William took Mina was a cute touch. The play on the title of the story to Dickens A Tale of Two Cities was clever as well. This was definitely an enjoyable Victorian read in which Michelle Griep kept me entertained from start to finish. I will be looking for book number 1 to see what else takes place in Once Upon a Dickens' Christmas.
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  • Jaime Jo Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Michelle Griep has fast become one of my favorite, new-to-me authors. In her latest addition to her Dickens Christmas series, she weaves a warm-hearted Dickens-ish story that left me smelling Christmas spices, sensing holiday warmth, and seriously wanting to decorate my house for Christmas (before HALLOWEEN!). It’s a Can’t-miss Christmas novel that will stay with me through the holiday season.
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  • Jocelyn Green
    January 1, 1970
    A Dickensian delight! Victorian London and the characters within come alive within these pages. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the characters coattails through bustling streets between the Golden Egg Inn, the Palace Tea Room, and more as they wove a tangled web of their own design—and then desperately tried to unravel it before falling through the strands. A refreshing tale perfectly paired with a cup of Christmas tea.
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  • Lucy
    January 1, 1970
    What a delightful Christmas read to get you in the spirit. This is book two in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series, but worked fine as a stand-alone. I loved the Dickens quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Mina is an identifiable character that you will love and root for in this story of unrequited love. William is flawed but saved by grace. A quick but entertaining read to curl up with your cup of tea, as this is a great Cup of Tea read. It has great detail and is complete unlike some What a delightful Christmas read to get you in the spirit. This is book two in the Once Upon A Dickens Christmas series, but worked fine as a stand-alone. I loved the Dickens quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Mina is an identifiable character that you will love and root for in this story of unrequited love. William is flawed but saved by grace. A quick but entertaining read to curl up with your cup of tea, as this is a great Cup of Tea read. It has great detail and is complete unlike some shorter reads. This will go on my Christmas keeper shelf. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/CelebrateLit. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    A Tale of Two Hearts was a delightful story. I felt thoroughly immersed in the time period. Mina and William were characters that I couldn’t help but like, as they matched wits against some truly deplorable relations of William’s.The story had a gentle flow to it, as did the romantic feelings that blossomed between Mina and William. I felt that the author captured the time and place nicely in this story, while also peppering the novella with nods to Dickens throughout.I received a complimentary A Tale of Two Hearts was a delightful story. I felt thoroughly immersed in the time period. Mina and William were characters that I couldn’t help but like, as they matched wits against some truly deplorable relations of William’s.The story had a gentle flow to it, as did the romantic feelings that blossomed between Mina and William. I felt that the author captured the time and place nicely in this story, while also peppering the novella with nods to Dickens throughout.I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.You can read this review on my blog:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • Marguerite Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Now I'm in the Christmas spirit. I wish #3 was out, and I'd go on a Dickens Christmas binge. What a delightful series....
  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    In this second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series we meet Will and Mina along with a cast of secondary characters you love and hate. Will and Mina learn that deception is never the answer to problems, as well as how beautiful grace and second chances can be. Loved the literary allusions and quotations from Ms. Griep. Looking forward to The Old Lace Shop coming in 2019.Thanks to Net Galley for a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • BlueJeansAndTeacups
    January 1, 1970
    •°o•:*:•. Book Lover’s Dream .•:*:• o°•London, 1853 Miss Wilhelmina Scott, aka Mina, serves in her father’s inn, The Golden Egg. But, she much prefers to have her nose in a good book such as ‘David Copperfield’ or daydream of her ‘brown-haired hero’, William Barlow. Miss Whymsy is her former governess and co-conspirator in lending her books and enlisting her help with The Single Women’s Society of Social Reform. Effie is another dear friend who helps guide her in the story and added prayer, olde •°o•:*:•. Book Lover’s Dream .•:*:• o°•London, 1853 Miss Wilhelmina Scott, aka Mina, serves in her father’s inn, The Golden Egg. But, she much prefers to have her nose in a good book such as ‘David Copperfield’ or daydream of her ‘brown-haired hero’, William Barlow. Miss Whymsy is her former governess and co-conspirator in lending her books and enlisting her help with The Single Women’s Society of Social Reform. Effie is another dear friend who helps guide her in the story and added prayer, older wisdom, and grounding in her life. William Barlow frequents her father’s taproom with his good friend and fellow law clerk, Mr. Fitzroy. Mina has been taken with him for the better part of a year and is shocked when he suddenly suggests she become his pretend bride. He is trying to overcome a besmirched past and to win the favor of his uncle while thwarting his scheming cousins, Percy and devious wife Alice.Uncle Barlow is a dear, kind man who enjoys books as much as Mina and is trying to ascertain the best candidate to inherit his home and fortune before he formally names an heir. TEA MOMENT: “He’s invited me to a tea of all things.” His voice smooth as fresh flowing honey, grew louder the closer she drew to his table. Can you imagine that Fitz? A tea. How awful.” A smile curved her mouth as she imagined taking tea with William. Just the two of them. Him in his finest frock coat with a snowy cravat. Her in a new gown. She’d pour a steaming cup for him, and he’d lift a choice little cake to her lips while speaking of his deepest affections. She sighed, warm and contented. “I should think a tea would be very pleasant she murmured.” Both men turned toward her.Tea is referenced several times in this story. SPECIAL QUOTE: “God’s children are never truly alone – especially in a world filled with books.” Miss Whymsy Ch.19A SURPRISE guest happily appears at the end of the story that caused my mouth to fall open. I truly enjoyed this story. To be released September 2018, Barbour Publ., Shiloh Run Press, – 30 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 Christmas Book #1 - 12 Days at Bleakly Manor September 2017Book #2 A Tale of Two Hearts is expected in September 2018Book #3 The Old Lace Shop September 2019
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  • Kelly Bridgewater
    January 1, 1970
    Christmas. London. Victorian era. What could be the better makings for a novel? Maybe some suspense. But Michelle Griep creates a wonderful short story that fits in with the makings of a true Dicken's novel. I enjoyed the first book in the series entitled 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on A Tale of Two Heart too. Boy, am I glad I did. The story comes to life and brings the good feelings that Christmas brings only a couple of months earlier.I really enjoy traveling Christmas. London. Victorian era. What could be the better makings for a novel? Maybe some suspense. But Michelle Griep creates a wonderful short story that fits in with the makings of a true Dicken's novel. I enjoyed the first book in the series entitled 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on A Tale of Two Heart too. Boy, am I glad I did. The story comes to life and brings the good feelings that Christmas brings only a couple of months earlier.I really enjoy traveling to London during the Victorian age with Griep. She wove together a timeless love story filled with intrigue and romance. I loved how well-described Griep make London. I have never been there, but she did a wonderful job at bringing London from a long time ago to life. She dove into the characters personalities and allow me to see how the characters feel and perceive things.The plot kept me spellbound. The top item on my bucket list is to visit London during the Christmas time. I loved how Griep created a story with a fake marriage to win an inheritance from an uncle. The competition between the two cousins captured my imagination. I couldn't wait to see how the story ended. I finished the novel in under a day. It didn't feel like a novella because Griep does a good job at diving into the characters and intermingling them with the plot.The romance was not the typical Victorian romance. I mean, what girl allows herself to pretend to be someone marriage to help them earn an inheritance? What does she get out of it? Slowly, through all the conflicts and moments that could have blown their cover, the romance between Mina and William blossomed into true love.The theme of second chances is created and fulfilled by the uncle and passed onto his nephews. What person does not need a second, or even a third or fourth chance from their past mistakes or encounters?In conclusion, TheTale of Two Hearts is a wonderful, Christmas-type of feeling story. With a different type of plot, Griep captures my attention by creating another keeper for the shelf. I anxiously await the next installment in the story, which is teased at in the final pages of the book. Fans of Johanna Davidson Politano would enjoy this novel.I received a complimentary copy of A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep from Barbour Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I love Michelle Griep's writing! Her Dickens Christmas series is neat in that although the books are sequential, their ties to each other are not such that they have to be read in order (that I can tell...) Book one ties to book two with a side character. She works making hatboxes in the first book, and changes jobs at the end. In the second book she turns up as a fast friend of the main character, but is not central to the story line in either. Then based on the excerpt for book three, a second I love Michelle Griep's writing! Her Dickens Christmas series is neat in that although the books are sequential, their ties to each other are not such that they have to be read in order (that I can tell...) Book one ties to book two with a side character. She works making hatboxes in the first book, and changes jobs at the end. In the second book she turns up as a fast friend of the main character, but is not central to the story line in either. Then based on the excerpt for book three, a secondary character from book two turns up in his new capacity as part of the initiation of the story line. So there are various secondary and side characters who tie the series together, but it does not require reading in order. I also like how Charles Dickens just kind of floats around as someone various people know, and he floats through in public scenes now and again. I've actually learned much about Dickens's writing from this series, and found I might be more interested in his writing than I thought. Ms. Griep opens each chapter of this story with a quote from Charles Dickens or his characters. This is the story of Will and Mina. Mina lives with her nose in a book. She longs to live just one day in the life of one of the grand ladies in her stories. She spends her days serving ale to the customers at her father's inn, the only bright spot being Will Barlow - the handsome man she's cast as the hero of her own imaginings. But when a fake marriage turns to true feelings and a mad dash to expose a dastardly plot by scheming relatives, Will and Mina may find themselves buried in a web of deceit too tangled to undo... It will take all of their faith, and the grace of God to work things out! I can always count on Ms. Griep for sweet, clean romance with twists and turns worthy of Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. I love her characters, and I love that their faith in God plays a central role to their character development. I pretty much read anything she writes now, no question, and buy her books as gifts for my family and friends.
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  • Lisa Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Title: A Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #2)Author: Michelle GriepPages: 192Year: 2018Publisher: Shiloh PressMy rating: 5 out of 5 stars.The first book in the series is titled, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and coming in the Fall of 2019 is book #3 titled, The Old Lace Shop.Here is a very heart-gripping story of redemption, love and second chances. The main couple in the books is Mina who helps her father keep an inn and Will who is a law clerk. Believe me when I say there is defini Title: A Tale of Two Hearts (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #2)Author: Michelle GriepPages: 192Year: 2018Publisher: Shiloh PressMy rating: 5 out of 5 stars.The first book in the series is titled, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor and coming in the Fall of 2019 is book #3 titled, The Old Lace Shop.Here is a very heart-gripping story of redemption, love and second chances. The main couple in the books is Mina who helps her father keep an inn and Will who is a law clerk. Believe me when I say there is definitely more than this to the tale in the pages.I loved the historical setting in London in the year 1853, along with hopes expressed by Mina and her unending love of reading books! Her father doesn’t like her reading, filling her head with the thoughts of romance and more but that doesn’t keep Mina from her books. She has an elderly lady friend who shares her books with Mina and encourages her to read and read.At a time in history when books were a treasure and not easily procured, it makes me very grateful for the books I get the blessing to read and share with others! You’ll love how the story reveals the love of God and His constantly extending to us His forgiveness. How people used to quote books and then see if they could name the story it comes from to the delight of another voracious reader is another aspect of the story that I enjoyed.With being able to read and either borrow or purchase books, what a gift it is to give to others! Consider giving classics and new tales such as this book to those you know or maybe a stranger, so they can escape to the world of wonder found in books!Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo.... Also follow me on [email protected], Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson...
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  • Janice Sisemore
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful Christmas story. Mina and William pretend to be married to his uncle. William wants his uncle to pick him for his inheritance and not his cousin. His cousin just wants to take advantage. Loved Mina friend Miss Whymsy, she was a really enjoyable character. Mina loved books especially Charles Dickens, I always enjoy an character that is a reader. Mina father runs an Inn and helps out. I found the book very enjoyable and exciting. A lot of surprises. Definitely recommend to be on your l A wonderful Christmas story. Mina and William pretend to be married to his uncle. William wants his uncle to pick him for his inheritance and not his cousin. His cousin just wants to take advantage. Loved Mina friend Miss Whymsy, she was a really enjoyable character. Mina loved books especially Charles Dickens, I always enjoy an character that is a reader. Mina father runs an Inn and helps out. I found the book very enjoyable and exciting. A lot of surprises. Definitely recommend to be on your list to read. I received an complementary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review.
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  • Ane Mulligan
    January 1, 1970
    Michelle Griep is possible my favorite author. Her books whisk you away and drop you in old England. Her prose is beautifully written and exquisitely fraught with conflict and suspense. This is one of my favorites of all her books,
  • Jodie Wolfe
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first introduction to Michelle Griep's Dickens Christmas Series. I found it to be delightful as she cited quotations from Dickens at the beginning of each chapter and then mined the premise throughout.Michelle has a gift of weaving a tale to produce a fun story that the reader can't put down while also providing a tapestry of spiritual truths along the way. I highly recommend her work.This book was provided free and I was not obligated in any way to give a favorable review - 2018.
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  • Just Commonly
    January 1, 1970
    "A farthing for your thoughts?"What a delightful short read Michelle Griep's A Tale of Two Hearts is! This is the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas story, but can easily be read as a standalone. I've enjoyed it from start to finish, with the desire to get to the third book too! That ending was sweet, and though not unexpected, it still put a warmth in my heart and a smile on my face."...there's great deal of difference between self-love and self-sacrificing love."A story of second "A farthing for your thoughts?"What a delightful short read Michelle Griep's A Tale of Two Hearts is! This is the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas story, but can easily be read as a standalone. I've enjoyed it from start to finish, with the desire to get to the third book too! That ending was sweet, and though not unexpected, it still put a warmth in my heart and a smile on my face."...there's great deal of difference between self-love and self-sacrificing love."A story of second chances and finding the beauty of the unexpected, while extending the grace of God, A Tale of Two Hearts have all the hallmarks of a Christmas story. Simply a story of two hearts turn one, it gave our characters distinctive personalities and back story, but also learning the truth of their hearts along the way. Nods to literary works, plus the greatness of sacrificial love, this is one story one will love to reread and remember."God’s children are never truly alone – especially in a world filled with books."Yes indeed, and A Tale of Two Hearts is one prime example.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
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  • Nora St Laurent
    January 1, 1970
    This a fun and intriguing read. Readers first meet Mina Scott at the Golden Egg Inn, Mina Scott (the innkeeper’s daughter) is taking a break to read David Copperfield. She loved reading. She could go on so many adventures and take her mind off of work and her father. He didn’t enjoy reading, couldn’t understand why she loved it so much.This is a charming, fun story set in 1853 London when Charles Dickens was doing his writing. Each chapter has a quote from him and/or one of his novels. I enjoyed This a fun and intriguing read. Readers first meet Mina Scott at the Golden Egg Inn, Mina Scott (the innkeeper’s daughter) is taking a break to read David Copperfield. She loved reading. She could go on so many adventures and take her mind off of work and her father. He didn’t enjoy reading, couldn’t understand why she loved it so much.This is a charming, fun story set in 1853 London when Charles Dickens was doing his writing. Each chapter has a quote from him and/or one of his novels. I enjoyed this one from Charles Dickens himself, “Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.”I liked the historical notes at the end of the book describing types of food they would prepare for Christmas Even and Christmas day. She talks about Christmas pudding, Victorian Oyster Stew, Drinking Chocolate, Secret Societies, Florence Nightingale, and the song God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. Fun facts that enhanced the story. This novel is just plain fun to hang out in this time period with characters I enjoyed This book and it’s message gets you in the Christmas spirit. If you like Christmas stories, Charles Dickens and this time period, you’ll love this book. It would be fun as a book club pick as well. The third book in this series comes out in 2019. The title The Old Lace Shop.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher/NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”Nora St. LaurentTBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.orgThe Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine https://www.bookfun.org/page/past-iss...SVP Promotion
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this cozy Dickensian Christmas romance! Uncle Barlow was my favorite because of his good humor and wisdom. The rest of the cast goes about trying to deceive or manipulate him for the most of the book - some for honorable reasons, some not.The romance between William and Mina was sweet and the lessons learned about honesty and what's truly important (people over status) were melded naturally into the story.This Christmas series has been a treat!
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  • writer...
    January 1, 1970
    Captivating! Historical details, unique characters with tangible development, suspense ~ all kept me stealing moments to discover more . . .Ms Griep's writing talents evident once again in this second of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Loveable Mina with her mind on Dickens' novels and her heart lost to William the handsome regular at her father's inn. William himself scheming his way into his Uncle's good graces and taking Mina along for the ride... Family plots and despots piqued my attenti Captivating! Historical details, unique characters with tangible development, suspense ~ all kept me stealing moments to discover more . . .Ms Griep's writing talents evident once again in this second of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Loveable Mina with her mind on Dickens' novels and her heart lost to William the handsome regular at her father's inn. William himself scheming his way into his Uncle's good graces and taking Mina along for the ride... Family plots and despots piqued my attention as I too was taken along for this dynamic reading rollercoaster. And enjoying its buoyancy despite drama and desperation as characters become embroiled in deception.But what will be lost in the final scheme? Is there ever a second chance? Can two hearts survive?
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this second book in Griep's "Once Upon a Dickens Christmas" series even more than the first. Her characters and their struggles with conscience and circumstances beyond their control rang true, even though they come from a very different time and place. In fact, I shared a quote from Mina's dear friend, Effie, to encourage one of MY friends this week: "My mother-God rest her-always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o' whittlin' down our c I enjoyed this second book in Griep's "Once Upon a Dickens Christmas" series even more than the first. Her characters and their struggles with conscience and circumstances beyond their control rang true, even though they come from a very different time and place. In fact, I shared a quote from Mina's dear friend, Effie, to encourage one of MY friends this week: "My mother-God rest her-always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o' whittlin' down our current troubles to a size we can crumple up into a ball and toss aside." Good advice!Like Dickens, Griep gives wonderfully descriptive names to several of her characters, such as the oily Mr. Grimlock, and the lovely Miss Whymsy. Every chapter starts with an appropriate quote from Dickens, and they so whet my appetite that after finishing this book, I went right to my local library for a copy of Bleak House. The last quote of all (from David Copperfield) is spoken by the generous-hearted Uncle Barlow, and beautifully charts the future for Mina and Will: "Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well;...whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest." So uplifting.My only complaint with this book is its size-I wish it had another 100 pages! Pick up this delightful little Victorian romance ANY time of year, and it will be sure to warm your heart more than a cup of wassail.
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