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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Karen
    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Miranda Atchley
    January 1, 1970
    What a delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed A Tale of Two Hearts. It boasts a charming setting, endearing characters, and a lovely message of grace and mercy. I loved heroine Mina. She was the definition of a sweetheart and her love of literature made me want to befriend her. At times, I wasn’t altogether sure about Will, but overall I think he was a decent hero. He made mistakes, but ultimately tried to fix them and had mostly good intentions. Uncle Barlow and Miss Whymsy were such charming ch What a delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed A Tale of Two Hearts. It boasts a charming setting, endearing characters, and a lovely message of grace and mercy. I loved heroine Mina. She was the definition of a sweetheart and her love of literature made me want to befriend her. At times, I wasn’t altogether sure about Will, but overall I think he was a decent hero. He made mistakes, but ultimately tried to fix them and had mostly good intentions. Uncle Barlow and Miss Whymsy were such charming characters–I loved those two! I love the Victorian era and I think it’s the perfect setting for historical Christmas stories. It provides such a cozy setting for this magical season. And I love the nods to Dickens. All of this made for a book that I loved and did not want to put down.All in all, I think it’s plain to see that I enjoyed A Tale of Two Hearts. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and Christmas stories, then I highly recommend this book to you.I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Shilo Run Press through Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Lucinda
    January 1, 1970
    What a charming story! I loved all the reference Dickensian references. William and Mina didn't appear to me right for each other at the beginning. She has a crush on him, but he comes across as not paying attention to her as much as she does to him. When William realizes that his uncle is more likely to choose him as heir if he's married, he asks Mina to pretend to be be his fiancée. She agrees and, of course, not everything goes smoothly. The prose is fantastic, as usual, the imagery working a What a charming story! I loved all the reference Dickensian references. William and Mina didn't appear to me right for each other at the beginning. She has a crush on him, but he comes across as not paying attention to her as much as she does to him. When William realizes that his uncle is more likely to choose him as heir if he's married, he asks Mina to pretend to be be his fiancée. She agrees and, of course, not everything goes smoothly. The prose is fantastic, as usual, the imagery working as an extent of the setting and theme. The characters are expertly developed and even Charles Dickens himself is referenced throughout. And can't forget to mention the Dickens quotes at the beginning of each chapter, of course.Looking forward to #3. It comes to mind that these short novels are like a nod to Dickens' serials. Maybe? I received a copy from the author and publisher and this is my opinion.
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  • Amy Koster
    January 1, 1970
    The second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, A Tale of Two Hearts will put you in a complete Christmas spirit. This story has so many twists and turns. Characters you will love and some you will hate. A beautiful story of second chances and a forgiving heart.Mina Scott won me over with her love of reading! She is selfless and kind. She is fun and just wanted the best for everyone and hoping that also included her. William Barlow is a man with determination of not letting his past become The second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, A Tale of Two Hearts will put you in a complete Christmas spirit. This story has so many twists and turns. Characters you will love and some you will hate. A beautiful story of second chances and a forgiving heart.Mina Scott won me over with her love of reading! She is selfless and kind. She is fun and just wanted the best for everyone and hoping that also included her. William Barlow is a man with determination of not letting his past become his future. I loved watching him fall for Mina without even realizing it was happening.A great story and I cannot wait until the next one. The author has become a favorite of mine and I always look forward to her books.*Please note I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and I was under no obligation to review.
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  • Kristine Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    `Michele Griep's A Tale of Two Hearts is every bit as delightful as her first Christmas story Twelve Days at Bleakley Manor. She fills her stories with charming characters in interesting settings. Ms. Griep's books always teach a lesson but in a way that entertains. I loved the characters Mina and William. They are from different classes but meet at Mina's family's pub. Set at Christmas time the story definitely has a Dicken's feel to it. I read this during one of the hottest weeks of summer, so `Michele Griep's A Tale of Two Hearts is every bit as delightful as her first Christmas story Twelve Days at Bleakley Manor. She fills her stories with charming characters in interesting settings. Ms. Griep's books always teach a lesson but in a way that entertains. I loved the characters Mina and William. They are from different classes but meet at Mina's family's pub. Set at Christmas time the story definitely has a Dicken's feel to it. I read this during one of the hottest weeks of summer, so I turned the AC on high, curled up in a blanket and drank hot tea LOL.So grab your mug of tea and enjoy a good read!I was given this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    Once I picked this one up, I read to the end and it kept me entertained all the way.We are in Dicken’s time in England, and we begin the story in a tavern, with a young girl who is impressed with a man that doesn’t seem to notice her until?Will a man who has become a Christian be able to tell a lie to save the life of his Uncle, sounds so innocent doesn’t it, and will he drag his beautiful friend along with him. I loved the ending of this book, and if you want a quick sweet romance this is it!I Once I picked this one up, I read to the end and it kept me entertained all the way.We are in Dicken’s time in England, and we begin the story in a tavern, with a young girl who is impressed with a man that doesn’t seem to notice her until?Will a man who has become a Christian be able to tell a lie to save the life of his Uncle, sounds so innocent doesn’t it, and will he drag his beautiful friend along with him. I loved the ending of this book, and if you want a quick sweet romance this is it!I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Shiloh Run Press, and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Shonda
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! The setting in which the book took place is very magical. I enjoyed the characters, I really enjoyed the relationship between Mina and Uncle Barlow. Mira’s love for books and how she drew close to Uncle Barlow because of it. Made me smile. This book drew me in from page one and kept me so drawn in until the last page. I was drawn back in time and could smell the oyster stew and see the decorations. Mina is such a sweet character with a big crush on William, William is some wha I loved this book! The setting in which the book took place is very magical. I enjoyed the characters, I really enjoyed the relationship between Mina and Uncle Barlow. Mira’s love for books and how she drew close to Uncle Barlow because of it. Made me smile. This book drew me in from page one and kept me so drawn in until the last page. I was drawn back in time and could smell the oyster stew and see the decorations. Mina is such a sweet character with a big crush on William, William is some what of a bad boy who has learned to change because of God. There are some not so nice characters such as Williams cousin Percy and wife Alice. Uncle Barlow will announce a heir to his fortune and Percy and William have to prove who is the better of the two to inherit his estate. With many twist and turns to the story you will be surprised by the ending. Such a beautiful story of family and romance. Michelle Griep is sure to win many hearts with this wonderful story.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A Tale of Two Hearts is an engaging, sweet, and inspirational story that grips you from page one. I loved the first book in the series, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I was expecting the same suspenseful style of novel. However, while this is not a mystery, the characters and the story carry your through as if it was a page-turning suspense novel.Mina and William capture your heart you as soon as you meet them. While I could see how everything was going to unfold from the beginning, it still did A Tale of Two Hearts is an engaging, sweet, and inspirational story that grips you from page one. I loved the first book in the series, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, and I was expecting the same suspenseful style of novel. However, while this is not a mystery, the characters and the story carry your through as if it was a page-turning suspense novel.Mina and William capture your heart you as soon as you meet them. While I could see how everything was going to unfold from the beginning, it still did not detract from my enjoyment. And the message was sweet and a gentle reminder of how to walk in faith, not fear.Full stars for this sweet and short read. A must have for your bookshelf! I am so thankful I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    What a super book taking place it Dickens time period. Well written and uplifting. Flows very well. The tension in the book is quite good. Highly recommend. I received a copy from the publisher through net galley. Opinions are my own.
  • Lila Diller
    January 1, 1970
    1. How did you feel about the setting? London, 1853, at the time when Charles Dickens was writing. It was obviously well-researched. I even learned what a reticule was by the author's description.2. What do potential readers need to know most about the main character? Mina is a poor innkeeper's daughter who dreams of her crush, William Barlow. When William asks her to help him by pretending to be his new bride for an afternoon, she can't say no. But her heart is more than just an infatuated yout 1. How did you feel about the setting? London, 1853, at the time when Charles Dickens was writing. It was obviously well-researched. I even learned what a reticule was by the author's description.2. What do potential readers need to know most about the main character? Mina is a poor innkeeper's daughter who dreams of her crush, William Barlow. When William asks her to help him by pretending to be his new bride for an afternoon, she can't say no. But her heart is more than just an infatuated youth. She is compassionate for not only his rich Uncle Barlow but also for the less fortunate sick whom she sacrifices to help. Mina is also an intelligent girl, always trying to read the latest Dickens novel, her penchant for reading landing her in Uncle Barlow's good graces, as well as bonding her to my heart as a friend who understands my own hobby. William Barlow, on the other hand, is not quite so likable. It's a good thing the author mentioned his care for his sick mother early on, or I might have been inclined to think of William as a cad, a flirt. He doesn't have the squeakiest past. But he did seem to have changed. I enjoyed the tension of wondering if he really had.3. Which supporting character caught your interest the most? Uncle Barlow, of course, a merry, intelligent, merciful man, gave William a second chance and took an instant liking to Mina. He also reads, quoting Dickens as much as Mina, which of course warms my heart, too.4. What journey does the main character take? Mina journeys from working for her father and escaping through books to living out a real adventure beginning with deception, fear, and pining, ending with integrity, courage, and romance.5. How is the writing style or quality of the writing? Excellent! From the first line, we get a sense of Mina's character and the second paragraph pulls us directly into her life, the setting, the dreariness of her current existence. Masterful storytelling, beautiful editing, and likable, relatable characters! My kind of book! I read 11 chapters in one sitting because I kept wanting to know the character's reactions. I finished in just one more sitting.6. Is there humor in the book? Yes, some, not much.7. (for Christian fiction) Are there spiritual truths to be gleaned from the story? The mentions of God and religion are light. However, William does credit God, along with Uncle Barlow, for his reformation. Whether that was a true conversion or not is finally revealed in chapter 27. Also, the theme of truth and deception is summed up in this great quote: “Maybe—perhaps—true meaning in life had nothing to do with outward trappings but with inward genuineness.”8. For whom would you recommend this book? Anyone who loves literature, especially Dickens, will enjoy his quotes throughout, not only at the beginning of each chapter but also woven into the dialogue and thoughts of the characters themselves. I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a delightful read, suspenseful but light on the mystery, a quick but satisfying read.9. Who will not like this book? I don't know how anyone could not love this book!10. Favorite quotes?“'Oh, pardon me. Did I say that out loud?'”“Uncle Barlow's shoulders shook with a great chuckle. 'Ahh, but you do a heart good.'”“A heroine would've given him some kind of explanation instead of running off like a coward. Oh, what a humbling truth.”“Reading about such intrigues was far different from living it—and she wasn't sure she liked it. At all.”“'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.'”(I received this book for free from the publisher through CelebrateLit. The decision to write a review, as well as the opinions expressed in it, are all my own. I was not compensated for this review.)
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  • Perrianne
    January 1, 1970
    Mina Scott is the daughter of the Innkeeper at the Golden Egg in 1853 London where patron William Barlow is a frequent visitor. Charming William is trying to overcome his wild and gambling ways after parting ways with his former fiancée. Mina would like a relationship with William, but she has no idea of his past. She dreams of escaping the dreary inn life and becoming a real lady with a particular eye on William. How is Mina going to portray the pretend bride, much less a proper lady? She enjoy Mina Scott is the daughter of the Innkeeper at the Golden Egg in 1853 London where patron William Barlow is a frequent visitor. Charming William is trying to overcome his wild and gambling ways after parting ways with his former fiancée. Mina would like a relationship with William, but she has no idea of his past. She dreams of escaping the dreary inn life and becoming a real lady with a particular eye on William. How is Mina going to portray the pretend bride, much less a proper lady? She enjoys reading wonderful stories and sharing them with her friends and as a lowly innkeeper’s daughter knows little of the upper crust of society. A special moment is captured when her friend Miss Whymsy loans her a signed copy of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” I’m sure that books were very expensive in the mid 1800’s and a signed copy was probably very rare in those days. William desires a pretend bride to fool his Uncle into making him his heir. He and his evil cousin Percival are the only two in the running. He talks Mina into tea with his Uncle and being his pretend bride at a lovely tea house. This encounter does not go as well as William had expected and his Uncle decides to wait until Christmas at his country home to announce his heir. How is Mina to convince her overbearing father to let her go to the county unescorted with William? Her older friend Miss Whymsy saves the day as her escort and chaperone. Mina’s other challenge is to fend off the nasty Mr. Grimlock who implies that he has won her father’s favor and permission for the old goat to marry her. This is a wonderful tale with a Dicken’s feel to it through and through. Mina is definitely in over her head with both the tea house and a visit to the uncle in the country, after all innkeeping was a lowly station in life. The visit to the Uncle’s country home seems like quite the disaster, especially with the evil cousin and his churlish wife. They are constantly baiting either Mina or William and trying to figure out what their relationship really is. The delightful Miss Whymsy is a surprising bright spot during the visit and adds to the charm of the tale. Perhaps Miss Wymsy has ideas of her own? Ms. Griep does a wonderful job with the Victorian London era and her characters seem to jump from the page and are very realistic. The awe that Mina has when she first sees the uncle’s library is amazing for a poor innkeeper’s daughter. I’m sure all book lovers will understand how awed she is by the fabulous library. There are quotes from Charles Dickens himself at the beginning of each chapter or lines from one of his many books. I had no idea that he had written quite so many.This is Book 2 in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series and is completely stand alone. However, you would really be missing out on the first book, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor which is also a five-star tale.I received an advance copy of the book from the author. I am not required to give a positive review. My opinions are completely my own and in no way swayed by the complimentary advance copy.
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  • Cathy Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Mina, who works in her father's inn, has been attracted to William, one of the inn's patron's, for months now, but he has never shown any interest in her. Then one day he finds himself in need of a fake bride, just for a night, and asks her to pretend. When she agrees, the two gradually sink deeper into a mire of deception - but they also become increasingly desirous of making the lies come true. The need for a bride relates to his uncle's selection of an heir, and the choice is between a man wi Mina, who works in her father's inn, has been attracted to William, one of the inn's patron's, for months now, but he has never shown any interest in her. Then one day he finds himself in need of a fake bride, just for a night, and asks her to pretend. When she agrees, the two gradually sink deeper into a mire of deception - but they also become increasingly desirous of making the lies come true. The need for a bride relates to his uncle's selection of an heir, and the choice is between a man with an apparently unstained past but terrible intentions and a man with a bad past but excellent intentions - just not always the best way of going about things. When the lies on each side are exposed, who will win? And will two hearts be brought together, or forever sundered?I was a little afraid from the title that the book would try to follow the storyline of a Dickens novel to its detriment, but was pleasantly surprised to find a completely new storyline, with only mentions of and quotes from Dickens, some of which I recognised and others not. Suitable for both fans of Dickens and those who would never touch anything he'd written, this clean and well written story is one that I would highly recommend to readers who like historical romances with a Christian flavour.Characters: The more minor characters were somewhat Dickensian, in that they felt a little like caricatures at times - but Dickens does it well and so does this book. Mina and William felt more realistic, and I liked them both.Storyline: Cleverly done, with the gradual buildup of both lies and conscience. A very satisfying ending, too.Content and language: Clean and well written, no problems noted.Message: Lies get you in a big mess, however well-intentioned? Some Christian content, but nothing over the top.Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    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.” --Miss WhymsyA delightful Christmas tale that centers around two engaging young people living in Victorian London in 1853! William Barlow, a young law clerk with a bit of a wild past, crosses paths with Mina Scott, a free thinking young woman who loves to read Dickens when she’s supposed to be waiting on tables at her father’s inn. As 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.” --Miss WhymsyA delightful Christmas tale that centers around two engaging young people living in Victorian London in 1853! William Barlow, a young law clerk with a bit of a wild past, crosses paths with Mina Scott, a free thinking young woman who loves to read Dickens when she’s supposed to be waiting on tables at her father’s inn. As Mina waits on William day after day, her romantic imagination gets the best of her. When Will needs to come up with a bride quickly, who better to ask than his friend Mina who waits on him! As Mina and Will begin their journey along a path twisted with tall tales and some outright lies, they find their situation more complex than they planned. This story confronts the dilemma of whether or not it is ever okay to lie, even if you are doing it for the best of reasons. The short novel is charming with an interesting cast of secondary characters to entertain the reader. Some of the characters you will like and some you will find to be perfect villains. Get an early jump on your Christmas spirit with this quick holiday read! This ARC copy was received from the author, Barbour Publishing and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
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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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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    A Tale of Two Hearts: Book 2 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep is a moving love-story by Barbour. Every chapter starts with a quote from a beloved book by Charles Dickens and the novel is surrounded by a Dickensian spirit.London 1853, more precisely Golden Egg: Mina Scott is the daughter of Jasper Scott, owner of the inn. Avid reader of Dickens's books, (although her dad doesn't want that she reads because according to his point of view, she wouldn't find any man) Mina Scott sec A Tale of Two Hearts: Book 2 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep is a moving love-story by Barbour. Every chapter starts with a quote from a beloved book by Charles Dickens and the novel is surrounded by a Dickensian spirit.London 1853, more precisely Golden Egg: Mina Scott is the daughter of Jasper Scott, owner of the inn. Avid reader of Dickens's books, (although her dad doesn't want that she reads because according to his point of view, she wouldn't find any man) Mina Scott secretly loves William. William stops by at that inn once in a week for some ale.One day he asks her a big pleasure: to become his wife for deceit. After all William thinks, Mina is culturally prepared; she will avoid bad figures.The purpose of William? He would want to be the heir chosen by uncle Barlow; mr Barlow is a man with a great property and pretty wealthy; Will has a serious problem and for this reason he is searching to become the heir. But, you know: it would be perfect, considering that in the past he hasn't been a saint, to introduce a reassuring good girl, a wife, in grade to "present him" a good reputation as a good man at the eyes of his uncle Barlow. Mina is in love for Will and of course she loves to make him happy although she understands that not all the people involved in this story are so clear.She also understands visiting that estate various times, that more than luxury it is important to be beauty inside, it is important to be good and honest people. This important message will also be launched by Will, when he will decide to help someone lost. With the time Mina understands why Will wanted to be so badly the heir, and although this story starts with a crush, a deceit it will end with a wonderful happy end for all the protagonists, and all the problems will be, for once, like in a dream, or better, I should write, in a book, sorted out.Keep close to you a box of Kleenex because some passages of this book are truly moving.Highly recommended.I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this eBook.Anna Maria Polidori
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a romantic, historical novel based during Christmas time. It is the mid 1800’s in England. This tale focuses on Mina, an innkeeper’s daughter and William, a man who frequently dines at the inn. William is competing against his cousin to be his uncle’s heir and needs a wife to put him in a favorable light. Mina agrees to help him and plays the role of wife for him. Both keep digging a bigger hole with their tales that is harder and harder to get out of. This book is charming and inte This book is a romantic, historical novel based during Christmas time. It is the mid 1800’s in England. This tale focuses on Mina, an innkeeper’s daughter and William, a man who frequently dines at the inn. William is competing against his cousin to be his uncle’s heir and needs a wife to put him in a favorable light. Mina agrees to help him and plays the role of wife for him. Both keep digging a bigger hole with their tales that is harder and harder to get out of. This book is charming and interesting throughout! I really enjoyed reading this book! I highly recommend the book, and believe you will not be disappointed! ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, I have read her books before.
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