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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Michelle Griep
expected publication date: 1 September 2017
3/5 stars

In 1851, Clara, newly impoverished, receives a mysterious invitation to stay at Bleakly Manor for the Twelve Days of Christmas, with a promise of 500 pounds if she stays through to the end. Arriving there, she finds other guests who have been given similar invitations with differing promises if they stay all twelve days. One of the guests is Ben, from her past and an unwelcome addition. These twelve days become a time of second chances for the two of them.

This short book is very light reading, at times insipid, with a plot not fully believable and stereotypical characters. The Victorian atmosphere was not well pulled off, and details such as mores, language, and customers were often not quite right. Advertised as a Christian novel, it has only brief mentions of the faith. However, Griep did a great job of gradually revealing the past stories of Clara and Ben, which raises this book to three stars for me. Overall, though, while I didn't hate it, I wouldn't recommend it either.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Lost by Jonathan Aycliffe

The Lost
Jonathan Aycliffe
2/5 stars

After his Romanian father's death, Englishman Michael discovers that he is the heir to a castle in Romania.  A series of frightening events follow him, as well as his friends back in England, as he makes his way to the castle.  Once there, he discovers the terrible secret of his family.

Excellently written in the epistolary style, The Lost mirrors Dracula in some ways.  Like the original, it builds in suspense slowly, given the reader an increasing sense of unease.  Unlike the original, though, it falls flat with it's climax.  In addition, there were several unexplained circumstances and loose ends.  Overall, I found it to be quite disappointing.