Set in 19th-century England, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, by Michelle Griep, is the first book in a new series called “Once Upon a Dickens Christmas”. Reminiscent of dinner theatre mysteries, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor is a quick and easy read.
Clara Chapman’s groom, Benjamin Lane, disappeared on the day of their wedding. Unbeknownst to her, Ben was kidnapped on his way to the church, and thrown in jail for a crime he did not commit. Both ask, “Why, God? Why me?” Both are invited, along with others, to spend the twelve days of Christmas together, with the promise that whoever lasts all twelve days will be granted his/her wish.
The name Bleakly Manor is perfect, for the huge elaborately furnished manor house is truly bleak with little in the way of food or heat over the twelve days of Christmas. Quickly, human frailties emerge as most try to get rid of the others. Thefts are committed. Several murders are attempted. Will Ben and Clara find love and trust again? Will they make it all twelve days? Will their prayers be answered?
Readers are reminded that Christmas is about love, and nothing else. At the back of the book is information about the twelve days of Christmas (aka, Christmastide), Boxing Day, Childermas, the Yule Log, the New Year’s Coin, Carolers, and Wassil.
What Made This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
Very little: beginning a sentence with a conjunction, and the improper placement of the word “only”.