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Fast-paced read with an Agatha Christie feel to it, this Christmas mystery brought crime and romance to an eclectic group of Victorian characters. Charles Dickens has a cameo, making this a delightfully surprising book with twists and turns to entertain any reader. It's a quick read, so you only need a few hours to go from beginning to end, and if you read by a fire with a cup of hot tea, you'll feel like you're sitting right inside the book.
Clara Chapman gets an intriguing letter bidding her come to Bleakly Manor, where, if she stays for twelve days, she will receive 500 pounds. Desperate for money after her ex-fiance embezzled from her family's company, she agrees and heads off to the manor. Little does she know that said ex-fiance, Benjamin Lane, also received a letter. His prize? Freedom, after being falsely imprisoned for the past nine months. Their meeting is bittersweet, as both feels the one has betrayed the other. But they soon realize their problems are much bigger as accidents begin to happen to the other guests. Christmas at Bleakly Manor may not be as merry as they first hoped, and their rekindled love may not be enough to save them.
Both Clara and Ben were relatable characters, with imperfections that helped the reader connect with them quickly. Clara was, perhaps, a bit more frustrating, because she did have moments where I just wanted to shake her. She was slow to believe in Ben's innocence, even when it should have been obvious. If you love someone, should it be so easy to believe they would steal from you? Ben was charming and quickly forgave Clara for her disbelief, which was admirable. It made me like him even more in the end.
Michelle Griep writes yet another good read, and this will be great for Christmastime. It's quick, enjoyable, and inspiring.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**