About the Book
Book Title: A Tale of Two Hearts
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: September 1, 2018
Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.
William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical 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 as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.
Can two hearts survive such a deception?
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I think I may have found a Christmas story that I will want to read year after year. Griep has given us an inspirational story that will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit, no matter what time of year. The characters and their flaws are what really make this story shine, both main and secondary. I’ve always said that you cannot have a good story without great secondary characters and this story proves my point on that. Miss Whymsy was by far my favorite character. Although she wasn’t around often, she provided sound advice for Mina and myself. Her words were gentle yet bold. She reminded me of a nurturing grandmother that always knows exactly what to say.
Of course, being an avid reader myself, I couldn’t help but connect with Mina’s character. Her ability to quote books, and recognize quotes from books was quite impressive. I enjoyed her conversations with William’s uncle. Actually, I wanted to join in the conversations with them. I think Mina and I could be good friends, discussing books and life. With subtle faith themes woven throughout the story, the thing that stuck with me the most with Mina’s growth. She starts out as a dreamer, something I think a lot of young women do. Dreaming about what life would be like outside of their current circumstances. Doesn’t God have a way of showing you that where He’s put you is for a reason? There is a point in the story that Mina realizes maybe all the glitz and glam she was dreaming of is not all it’s cracked up to be. Perhaps her lowly life wasn’t so bad after all, and I have to say that this really struck a chord with me. I enjoyed seeing a character come to the realization that life isn’t always greener on the other side, and appearances aren’t always what they seem.
William had his own demons to sort through as well. At first I wasn’t sure his character was going to change, as it seemed like he was acting the way he would in his past, which is something I thought he was trying to move past. But somewhere along the way he figured it out, and you really saw his character shine. Some of his inner thoughts towards Mina brought a big smile to my face and I found myself wanting to just smack him a time or two. Darn these characters that don’t share their feelings as quickly as you want them to! But in the end, the timing was absolutely perfect. Yes, I can see myself revisiting this story often. The setting, the characters, and the Dickens theme throughout made it an easy and enjoyable read. The only bad part is waiting another whole year for the next installment!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride,The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan.
Guest Post from Michelle
VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS FOODS
So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food?
In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.
Victorian Oyster Stew
Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid 1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey.
Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.
What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid 1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home.
And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruit cake.
Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table.
If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.
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Genesis 5020, October 3
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Baker Kella, October 3
Among the Reads, October 4
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Captive Dreams Window, October 5
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Splashes of Joy , October 7
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7
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Janice’s Book Reviews, October 8
Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, October 9
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 9
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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ef/a-tale-of-two-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway