Novella Collection Book Review: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

About the Book

Title: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (Barbour Publishing)
Release Date: September 1, 2019

Click here to purchase a copy of this book for yourself.


Publisher's Description

“Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:
 
12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
 
A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?
 
The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.”



My Review

Written by the talented Michelle Griep, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas is a beautiful novella collection featuring three stories that are thoroughly engaging and wholly entertaining.

The collection begins with 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. Set during a dreary winter in Victorian England, this novella creatively explores the themes of loss, love, redemption, faith, and forgiveness through a diverse cast of entertaining and compelling characters. The well-paced plot, brimming with gothic mystery and eerie intrigue, deftly draws the reader fully into the story. As the mysteries unfold, heartwarming scenes provide a balance to those that are heavy with heartbreak. Abounding with surprises and unexpected twists, this novella is genuinely captivating and satisfying. It is a well-crafted story that is uniquely memorable for all the right reasons.

A Tale of Two Hearts, the second novella in the collection, is truly a delightful story. In this novella, Ms. Griep displays a remarkable talent for writing stunningly descriptive sentences that never fail to evoke emotional responses in the reader. The words she sows thoughtfully on the page are like seeds from which feelings, thoughts, and moods grow. Like deep, green vines, her descriptions take root and wind around the reader’s heart and imagination. A Tale of Two Hearts is lush with writing that makes the characters, setting, plot, and themes vibrant with life and authenticity.

The characters in this novella are exceptionally engaging and endearing. Within the span of just a few pages, the characters feel like old friends, and their concerns, hopes, and dreams become a shared experience with the reader. Furthermore, the intrigue, suspense, and romance within the pages, combined with the Victorian Christmas setting, ensure that this novella is utterly compelling and extremely enjoyable.

The final novella in the collection is The Old Lace Shop. Written in the first person perspectives of the two main characters, this story is touching and unforgettable. With meaningful themes of generosity and compassion, this novella is remarkably moving and edifying. Its gripping plot provides plenty of mystery and romance to ponder and savor, and its characters are authentically relatable and memorable. It certainly succeeds at providing a felicitous ending to a wonderful novella collection.

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas includes three stories of second glances and second chances. With new possibilities and new perspectives, they are stories of perseverance and forgiveness. This novella collection offers stories of reconciliation and renewed hope that beautifully depict the gift of God’s grace that is freely offered to all. Like a timeless Christmas tradition, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas is a book that should be revisited again and again. It is charming, inspiring, and immensely satisfying. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.

About the Author


“I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write--except for that graffiti phase I went through as teenager.” –Biography from Michelle Griep’s author page on Amazon.com.



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