Cover Image: Ladies of Intrigue

Ladies of Intrigue

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Member Reviews

The Things That Change In 75 Years Will Capture Your Heart
Let’s start with locations. Cornish seaside? I couldn’t help but picture the little village of Port Isaac (called Portwenn in the Doc Martin series) as being “just around the bend” while I read. That’s one great thing about watching British shows—you get to see some of those places that you read about in other books.

Dakota Territory? The draw of my father’s ballads… rugged land, tensions between natives and military, the bitter cold of Laura Ingalls’ winters. I felt as though I walked with Emmy and saw the heartbreak and pain suffered there.

St. Paul, Minnesota? I’ve been there—sleek skyscrapers, traffic, airports… one-half of the “Twin Cities.” But in A House of Secrets, Ms. Griep showed me an older, seedier side of the town. No, I guess that part of it doesn’t “capture your heart,” but what happens there—what her Joseph does—definitely will.

There’s more, though.
As I’ve often said, I don’t usually care for novellas. They often feel rushed—incomplete. Usually, I want more, and not in a good way. When a reader wants more because they don’t want a story to end, that’s every author’s dream. However, when a reader wants more because they feel as though they’ve been left with an incomplete story… That’s how I usually feel about novellas.

Not these. While I’ve no doubt that Ms. Griep could have turned each one of these into a full-length novel, I didn’t once feel as though I was being dragged past the bullet points of a story. Instead, she wrote each one complete, even if snack-sized instead of a full meal.

Okay, so the characters in these books will capture your heart as well. Seriously, I loved all of them, which is pretty cool. With three books and three time periods—not to mention three locations, the chance that I wouldn’t like one of them was high. Didn’t happen. The only people I didn’t like were ones I wasn’t supposed to. And Ms. Griep did a great job of making me dislike them.

There’s something else about Ladies of Intrigue that you should know.
I said this was about things that did change. But things that didn’t were even more interesting. Each girl had similar attributes. They were all strong without being ridiculously so and each knew her own heart. That was such a nice thing after reading several recently where the girls couldn’t possibly guess what was happening in that important organ! Whatever could this be!?! Gag.

Ms. Griep didn’t do that to me. I’d plop down five stars for that right away. Just sayin’.

Still, with similar elements to their personalities, the girls didn’t feel like a more modern, carbon copy of the previous one(s). Each girl had her own unique story, her own personality, her own reactions to what happened to her. This takes a killer understanding of human nature, and the author showed that beautifully.

Another thing that didn’t change was her phenomenal writing.
Ms. Griep first intrigued me with her ability to take a scene and describe every bit of it that I need to know—and with as few words as possible. Unlike some authors who spend pages describing a single room, *cough, Dickens* she wields her word brush with delicate care. Turns of phrases capture your attention without slipping into personal prose.

In fact, the only thing about the writing that tripped me up was both the second and the third characters, about thirty years apart, used the exclamation, “La!” It jarred me out of the second story a bit. I don’t know if it’s just something incredibly popular among young ladies of the latter half of the 19th century, or if she got into that habit and didn’t realize she’d done it twice in a row.

Seriously, though, if that’s all I have to complain about, well… I’ll take it. I’m so glad I requested a review copy, and I’ll be looking forward to her next book.

Recommended for lovers of historical fiction, books about plucky girls who aren’t determined to prove their superiority to men, and novellas! Three in one, folks!
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Three stories in one; the first is longer followed by two novella length.

The first story starts in a gripping manner with your classic kidnapping, but it's quickly apparent that things are not as they seem. Isaac is a loyal man who I liked for forging a way through tough times and working hard to provide for those dependent on him. Helen has no problem telling Isaac what she thinks of his actions and she gradually comes to understand Isaac's heart, but also isn't afraid to push him to be a better man. Each page kept me turning as I wanted to see their story unfold. The style is what I would term an easy suspense; provides mystery and action but does not get intense. I was surprised when it ended earlier than I thought it would, but it was a good spot to end the story. I would've happily continued reading about them.

The second story did not resonate with me as much. While I enjoyed the developing romance and the sexual tension written into the story line without even a kiss, I struggled to believe in their developing relationship as the story mostly revolved around their internal thoughts and the medical actions, not as much about them getting to know histories, likes, dislikes, etc. I think this was a function of the limited length.

The third story features an already engaged couple. It's not often that we get a romance with a couple in this stage of the relationship which was refreshing. I liked Amanda and Joseph immediately. Joseph for his clear adoration of Amanda and good heart. Though I don't agree with him hiding something from her, I do understand and his motives are so honorable, you can't help but love him more. I admire the way Amanda is determined to break the mold from an overbearing father, but still clearly loves him while doing it.

Each story brings a unique perspective to being an intriguing lady and I encourage you to give it a read.

I received a complementary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are honestly my own.
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Ladies of Intrigue is a perfect combination of romance, mystery, and women who just won’t quit (which could be a bad thing). The length of each story is just right for chilly evenings by the fire. There would be no putting this book down if you make a plan to hunker down for the night.

Michelle’s ability to pull the reader into the story in the first paragraph is what made this more enjoyable. She has a way of putting words together in such a way that all your senses work in tandem to heighten the story experience.

If you can not tell, I loved this collection.

Thank you CelebrateLit for making it possible to read this beautiful book so that I can honestly rave about it. 😁
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Sometimes, a novella is just what you need; I especially love them as palate cleansers between heavier reads. This novella collection from Michelle Griep serves that purpose perfectly.

The Gentleman Smuggler's Lady
I enjoyed this story, though I wish it would've been longer. Griep does a great job of building the chemistry between Helen and Isaac, but I couldn't help but feel that their relationship moved far too quickly. During that time, an engagement could've conceivably happened that quickly, but would they really have been that in love after such a short time? Also, the conflict resolution seemed a little too easy. As I said before, this as a full-length novel would've been wonderful. As a novella? Nice, but not my favorite. 3-1/2 stars. (Note: This novella previously appeared in the Regency Brides Collection.)

The Doctor's Woman
Though this novella was actually shorter than The Gentleman Smuggler's Lady, it felt more complete. Some of it, I'm sure, is due to the fact that it covers several months, allowing Emmy and James time to build a relationship. Their chemistry is off the charts, and I enjoyed getting to know some of the minor characters, as well. This is a great example of a novella that is perfectly satisfying in spite of the short length. 4-1/2 stars. (Note: This previously appeared in the Courageous Brides Collection.)

A House of Secrets
This novella is different from the others in that it's not as much of a romance. Amanda and Joseph are already engaged at the novella's beginning, and it's not about them falling in love—it's about learning to trust each other while fighting for the downtrodden. I enjoyed the story, and I wouldn't mind seeing the two of them pop up in future stories. 4 stars. (Note: This previously appeared in the Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection.)

Overall, this was a nice novella collection and a quick, easy read.
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I enjoyed this set of stories. I love this author and this is a perfect introduction to her and her writing style.
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The description may not be clear because it doesn't include previous publishing dates, but these are all repackaged books, so you may have read them in the past. I've noticed this pattern—repackaging older novellas into one volume, but not telling readers. That said, thankfully I hadn’t read any of these stories, so it was a good way to learn about her writing.

Full disclosure, I only read the first two in this novella collection. I found myself growing weary of the voice—the fact that there were a lot of overly told emotional reactions without the opportunity for readers to feel them along with the characters. Repeated melodramatic descriptions of cries “tearing from her throat,” etc. (cliché; melodrama; telling) There were POV issues as well. I noticed these issues in a more recent novel I read by this author, so I may not read more of her work for a while.

On the positive side, there were moments of strong, insightful prose. Some relatable conflicts—will the hero choose the future or the past? If he chooses vengeance, he is choosing to focus his energy on the past. If he chooses his future, he can focus ahead. Those are choices everyone must make.

I write and prefer reading contemporary romance, but sometimes it's fun to immerse myself in a historical world of formality and different customs. That's what I was hoping for with this collection. Though these stories didn't appeal to me, perhaps other readers will enjoy the escape these stories offer.
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I love novella collections, so this was the perfect read for me.  This lovely book contains three novellas all by Michelle Griep.  Each piece is set during the 1800’s, and each story has a dash of intrigue and mystery to it.  It is difficult to review novellas without giving anything away, but just know, if you enjoy reading novellas, you will love this book!  I highly recommend it.  Happy reading friends! 

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."
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I love historical fiction, but I am not usually drawn to short vignette or novella type stories. I also prefer a good old fashioned series that has like 100 books in it so I can really grow attached to the characters and get invested in their lives. Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep does not fit that criteria at all. However, I found myself just as invested in Griep’s characters in these three short(ish) stories. I honestly have not seen the novella length done this well. I am a first time Griep reader but I will most certainly be looking for others books by her.

I’m not quite sure how Griep does it. Within a few pages I was so invested in Helen Fletcher, Emmy Nelson, and Amanda Carston. Griep’s three heroines are all so different, as are the time periods and settings, but the theme of intrigue is present through and through. Aptly named because each of these women and the lives they lead are exactly that… intriguing. I stand amazed at how quickly the characters developed and the stories evolved.  I also love the seamless entwining of spiritual themes. I was impressed with the depth Griep could take us in the every day moments of the characters and in the more intense, thrilling points of the story how God, trust, prayer, and spiritual growth were integrated.

Ladies of Intrigue was a quick and engaging read and I just love the different settings. The Cornish Coast, Dakota Territory, and St. Paul, Minnesota really did take me all over the world and the stories pulled my heart and mind on the journey.

I really adored the strong female characters that pursued their dreams, spoke their minds, and challenged those around them. I’d say the only disappointing thing was that these strong female characters ended up being “defined” by the role they play to their men. The titles of the first two stories (“The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady” and “The Doctor’s Woman”) reflect who the women are in their relationships rather than who they are themselves.  They are such strong ladies , I wish there had been a way for the titles to reflect that rather than beings so heavily weighted toward who they were in relationship to the men in their lives.

That being said the stories were true to the genre, rich in history and full of romance and adventure. The complicated scenery and quick moving story lines were not rushed, which  is totally possible in such short stories. The characters’ development was astoundingly deep for the brevity of the book, and I really was amazed at how connected I felt. I hope you will read on to hear more about the story and read the 3 reasons Michelle Griep gives for reading Historical Fiction. My guess is you may know some of them because you are here already.
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Three novellas with a HEA. 

The first, strangely, read like a retelling of Poldark. Whereas the last story read like the last chapters of a long romance novel. All of them were well-written, but not outstanding.
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Did not care for this book at all. Couldn't get into any of the stories.  Just not enough there to even hold my attention.  May have been wonderful to have all 3 stories as full length.
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For all my historical fiction lovers, Ladies of Intrigue is a fabulous read following three women looking for love in the 19th century. The book is set up in three parts with each section being a completely different story with a different protagonist which makes it an easy quick read. Each of the stories is equally as interesting and well developed that each could have been its own book on its own. If you love historical fiction and are looking for a romantic book this Valentine's Day season then I highly recommend Michelle Griep's newest book.
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Danger looms for three Ladies Of Intrigue...

Over the last year or so I've really come to enjoy Michelle Griep's historical romance so when I saw Ladies Of Intrigue it was a must read for me. I was curious to see if she could write novellas as well as she does her full length novels. 

While the title indicates suspense I found that Ladies Of Intrigue was more historical romance with a healthy dash of adventure. What could be more adventurous than smugglers, a Native American uprising, and a haunted house with many secrets...?

One thing that I would like to note is that those who have difficulty with smaller print will not have that problem with this book. The font size is really nice and easy to read.

I found Michelle Griep's novella collection to be a fairly quick and easy read. The settings, Cornwall, Dakota Territory, and St. Paul, Minnesota, were quite interesting. And I really liked the fact that the stories covered the length of the 1800s, 1815, 1862, and 1890. So, if you are looking for a trio of adventurous and romantic novellas from a talented author Ladies Of Intrigue would be a great choice.

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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Strong women and how they survive and thrive.  These three short stories were very entertaining. The characters were well rounded and interesting.
I enjoyed the historical settings.
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I think these romance stories were pretty good. There was a lot more variety in the characters than I have found in other books in the genre. On the other hand, the characters were pretty flat. The stories were so short that there wasn't time to develop anything like a real connection. Other than that, though, it was good.  I wasn't bored.
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, this review is my personal opinion.

Wonderful collection, in this book we have three-story set in different times and places with very interesting characters.

1- The Gentleman Smuggler's Lady

Cornwall 1815

So, this story first starts when Helen is arriving from Ireland in order to take of his sick father, sadly the boat in where she was traveling are taken by smugglers. From the beginning, we got a glimpse of Helen thoughts and fear and how her answer is always the same: pretend to. She has been fighting with many fears until something unexpected happens and force her to realize that she needs to depend completely on God. On Isaac case, what I like about his story is that sadly and inevitable we all have bee betrayed and like human we all are we want to revenge. I like how Michelle Griep draws the road not only for redemption but for clarity and new opportunity for Isaac. With this story, I like that: 1. God always is on control, even on the painful situations 2. He has a very good memory and never forgets us 3. Is necessary to let go in order to move on. 

The doctor's lady
Mendota, Minnesota 1862

In this story we move on from country and year, from the start we found Emmy for years she was her father helper in his practice of medicine, however, she is facing a big decision. And what she knows so far change and she starts wondering I am really good at this? Is this the road God wants for me?. I think we all have made those questions. In the case of James, he came from Boston with only one purpose, to gain experience and a new insight while working on the fort. But, many unexpected events happen.  Is very interesting how both characters they already had their plans, but God had a different, better one. I believe that with a story. Michelle Griep wants to remind us that is good to dream, have plans. But at end, God is the one who always knows best. 

A house of secrets

St Paul Minnesota, 1890

Amanda is Ladies Aide Chairman, she wants to help to clean St Paul and also gain her father approval. In order to that, she wants to open a  house for the poor's and in order to accomplish that she needs that Joseph her fiancee helps, which is a prominent lawyer of the city. But he has a big secret, that only his best friends know and somehow someone who wants to damage his career founds out and Amanda gets involved in a chain of events. What I like about this story is 1. Amanda struggles to be enough is something with I can relate to. I remember doing things similar when my dad was alive. And is interesting when I finally understood I was loved, accept and I was enough in Him. Just like Amanda. About Joseph, guilt, sorrow, pain can keep us in the past. Michelle Griep uses his experience not only to remind us of a loving and forgiving God. But how forgiving others brings real freedom to our lives.

I recommend this book because:

1- Is a good Christian book.
2- It has suspense, romance, faith and even funny situations
3-Interesting characters. 
4- The descriptions almost make you feel like you are inside the story.
4-Great message.

So, if you like a good Christian fiction historical romance book. This book is a wonderful choice!

Truly grateful to the publisher for the ARC of this book.
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I enjoy reading a novella collection especially when it is by one author. It makes it easier to know what style of writing to expect rather than a compilation of various authors. In this case, it was a charming book with three compelling novellas.

All three Christian historical romances were set in the 1800s but different locations. “The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady” was an adventurous tale set in Cornwall, England. When reading about a gentleman smuggler my mind pictured a television series I watch (Poldark) so of course I loved this novella. This had a nice romance and spiritual message.

The second offering jumps to the American frontier. In Carol Award Winner “The Doctor’s Woman” Emmy travels to Ft. Snelling and begins work helping Dr. Clark. They clash and sparks fly.

Closing out the trio is “A House of Secret’s” which is set in St. Paul. This is a mystery that will have you guessing. Amanda runs across a house with many secrets.

Author Grief has done a exemplary job penning these three stories. Each has been well researched, organized, and planned. Her descriptive account of each tale took me back in time to a place I had never been. The characters were well thought and relatable. I felt like I knew them. They were well rounded and defined so that it was easy to see each one in my mind’s eye.

It is evident that much thought, planning, and research went into this trilogy of novellas. Attention to detail was taken and it made the book a pleasure to read. Each story showed how its characters needed to put their trust in God rather that rely upon themselves. That is a lesson relevant for today, too.

Each tale is filled with adventure, mystery, intrigue, and romance. You will find inspiration, also. Expect some twists and turns along the way to keep things interesting. I would definitely recommend this delightful book. Fans of historical mystery and romance will love it. It gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.
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I enjoy a book with strong female characters and these three stories certainly brought that.  I enjoyed all the stories, and the romance between the characters.  My favorite was the third story though.  I love the dynamic between Amanda and Joseph.  Joseph certainly seemed like the most fun o the three men, and Amanda the most out spoken.  She knew her worth, and so did Joseph.  .
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I read Ladies of Intrigue, by Michelle Griep, at the request of the publisher, Barbour Publishing. This book contains three novellas about strong women ahead of their time. Each one ended too soon for me, as I was enjoying them immensely.

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady takes place on the Cornish coast of England in 1815. Helen Fletcher, a very prim and proper governess travels home to Cornwall to care for her ailing father. The ship she is on is attacked by brigands, one of whom treats her as a gentleman would treat a lady. She is furious, but curious, too.

Imagine her surprise to learn he actually is a gentleman, and a very kind-hearted man who cares deeply for the tenants on his estate. He’s gorgeous, too…

The Doctor’s Woman, a Carol Award Winner, takes place in the Dakota Territory in 1862. Emmy Nelson is the very well-trained daughter of a physician (male, of course). She is frustrated by her aunt’s efforts to keep her busy with a life of high society parties. So, when the doctor for the army camp is delayed, Emmy jumps at the chance to minister to injured and abused Native Americans taken prisoner by the army.

The doctor shows up just after she arrives, and disagrees with her treatment plan for a man whose arm she is trying to save. Turns out, she is right. The good doctor is constantly frustrated with Emmy’s independent streak, and finally realizes he loves her. Will he change his life’s plans for her?

A House of Secrets, is set in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1890. Amanda Carston, the new chair of the Ladies Aide Society, wants to restore an old, dilapidated house to be used as a school with uniforms and books provided for children of poverty-stricken families.

The problem? She has a rival in the society, and she can’t get the deed to the property. Imagine her dismay when she learns her fiancé, Joseph, is the owner of the house, and he has blocked her purchase of the property. Joe is using the “haunted” house as a safe house for prostitutes, as he helps them escape a brothel secretly supported by the mayor. Joe has a heartbreaking reason to help those women, but he is not ready to share those reasons with Amanda. 

What Made This Reviewer Grumpy?

Lots of split infinitives. That’s about it.
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I’m a new fan of Michelle Griep. This was the first I’ve read anything by her and I’m intrigued! I can’t wait to search out more of her books. 

Each “Tale” was unique and interesting. Kept my interest and enjoyable.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.
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From the title forward, I was indeed, intrigued. Even the cover pulled me in. Once into the book, I was immersed in the stories. They are all historical, and all three are fantastic. From the 19th century settings to covering topics like smuggling, forgiveness, romance, strong tales, and awesome characters, this book was a smash hit with me.
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