Cover Image: Lost in Darkness

Lost in Darkness

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This is the second book by Ms Griep that I have read and found it so very different from anything else I have read.  I have read gothic historicals before but I wasn’t sure if I liked this or not. I think it was so well written that you could relate to the characters.  There was sadness, despair, hopelessness, pain and then happiness, acceptance and a trust that you can only find in trusting in God.  I found that even though I wasn’t sure I liked the story, I couldn’t put it down.  I had to see what the outcome was.  I think it is well worth the read but I prefer my reading material to be more light-hearted. I rated this book a 5 because it was so well written and did not deserve a lower rating because I found it difficult to.  I received this as an ARC from Netgalley and freely give my review.
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Oh my goodness this was such a fun read. And by fun, I mean mysterious, odd, page turning, and having the same qualities in all the books by Michelle Griep. The "Frankenstein" aspect of the story, if you want to call it that, was so neat. I mean, Griep must have done a ton of research to pull it all off, and she does - effortlessly.

Griep is known, at least by me, for creating world that lure you in and don't let you escape. That is absolutely true here. Once you start reading, the pages don't let you leave, and you find yourself engrossed in the characters and their surroundings. Griep's writing is so unique and really in a world of its own. I have yet to meet a book of hers I do not like.

Gothic fans and historical fans alike will devour Griep's latest release. And honestly, I think this is probably one that I will read over and over again. Even though I know how it all turns out, I suspect I'll still be sitting at the edge of my seat! I highly recommend Lost in Darkness!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Amelia Balfour is set to sail for her next trip when she gets a summons home after her father’s passing.  Her task, to get her brother’s surgery taken care of.  Colin is disfigured, and very tall.  The surgery will either make him more normal, or kill him.  His doctors are a Mr Peckwood and Mr Lambert (Graham).  Graham is tasked with the procedures before the surgery.  We also meet Betsey, Nemo, Mary, Mrs O, Bap and a few others.  Though Colin has to stay hidden from public eye, he is a voice of reason to calm his sister, and even spur Graham on.  Most of the story centers on Colin’s presurgery procedures as well as Graham’s work and the budding friendship of him and Amelia.
A complimentary copy was provided by Barbour through NetGalley.  A review was not required and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Once again, Michelle Griep delivers a story that is well researched and hard to put down!  This story perfectly marries gothic romance with Christian themes.  I found the plot to be intense, in a good way, but it is definitely not your typical lighthearted romance; instead, the pages ooze with depth, mystery, and difficult topics.  I love that Michelle Griep is not afraid to dive deep into those themes that are sometimes messy.  Her ability to create characters that grow through these circumstances is remarkable.  I really liked this novel and am still reflecting on it even weeks after finishing it.  I highly recommend this story and cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Tours.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Michelle Griep is one of my go-to authors. So when I saw her newest book, of course, I was eager to read it, and I was not disappointed! It is another great story as the suspense and tension kept my attention throughout this historical fiction set in early 1800s London. The characters are endearing, with depth and authenticity. Colin stole my heart, and I just wanted the best for him. Amelia is strong and will do anything to help her brother, even setting aside her own dreams to follow her father's wishes. The story moves rather quickly as Griep expertly weaves faith and romance in with tender moments as well as rather shocking events. I was captivated by this Gothic story that is reminiscent of Frankenstein. Lost in Darkness is a book that lovers of historical fiction will not want to miss. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. A favorable review was not required, and the opinions are my own.
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Michelle Griep writes the most gripping novels, and oh my, this one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go! What an amazing, horrific, emotional story! Torn between caring for her ghastly-appearing brother and her career, Amelia feels forced to abide by her dead father’s agreement to have a questionable surgery performed on Colin in order to make him “normal”.  Dr. Peckwood, the evil component in this story, is balanced by his always-questioning partner Dr. Lambert as Colin is put through horrendous “procedures”.  

I found myself cheering on the relationship between Dr. Lambert and Amelia in their quest to find the truth behind Dr. Peckwood’s crazed methodologies.  This  is a novel with roller-coaster emotions!  One of my favorite lines is “Only God heals the past, but I have learned that kindness makes the present all the sweeter.”

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for a copy of this book.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review; all opinions are my own.
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I wanted to like this historical romance inspired by Frankenstein. But I didn’t. 

<spoiler>

Writer Amelia puts off her longed-for travel to stay with her brother Colin. Colin suffers from a terrible physical deformity that makes people treat him like a monster. An evil doctor claims he can cure him but is in fact just experimenting on him, as he does on prisoners and stolen dead bodies. The doctor’s junior partner, Graham, expresses concern but doesn’t do much about it, while also falling in love with Amelia.  

Colin dies a miserable death AND is the inspiration for Frankenstein’s monster (Mary Shelley makes an appearance in the novel). This is Christian fiction, with a lot of worrying about faith and God, but the nicest person in the book has a terrible end, while his sister happily both marries and travels. (And Colin? Oh, according to Amelia he “is finally free of his brokenness and imperfections,” tra la.)
  
The book seems to have been well researched, and Historical Notes are included in the end, but I have a lot of issues with the Message. Plus I found the text a boring slog, and the presence of a mysterious child (is he real? is he a ghost? is he a figment of the imagination? who cares?) added nothing to the plot.

I’m sure there are people who will find this book inspirational, but I found it depressing and monstrously (pun intended) unfair.

</spoiler>

I read an advance reader copy of Lost in Darkness from Netgalley.
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This was the perfect story to read this time of year! I enjoyed learning more about the history of Frankenstein, though this is a historical fiction story. The details were well done.
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Lost in Darkness is an intriguing Gothic mystery and romance with elements of the classic Frankenstein and an atmospheric Dickensian feel. Fans of Jaime Jo Wright will enjoy this one!

I LOVE the relationship between Amelia and her brother, whose POV we readers also have. He helps to shape the themes of the story and draw out how identity deeply important yet not tied to physical appearance.

The romance develops nicely. Graham is so completely gone over Amelia at a certain point, it's very sweet. Their relationship is the quiet, supportive complimentary kind I appreciate -- especially in a historical novel.

I felt the pacing of this book didn't match my expectation. While it held my interest and continued to develop, I read it at an unusually slow pace. It could have totally been my reading mood, though, which made me like this one less. I also didn't care for the resolution of a key part of the story conflict -- I wanted a slightly more hopeful conclusion to one of the story threads.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.
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If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be intense. Marvelously so. Michelle Griep has taken her writing to new levels in this gothic romance that leaves characters battling the monsters within . . . and without. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein had nothing on this story where the famed author makes several appearances. The story of Amelia Balfour, Graham Lambart, Colin Balfour, and Dr. Peckwood is sure to have your angst ratcheting tight all the way to the spell-binding ending, that while holding to magnificent gothic tradition, leaves the reader with hope for the future.

This was the most intense book from Michelle Griep that I have ever read, and to be honest, I was glad that I was listening to it as an audiobook and was forced to do thirty or fewer minute increments. The tension was so deep, so constant that my heart couldn't take it all at once. I'm looking forward to reading it again soon, this time in one fell swoop. This is an unforgettable tale that will sweep readers away to a different time to face monsters that they might even see reflected in themselves. 

I recommend this book for fans of Gothic romances, Frankenstein, obscure history, and deep truths discovered during trying circumstances.

*While I've purchased an additional copy myself, a copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher and the review above is my honest opinion of the book and was not influenced in any way.*

(Some links for the reviews have not been approved yet, but I've tried to put in what I could. I reviewed to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Christianbook, GoodReads, BookBub, and my blog which will go live on Tuesday 11/23/2021)
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This was a very interesting book. I’m still processing the story. I was very intrigued by the storyline. Conflicting feelings… both sad but bittersweet. I really like the author and her writing style.

To read the synopsis follow the link: Amazon Link

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.
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A Regency Gothic book with a Frankenstein vibe.
This book kept me spellbound while reading it. I simply could not put it down. It also made me a bit sad. A young woman who wants only the best for her brother, she gives up a once in a life time opportunity she has worked so hard towards to be with her brother as he has experimental brain surgery to cure a deformity he has.
The sad thing is doctor's experimented on people who had no say in what happened to them like people in asylums back in the old days to get the skills needed to perform the surgeries they do today.
#LostinDarkness #NetGalley

Very different story than I usually read by a very talented author.
Looking forward to reading many more books by this author.

Pub Date: 01 Nov 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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I must admit that I don't tend to read a lot of gothic novels, and lately do tend to prefer much lighter reads... and yet, I found this to be a wonderfully written story that drew me in nonetheless. Michelle Griep does a wonderful job of creating these beautiful characters that draw the reader into the story, and into this time and place quite different than our own. While the style of this book was quite different than books I had read by the author in the past, her skillful storytelling came through every bit as beautifully just the same. 

While I don't believe I've ever personally read Frankenstein, I-like most- am fairly familiar with the story anyway... so seeing that this was inspired by it certainly piqued my interest. A Christian fiction read inspired by Frankenstein? Seemed interesting...and Michelle Griep truly did pull it off beautifully. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is certainly a unique read worth checking out. 

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own.
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"What am I to do?  I cannot take a strange man into my home, even if Dobbs were present.  Too risky.  Too dangerous in too many ways.  I've worked overly hard to protect my anonymity.  I cannot lose it now." 

The House at the End of the Moor (2020, Shiloh Run Press) by [author: Michelle Griep|2754194], is a standalone Christian historical romance with a touch of suspense, set in 1861 in Dartmoor in Devon, England.  

Rating: 4.5  stars

Is it clean/chaste? Yes, but there's a creepy villain with impure motives

The hero: The story opens with the "unrightly accused" Oliver Ward in Dartmoor Prison, with an uber-strict, abusive prison warden.  "Speaking when not spoken to by an officer was asking for a lashing, and half the time Barrow didn't even need a reason to strike."  Oliver escapes prison - not a spoiler - with the help of a friend, who elicits a promise:  "Promise me you will run.  Fast and far.  Clear your name, then come back for me."  

The heroine: Maggie Lee, formerly a popular opera singer, lives in isolation at the edge of Dartmoor.  She tells herself, "Jane had her Mr. Rochester to love.  I have no one.  And never will."  Living with her are two servants and an abandoned dog that she nursed back to health.  Speaking to the dog, she ruminates, "I fancy we are a lot alike.  Wounded but not overcome.  Braver than anything life throws at us.  But that's a lie."

What I liked: 

*The successful first-person writing from the heroine's head.  Well done!

*The setting.  Over the years, I've read The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, and The Hound of the Baskervilles, all set in moorlands.  I may have romanticized the moors in my mind a bit because they're connected to a few mysterious classics that I've enjoyed. 

What I didn’t like: the substitute swears - see the "Potential content issues" section

 Christian elements:  

*God's name is used appropriately and respectfully, except by the villain. 

>"God, have mercy.  God, have mercy!" 
>"God Himself declared it is not good for man to be alone.  I don't think it is for a woman, either."

*The prison warden (the villain) has a warped idea of God's character.  "Officer Barrow fancied himself as the vicar of Dartmoor Prison, spouting Scripture with as much gusto as a stiff eastern wind.  He never got it quite right, though.  A missing word.  An added phrase.  His own doctrines colouring God's precepts to a cadaverous shade."  Barrow twists Scripture to justify violence.

Potential content issues: 

*Some violence, but nothing that is over the top, in my opinion.  

*Examples of lines I would rather not see in Christian fiction:  

>". . . since he'd arrived in this hellhole"
>"Blast!"
>"What the deuce was a woman like that doing out here in the wilds?"

Why don't I think substitute swears (or phrases in a similar vein) belong in the Christian fiction market?  A Just Disciple blog expresses the reason behind my thinking very well.  

"While the Bible does not lay out a list of explicit words to steer clear from, it [the Bible] is clear that Christians are to stay away from “filthy language,” “unwholesome talk,” and “crude joking.” . . . Christians should not cuss. . . Cussing is defined as vulgar, sexually inappropriate, or harsh, and if you google it, you will find that it is described as an expression of anger. . . [Cuss] words and their meanings. . .  are generally degrading, harsh, and used to insult in many circumstances. In short, they are in no way uplifting. . . [The] words themselves are not deemed ungodly in the Bible, but the intent, heart, and cultural understanding behind them."   

I believe that Griep's inclusion of such phrases is not ideal, considering that her books are Christian fiction.  However, I still love her books.

The bottom line:  The House at the End of the Moor was a lovely romantic mystery.  I recommend it to fans of historicals, romances, mysteries, or Christian fiction.  Very soon, I'll be reading Griep's latest, Lost in Darkness!  

Another Recommendation:  Another standalone book that I really liked by Ms. Griep is The Captive Heart, which is loosely a Beauty and the Beast story.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy of this book.
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A beautiful story with a strong and courageous heroine. I couldn't put this down! Beautiful writing kept me turning the pages! Thrilling and romantic!
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Michelle Griep has a talent for writing raw and real gothic romance that never fails to pull me in and hold me spellbound until the very last page. Lost In Darkness definitely lived up to my expectations. 

In this Frankenstein-inspired tale, Amelia Balfour receives news that brings her dreams of sailing to Cairo as a travel writer to a sudden halt. Her father has died and her terrifyingly deformed brother has a chance at a surgery that could change his life forever, but he needs Amelia's help in the weeks leading up to the very risky, and potentially fatal day. After all, nobody has ever attempted such a surgery before. Surgeon Graham Lambert has been suspicious about his boss's strange behaviour since beginning his new job as an assistant physician in the often-absent man's practice. However, he still doesn't have enough evidence to prevent the shady doctor from operating on Amelia's brother, and he definitely didn't expect to fall in love with his new patient's sister.

Lost in Darkness is an epic novel filled with heart-pounding suspense and raw emotion. Griep dives deep into the often horrific treatments of asylum patients while reminding us that there is still light to be found even in the darkest places. I really liked both Amelia and Graham and found them relatable and even heroic, but Colin was my favourite. His life had been difficult and lonely, but he still had such a big heart. He may have struck horror in the hearts of everyone who looked at him (with the exception of his sister), but he continued to trust in God and to love those who would let him in.

I would give this novel 4.5/5 stars. I loved almost the entire book, despite it being outside of my usual genre, but was disappointed with the ending. I can see why the author ended it this way, but I still wish it could have been different. 

If you enjoy faith-filled gothic or historical romance, you won't want to miss Lost in Darkness. 

*I received a complimentary copy of Lost in Darkness through the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My positive review is not required.
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Michelle Griep brings a emotional gothic tale with her latest Regency romance, Lost in Darkness.

I don’t quite know where to start with this book. My emotions are still swirling inside me and have not settled. Not that Lost in Darkness isn’t good. This novel is exquisite. And I don’t use that adjective lightly. In fact, I think the fact that my emotions haven’t settled yet is due to the fact that this book is so wonderful.

With this novel, Michelle Griep delves into the human condition, specifically our desire to be loved and cared for. In a way I can only deem ironic, she takes three characters who long to find their place in the world and lodges them deeply into the reader’s heart. Or at least that’s how it felt for me. Because the moment I was introduced to Amelia, I felt for her. I understood her. When I was introduced to Graham, I was drawn to him. And when Colin stepped onto the page, my heart broke.

In a unique twist on Beauty and the Beast, Griep brings us a story about a beautiful sister and her deformed brother. But what strikes me is that Colin is beautiful on the inside, even if he’s considered beastly on the outside.

I wasn’t prepared for the ending in more ways than one. Yet when I finally turned the last page, I found that the characters stayed with me. That the spiritual arcs about God’s love and our place in His hands resonated with me in a way I hadn’t expected. And while watching Graham and Amelia’s relationship bloom was both beautiful and satisfying, it was Colin that really gripped my attention.

Overall, Lost in Darkness is a poignant story that gothic and Regency romance fans will love.

(Note: I received a complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)
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Michelle Griep wrote Lost in Darkness, a novel set in England in 1815.  It concerns Amelia Balfour, a world traveler, and writer of travel journals.  She has been summoned home by the last will of her deceased father.  He has instructed her to see that her brother Colin, who was born with a disfiguring disease, undergoes surgery to reverse his condition.  Colin reminds me of the kind beast in the fairy tale.

Mister Graham Lambert is a doctor and has aligned himself with a renowned surgeon.  This surgeon was retained by Amelia’s father to perform the surgery on her brother.  This surgery is highly innovative and dangerous.  Mr. Lambert is not comfortable with his partner’s supposed abilities as a surgeon.

The pre-operative testing and procedures are revolutionary and have not been used before.  Although this novel goes in-depth to explain the surgery and procedure and what it is supposed to accomplish, I, the reader, tended to agree with Mr. Lambert that this was a foolhardy process.  I was more interested in the characters and their portrayal than I was in the “medical” involvement.  

Readers who enjoy Gothic fiction will find this novel to their taste.  Although my taste does not run to Gothic novels, I did find this book entertaining although, for me, hard to read.
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Under Michelle Griep's creative pen, this Frankenstein inspired tale of a disfigured man and his sister has all the classic gothic vibes that will enthrall readers. Set against the atmospheric backdrop of the Regency era, Griep explores the misguided and sometimes evil treatment for patients found in asylums and those society ignored. With a fascinating plot filled with romantic tension, I found the faith thread to be compelling. The strong and timeless message that both darkness and light are hidden within humanity emanates from its pages in a most profound way. 

Great book for a cold dark night! 

I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher and Netgalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Gothic Christian romance may sound like an odd combination, but it worked! I must admit it did take me a while to get into this book, but it is worth persevering... I absolutely raced through the last third early one Saturday morning.
There were a few americanisms which were jarring, I can’t remember them all, but travelllimg blocks across the city stood out, and also a meal of fish and Yorkshire pudding just sounded bizarre.
Apart from these few things I did enjoy the story, particularly the more suspenseful and adventurous parts
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