Cover Image: Lost in Darkness

Lost in Darkness

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"And if you believe that God is not only sovereign but just, then you can be sure no matter how things might look, everything will be made right in the end."

This book could define the Gothic genre with its historic English connection, its inclusion of classes, the drafty house and a few creepy characters. But what is different than most is the strong faith element of trusting God no matter what as well as a hopeful ending even if everything did not turn out perfectly.

Amelia temporarily puts her life on hold to come to the aid of her brother. Two "doctors" are tasked with trying to heal him of a genetic condition that has caused unnatural growth to the point of grotesqueness. If you think that there is a nod to Frankenstein, well, that is definitely intentional.

There are many layers to this story that add to its appeal. Occasionally there were a few too many details to keep track of though, so occasionally I was confused. If you enjoy fictional stories that are a bit broody in nature, I definitely recommend this one. Thankfully the author did add some amusing scenes as well. My final rating on this one is 4.4 - I almost enjoyed it enough to make it a five star, but even with the lighter parts, some of it was a bit too dark for me.

P.S. Other than the fact that it could ruin the plot a bit, I would almost read the historical notes first. They really showed the impeccable research that the author did to have this one be authentic. As the daughter of a doctor, the part about how medicine has changed was particularly fascinating. That section was a definite 5 star for me - I love it when the authors explain their writing process.

Will I read more books by this author? Most definitely. I did read this book through NetGalley. Thanks to the publisher for letting me do that. All opinions are my own. I wanted to read and review this book.
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I love historical fiction, but historical romance is rarely my cup of tea. The Gothic element in this one, however, (plus some good reviews) caught my eye. 
Amelia Balfour’s brother was born with a condition that gives him abnormal growth. He also has scaring from burns, and the combination makes him look like a monster. Their late father found a surgeon, Mr. Peckwood, who promises he can cure the condition with a treatment culminating in brain surgery. So Amelia, a travel writer, postpones the trip of a lifetime to Cairo, to be paid for by her publisher, to help her brother through his treatments.
Graham Lambert has lost his position in the Royal Navy because he punched an officer. (I don’t want to spoil anything, but the officer totally deserved it.) He needs a partner who thinks outside the box and might not mind becoming partners with a man of tarnished reputation, and he thinks Mr. Peckwood is just such a man.
But as the treatments for Colin (the brother) begin and progress, Graham starts to have doubts about his partner’s motivations and methods. The surgery promises to be life-changing, and Colin is desperate for a face that doesn’t make people scream upon seeing him. Amelia just wants what’s best for her brother. The surgery could offer a new life . . . or disaster.
I enjoyed the story. The writing was well-done and the mysterious/creepy factor balanced out the romantic element nicely. Amelia, Colin, and Graham all had satisfying character growth, and I enjoyed the nods to Frankenstein. Rounding up a bit to 5 stars.
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Dead set to never return to her past, Amelia receives news that leaves her no choice. In an age when women didn’t enjoy the luxury of a career, Amelia Balfour has made her mark, and is loathe to leave it behind. Just a small detour, though, only a slight delay…
After years asea, Graham Lambert has landed what he believes to be the career position he believes will set the course for his future as a surgeon. But when his mentor offers a groundbreaking—and questionable—procedure for the son of a wealthy benefactor, Graham has more questions than answers.
As she does so eloquently, Ms. Griep criss-crosses Amelia and Graham’s paths—and their heartstrings. With each page, she raises the stakes and the suspense, and the affection Amelia and Graham are beginning to feel. With every page, Amelia’s impatience to return to her life begins to wane. With every page, Graham feels he must act [SPOILER.]
Pulling from threads of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Ms. Griep twists a tale of human nature and of torture. Of a life spent in hiding and in misery. Of medical experiments and unthinkable consequences. But most of all, Ms. Griep writes of faith and of love.


I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Monday, #TRD, Book Review, Lost in Darkness, Michelle Griep
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A Regency gothic romance inspired by Frankenstein is a bold undertaking and indeed the author probes the depths of humanity’s heart, its cruelty towards that which is perceived ugly or “monstrous”, what is the real meaning of humanity and the explorative and sometimes inhumane breakthroughs in technology during this time period.  Christian faith also plays an important part in this story and may be off putting to some.

Travel writer Amelia Balfour is about to embark on her greatest dream of touring Egypt for work when she receives world of an experimental treatment for her disfigured brother.  Hoping to still make her trip she rushes forward with the treatment.  The lead doctor’s assistant, Graham Lambert, has some uncomfortable feelings about the doctor’s action which are complicated by his feelings for Amelia.  Will he be brave enough to voice his concerns before something irrevocable happens to Amelia’s brother?

I had a hard time warming up to Amelia.  For all her expressed love of her brother she is really very self-interested and seems so much of the time most worried about making her boat.  She does care for her brother and raises her concerns about some negative consequences but they do seem to take a back seat to her dreams often.  

The story is heart-breaking at times.  Humanity is cruel.  I felt most for Amelia’s brother of all the character.  The author creates good characters and a realistic storyline with good research but it was hard to read.  

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest opinion.
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Lost in Darkness is a poignant Gothic, regency era novel written by author Michelle Griep. Author Griep has become one of my historical fiction go to authors because I know I will always get a rich, well written story. She surpassed my expectations with this offering.

This is the tale of Amelia Balfour and her younger brother, Colin. She is a loving, faithful sister who takes care of her brother. Colin was born with a severe deformity and thought to be a monster by the outside world. Their father has died but had already made plans with an unethical surgeon to change his son into a new man. Think Frankenstein.

There is so much to this story that I am still mulling it over days after finishing it. This is a story of good and evil. It is an example that ugliness according to the world does not mean evil. There is a strong, beautiful faith lesson in this book as well as one of love.

I was taken on an emotional roller coaster while reading this edge of your seat novel. Author Grief had me sad, anxious, fearful, angry, and hopeful at times. I was invested in the story and characters.

I highly recommend this book which earns a 5 star rating from me. There is so much to discuss packed in these pages that it makes this a perfect book club selection. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.
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My thanks to Michelle Griep, Barbour Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC of LOST IN DARKNESS. 
This is so reminiscent of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN , and she has a part to play in this wonderful novel when she becomes a friend and neighbour of Amelia Balfour and her brother, Colin, who broke my heart because he was such a kind and loving character. Colin had been grotesquely disfigured since birth. When their father's will is read, he states that he wishes for his son to be treated by a doctor with some questionable techniques and who is under suspicion by the young doctor who works with him, Graham Lambert. I would have loved a different ending because I'm a romantic, but the denouement was the correct one. A superb novel.
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Have you ever wondered how authors create their stories? Where their ideas originate from? 

In Michelle Griep’s Lost in Darkness, the possible story behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is told. This gothic novel retells how a doctor, determined to be “on the cutting edge” of science, goes to extreme lengths to prove his new method of treatment; without the regard to the affects his patients may have. 

I have loved all of Michelle’s previous books. This one is written differently that her others. There is romance, but it focuses more on the gothic aspect of the writing of Shelley’s time. It was different than my usual, and I recommend it during Halloween. 😆 Be sure to have tissues on hand as you read!
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“Only God heals the past, but I have learned that kindness makes the present all the sweeter.”

I have to admit that I was rather hesitant to request Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep when it first became available. The title alone told me that there would be a decent chance that this book was not going to suit my taste. I don’t like dark stories or creepy things. And when I found out it was inspired by Frankenstein, my reluctance only increased. So, there wasn’t much going for this one at all…except for the fact that Michelle Griep wrote it. I’ve absolutely loved a number of her other books, and her writing style is absolutely beautiful. If anyone was going to pull this one off, it would be her (also, the cover is just gorgeous)! And so I requested it. Do I regret that decision? Certainly not! I definitely enjoyed this regency tale of heartache and healing.

While it explored the shadier side of the medical studies of that era, it never once become creepy or unnecessarily dark. The faith element was incredibly well executed and provided an excellent counter to the more sombre aspects of the plot.

I found that while I really did enjoy this book, I think its genre is probably not for me. I wasn’t hugely fond of the fact that the suspense was mostly mixed up in the drama and foreboding, rather than in any particular action or mystery. It felt like there was just too much waiting for something to happen, and not enough actually happening. I’m sure many readers who enjoy gothic novels will enjoy this aspect, though. 

Also, I didn’t really like the historic medical aspects. Ironic coming from someone who plans on studying medicine while writing historical novels, I know, but it’s the darker side of medicine’s history that I wasn’t too fond of. And yes, I was expecting that to be a prominent part of the story considering the title of the book, the genre, and the blurb, so I can’t exactly complain. It didn’t overtake the plot or ruin my reading experience at all, and I’m sure those who find that part of history fascinating will love this aspect of the story, for it was clearly well-researched and handled skilfully.

As for the characters, Amelia and Graham were well-written and endearing, and I appreciated their individual struggles and triumphs, as well as their sweet love story, but I battled to connect with either of them. It was Colin who really stole the show in my eyes. His outlook on life despite his heart-rending past—and present—really touched me. I think that was one of the highlights of this book for me. 

I’d recommend it to fans of Julie Klassen, Abigail Wilson, and Regency Romance in general.

(Note: I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.)
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Griep's novels are always entertaining to me, and her historical detail is incredible. So when she has a new book available, it immediately goes on my list of books to read. This latest story is no exception, and I devoured it quickly, never putting it down for long.

History has always fascinated me, and the details included in this book held me captive. Colin's condition, more so the reaction others had to him, was heartbreaking. The medical treatments and scientific advances were interesting, even though they seemed barbaric to my modern sensibilities. It helps that these characters are fictional, even though I know similar experiments and procedures did happen to real people in the past.

The spiritual content was solid. The main characters both have some false beliefs to overcome, but by the end of the novel, others have helped them find their way to a surer faith that will help them through any difficulties. The author doesn't shy away from showing how these beliefs hurt them before they adjust their thinking, and I appreciated the growth we get to see in the characters throughout the book.

This is by no means a light, fluffy read. It is difficult on many levels, including strained family relationships where love is withheld based on performance or appearance, in a time when how a family looked meant much. They make difficult choices, ones the reader likely won't agree with any more than I did, yet turning away is not a viable option, even while we fear for characters we can't help but care for.

For fans of the Regency, this book should not be missed! The research and details are beautiful, and the difficult subject matter was impactful and hope filled, yet remained realistic, never taking a cliched turn to avoid pain. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy suspenseful tales or those that resist endings too neat and tidy. This is a satisfying book that uplifts, though it does not varnish difficult realities.

I received a review copy through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
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Monster or man? The legend starts here...

It's gotten to the point over the last couple of years or so, that if I see Michelle Griep's name on the cover I have to read the book. No questions asked, no reading the back cover blurb to decide. Just automatic pick it up and start reading. That's how it was with Lost In Darkness. I didn't even have to read the synopsis to know that it would be a good book and that I'd really enjoy it. No way did I have any idea what I was in for...

Michelle Griep is well known for her historical fiction that blends perfectly with the romantic suspense and Gothic threads and overtones. Leaning much more on the Gothic end of the spectrum, Lost In Darkness is everything that a Christian Gothic Romance should be. Creepy, dark, eerie, haunting, and full of intrigue, betrayal, and mystery. It's riveting, page-turning, and completely engrossing. 

Lost In Darkness takes on the fictional origins of arguably of one of the 2 or 3 most famous horror novels ever, in this case Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. But as her characters face uncertainty and fear, rejection ad grief, Michelle Griep also takes them, and her readers, through that darkness on a journey of faith towards that indomitable spark that we call hope. 

I can definitely tell you that Lost In Darkness is by far one of Michelle Griep's best books to date. I enjoyed it and could hardly put it down. I had an almost morbid fascination to find out what would happen and whether the seemingly inevitable end would come about as I expected it to...I won't tell you if it did, you'll just have to read this book and find out for yourself...

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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Amelia Balfour has the opportunity to travel to Egypt but first she must oversee an operation on her brother, Colin, who is badly disfigured.  Will an operation be able to help her brother?  Is the doctor doing the surgery competent to do what he promises?  A very good faith filled story mixed with a little Frankenstein, and some romance.  I enjoyed this story from Michelle Griep.  I was not sure which direction the story would take.
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Lost in Darkness is a fantastic book! With a Frankenstein-esque feel, romance, family loyalty, and faith Michelle Griep writes a wonderfully unique tale. Graham and Amelia are great characters, but Colin steals the show. For a faith-filled yet gothic tinged story, I can’t recommend Lost in Darkness enough!
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Michelle's books are hit or miss for me hear lately and this one was a miss. The story itself was good but to me it was too dark. But I knew that going in, I guess it just this time of year I don't want something too dark and heavy.  But die hard fans of Michelle's books will love this one. And while I didn't love it,  I don't regret reading nor will it keep me from picking up Michelle's next book.
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It’s the summer of 1815, and Amelia Balfour learns not only of her father’s death, but also that she is now responsible for her younger brother, Colin. Furthermore, her father has arranged for a surgeon to undertake a never performed procedure on her brother. Initially, she’s all for it while Colin is reluctant but eventually comes around. Meanwhile, the surgeon’s younger partner has his own suspicions but doesn’t want to alarm the siblings. 

Lost in Darkness is a true gothic romance set in Bristol during the Regency era. It leans heavily on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and includes Mary as a neighbor of the Balfour family who is partially inspired by the stories surrounding Colin. While Shelley’s Frankenstein is an obvious influence, I also saw in Colin a resemblance to Joseph Merrick the so-called Elephant Man of the late 19th century. The horrifying surgeon, meanwhile, reminded me of Digory’s Uncle Andrew in CS Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew. 

The romance, thankfully for this reader, is not overwhelming. I was more interested in the gothic nature of the tale, and the feeling the siblings had of being watched. Why did they keep finding small toys in a house without children? Who is the strange neighbor not Mary) reaching out to Amelia? This is a tale that will leave readers as it did me: breathless until the very end.

<i>Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the opinions above are my own.</i>
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As much as we claim that certain things are not important, they are in a way part of who we are and make up a greater part of our relationship with the people around us. Looks for example. 
This book takes on the challenge of trying to answer that question do looks really matter and also deals with the issues of mental health and does so delicately but also with enough truth to understand. 
Both Amelia and Graham are dealing with issues respectively that seem to hold them back. She's put her life on hold for Colin and he's weary and just wants a fresh start. There's love bleeding through the pages of this book and darkness that will soon be overcome by light as they learn that although people judge by what they see on the outside it's who God says you are that truly matters. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are solely mine
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Lost in Darkness
by Michelle Griep
Pub Date 01 Nov 2021 |
 Barbour Publishing, Inc.,  Barbour Fiction
 Christian  |  Historical Fiction  |  Mystery & Thrillers

I am reviewing a copy of Lost in Darkness through Barbour Publishing, Inc, Barbour Fiction:

Amelia Balfour’s a travel writer who dreams of touring Egypt is halted when she receives news of a revolutionary new surgery for her grotesquely disfigured brother. This could change everything, and it does in the worst possible way.

Graham Lambert Is a surgeon who has suspicions of the doctor  he’s gone into practice with, but he can’t stop him from operating on Amelia’s brother. Will he be too late to prevent the man’s death? Or to reveal his true feelings for Amelia before she sails to Cairo?

I give Lost In Darkness Five out of five stars!
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I am one of those weird people that enjoyed the story of Frankenstein when I was in High School but this rendition of the story was spectacular. She has turned it into a fantastic Gothic tale that keeps you engaged the entire time. The characters were superb. They were all different but all contributed to the story in a great way. The way the author weaves the element of faith and hope throughout this story had me in awe. I definitely cannot give it enough praise. I won't tell you the story because you have to read it but there is even a surprise appearance that completely tied the book for me. 

The book was completely different than any other Michelle Griep story I have read but it was good to see this different style of writing from her. I will also say that this is not your happy go lucky story but neither was Frankenstein which if you have read you will immediately know this. I know some people may not like this book because it is so different from what they are used to from this author but I look forward to reading whatever she writes very soon. If you are fan of Gothic style type books you will definitely enjoy this one!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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This book I have been waiting with great anticipation since I saw that beautiful cover. I know that you should not judge a book by its cover, but if I didn't already know the author's writing, I would have picked it up in an instant.

And this story delivered with an engrossing tale of a brother and sister who are reeling from their father's unexpected death. A father who really wasn't a good father, who was reeling after their mother's death. A broken family to be sure who is trying to live the rest of their lives with the many shards of their brokenness. 

And Colin, Amelia's younger brother, also suffers from a disfiguring disease that has made him grow in what many people would call a grotesque monster. On top of that he suffered an accident that did not help his appearance, so he was just trying to live his life in seclusion. I like that we got his point of view as well as his sister's and the doctor Graham Lambert's who is helping to treat him. Colin had a wonderful heart and a beautiful soul that if others looked past his appearance would find a true and genuine friend.

Amelia is charged with caring for her brother, and she loves him dearly. She is also running to every sort of adventure she can find in her travels to escape the prison she is in. She was a woman in the early 1800's dealing with broken familial relations and just trying to escape. I felt for her and all the pressure she was under. 

Graham was the knight in shining armor with some armor that needed polishing. He blames himself for his past and has a heart for the poor and sick whom he desperately tries to help and save whether they will accept the help or even if they cannot pay. He sees in the Balfour sibling's true kinship and friendship and possible love with Amelia. His protective instincts kick in now and again with Amelia but also with Colin.

Now the doctor he partners with is a strange man with even stranger ideas.  He is creepy and his secret dealings and hidden agendas is something that Graham feels immense alarm. A couple of descriptions makes one wonder if he is the true monster in this story.

There was an ominous feeling throughout this story. Strange stirrings were happening in and around their home. And their neighbors were an interesting bunch as well.

I look forward to every book by author Griep and this one with its foreboding title, gothic feel, "monsters", and beautiful cover was a joy to read.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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It's not every day I get a chance to read a story like this. With Frankenstein as an inspiration and Michelle Griep's amazing prose, I knew from the very beginning that Lost in Darkness would be a book that I could not turn down. I was absolutely amazed by this tale. From her deep insights into human nature and our need to be loved, to Amelia's striving to gain perfection, this book took me on a journey that I'll be thinking about for years. It's one of the few stories I wish I could forget so that I'd have the pleasure of reading it for the first time all over again. The gothic vibe lent itself well to the story, and though it has the darkness of a chilling tale, there is hope and love evident throughout. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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“We all have monsters within. Is it not time you slay this particular dragon?”

Wow, Michelle Griep brings more Gothic elements into this book than in her previous books and it is chillingly delicious. Set in Regency England, the backdrop is eerie and mysterious, the characters are surprisingly refreshing and delightful, and the faith lessons woven throughout the story are so applicable. Loosely based on Frankenstein, the plot involves a sister desperate to help her younger brother overcome a medical condition to fit into society and a former navy surgeon trapped in a professional partnership that he is regretting. What I wasn’t expecting was the point of view from the malformed brother, who has a heart of gold and unswerving loyalty, and a faith that bolsters hope and imparts wisdom. The sibling love is palpable, the regret and remorse and shattering loneliness felt by the characters are heartbreaking, and the villains are human at heart. This is a historical fiction that has it all - suspense, mystery, romance, heartfelt emotion and medical history in 1815 England. 

I received the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.
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