Cover Image: Lost in Darkness

Lost in Darkness

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Member Reviews

Michelle Griep transports her readers to Regency England once again, with the moody darkness pulled from the corners into the light.  With a Frankenstein inspired story, the broody side of people is brought to the front.  The characters are people I would love to have as neighbors, feeling realistic and finding God's leading through their weaknesses and questions.  What to do when you are given your dream but then get a letter from a distant Father asking for your time instead?  Amelia has fought the expected norm her entire life.  Her father never had any time or care for her.  She has left that loveless situation behind and become a travel writer, and a good one.  She has finally landed the job of a lifetime, a month in Cairo for the paper that should set her career at the top.  But as the excitement is still new, a visitor arrives with news of her father's death.  To top the stunning news, he wants her to take guardianship of her younger brother until a revolutionary surgery has been performed.  Colin was born with facial deformities and a large size, made worse by a terrible burn during childhood.  Now Amelia has the past and present in front of her and desperately searches for a way to fulfill both.  Amelia deeply loves her brother and knows the outer appearance, while terrifying to many, only covers the purest of hearts and softest of spirits.  This surgery promises to give Colin a chance to have society see him for just a man and not the monster he has always been tagged.  As long as the surgery date stays on schedule, Amelia will be able to tend her brother and leave for the adventure of a lifetime.
Graham Lambert is a surgeon, newly partnered with surgeon Uriah Peckwood who is scheduled to perform Colin's new and progressive surgery.  Graham believes all people deserve care and while wanting to progress medicine also understands there are limits to what man can do.  When he meets the Balfours, he is struck by Amelia's beauty and her inquisitive nature.  Her mind works so differently from the people Graham knows, he is fascinated from the start.  But as the treatments to prepare Colin for surgery proceed, Graham becomes concerned the end result may not be what brother and sister are hoping for.   Against his will, they become dear friends and Graham finds himself with more on the line than a mere patient or reputation.  As his feelings for Amelia grow, he must confront his past and what God is asking of him.  Through it all Colin is trying to separate what he wants from what his father demanded and his sister feels obligated to fulfill.  He has become content with his hermit life, learning to enjoy the simple things.  But the chance to have others accept him and the things he has learned is a strong pull and he agrees to the surgery after the long and painful treatments.  No one can understand the depravity of Uriah Peckwood though, until the time is too late.  What will happen with Colin and the surgery?  How far will a person go in order to be accepted or praised by society?
The romance sizzles and the setting comes to life under the gifted pen of Michelle Griep.  Her story took me to the heart of a family that struggled to find love and acceptance for whole they were and not what society deemed acceptable.  The levels a loved one will go to in order to protect family comes alive in this gripping tale.  Once I picked it up, it was oh so hard to put down.  Michelle Griep has outdone herself!  She has quickly become a must read for me.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This author continues to create authentic characters and delve deep into the psyche of them to drive the plot of a richly imagined story that threads fiction with history. As with most historical fiction books, I'm always amazed at the amount of research that goes into them and the magical weaving of the authors to impart that wisdom without coming off as a boring history professor. The chemistry between characters had me engrossed until the end. Def recommend this book (plus I read it right before Halloween which just made everything better).
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Amelia Balfour was an ambitious young woman who was making a name for herself as a travel journalist when her father died and her plans were rerouted. Could she sacrifice her career for the sake of her brother? Graham Lambert’s word rang in her head, “Family, no matter the size of it, is precious. Never leave a loved one behind.” Amelia had her answer. 

This story is fast paced, captivating and often hair raising. Michelle Griep does an excellent job developing her characters whether good and kind endearing themselves to the reader or cruel and evil making the hair on the back one’s neck stand on end. I found myself yelling at Graham, Colin and Amelia not to fall for Peckwood’s underhanded tricks. 

I loved Colin’s interaction with Nemo and Nemo’s adoration of Colin. I was pleased that Amelia and Nemo both got their impossible dream.

Mary Shelly was a great addition to the cast and a good indication of where this story was going. I could not put this book down once I started reading. I was so glad that Amelia eventually  got the dream she was willing to sacrifice. Michelle Griep has that effect on me!

I received an ARC of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley .
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Just as emotional and unpredictable as Frankenstein, but a completely different take. I loved the appearance of Mary Shelley.
Amelia is the sister of the disformed man who is to undergo an experimental procedure. There are things reminiscent of Frankenstein, but in the novel they inspire Mary Shelley to write her novel. I loved that spin on it. Graham is apprentice to Mr. Peckwood, the eccentric surgeon scheduled to operate on Amelia's brother. With a dark atmosphere this story still provides lots of hope. I loved this one and all the emotions it put me through.
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I enjoy Michelle Griep’s writing, and this was a very intriguing story. There was quite a bit of plot, and a spooky darkness that was great to read during the Halloween season. I think Colin was the best character, he had a very difficult life and he was still very likeable as a character. The romance was okay, but it was not the focus of the book for me. There is a lot of mention of God, the Bible, and many religious teachings or focus - I am not religious so unfortunately I didn’t care for this strong messaging but perhaps others would really enjoy this aspect.
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I loved this book! Simply put; it was amazing. I’m a big fan of Michelle Griep and I adore her talent for writing authentic English Regency/Victorian fiction with a Gothic flair, and Lost in Darkness is a shining example of her immense ability at writing this genre. This is my favorite book by her so far.


I don’t even know where to begin; this book has left me speechless. I loved all of the main characters. Amelia was such a fabulous heroine. Prior to reading this book, I hadn’t known much about female travel writers in the early 19th century. I found it so interesting to read about her career, as well as her time spent with Mary Shelley. Graham was a very likable character. Unlike many of his peers, he has a compassionate heart that drives him to do what is right for his patients rather than his pocketbook. One cannot help but love gentle giant Colin. A misunderstood soul with a truly caring heart, he is a literary character on par with Frankenstein’s monster and Quasimodo, yet sets himself apart with his complete relatability.


The setting of this book is so perfect. As with her other novels, Griep paints a spot-on portrait of 19th century England that will make you wish for a time machine. The half-abandoned estate where Amelia and Colin live lends itself wonderfully to the atmosphere of the novel and pairs seamlessly with the mystery weaved into the story.

Readers that love historical fiction with a Gothic flair will not want to miss Lost in Darkness. Not only do I highly recommend this book, I also must add it to my top ten reads of 2021!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About this book:

“Travel writer Amelia Balfour’s dream 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.
Surgeon Graham Lambert has suspicions about 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?”


Series: As of now, no. A stand-alone novel. 


Spiritual Content- Scriptures are read, quoted, & thoughts over; Bible reading; Prayers; Talks about God, Him being with us, & His plans; ‘H’s are capitalized when referring to God; When something good happens, Amelia says that she was finally good enough for God to notice (this could be stemming from her not thinking her earthly father cared for her); Amelia crosses herself when thinking of someone that passed; Amelia reads a psalter in the beginning of the book and after having more questions that solace, she stops reading for the day; Going to church (Amelia) & hearing a Scripture in a sermon; Graham says he’s not certain that God would welcome a heathen such as himself to church (Amelia replies that a true heathen would not acknowledge a God who may or may not welcome him); Mentions of God; Mentions of Bibles, devotions, & reading them both; Mentions of churches/chapels, church going, vicars, & sermons; Mentions of Heaven; Mentions of miracles & miracle workers; Mentions of saints & women being called a saint because of their personalities; A few mentions of those in the Bible; A few mentions of prayers & praying; A few mentions of blessings & seeking blessings before traveling; A few mentions of sins & sinners; A mention of Godspeed; A mention of a blessing over food; A mention of a woman’s glower that could make a saint cower behind a crucifix; A mention of Eve and the snake; A mention of a child being named Sodom by a master (and that the boy had been groomed to do as he was told and that only God knew what it was); 
*Note: Graham says that it is God who numbers a man’s days and that a surgeon is not God, but when Mr. Peckwood asks if Graham if he’s a religious fellow, he says he is not, and Mr. Peckwood says religion never helped him (the conversation started with Mr. Peckwood says that a successful doctor instills confidence in the surgeon rather than allowing the patient a “tenuous hope in an invisible unknown”); Mr. Peckwood said he begged God to help someone and that He didn’t; Peckwood plays God with the patients at the asylum; ; Amelia is superstitious and carries around a lucky feather she calls a talisman (she also tosses spilled salt over her shoulder, mentions the thought that when a gathering of ravens is seen that portends death, and a couple other ones, but [*Spoiler* she gives it all up at the end and asks God for forgiveness *End of Spoiler* (hide spoiler)]); Colin sees phantoms after the treatments start & hopes they go back to whatever hell they came from; Mentions of ghosts, haunting tales, people saying a place is haunted, & an area with a ghoulish history; A few mentions of luck, bad luck, & folklore; A couple mentions of a man being called the devil & a contact with him; A couple mentions of people having a demon in their eyes; A mention of someone escaping their demons; A mention of roaring like a demon; A mention of an injury hurting like the devil’s fire; A mention of devilish torment; A mention of an animal being sneaky devils; A mention of a man’s devil-may-care hair length; A mention of doing something or there will be the devil to pay; A mention of Amelia saying that if houses had souls, her childhood home would be bound for Hades; A mention of if there was a portal to hell, a certain place would be it; A mention of someone running like a hound of hell; A mention of a godforsaken path; A mention of another country with veiled ladies with their turbaned sheikhs; Phrases like “God knows”, “Thank God”, and “pray God” are said by those who believe in God & others who they (and the readers) aren’t sure about their beliefs; Other phrases are exclaimed: three forms of “sweet, Blessed Saviour/sweet blessed mercy!" and seven forms of ‘sweet mercy/sweet heavens!’; “Great God!” is exclaimed in a quote from “Frankenstein”. 


Negative Content- Minor cussing including: (if you’re unfamiliar or unsure how one of these was used, most were exclamations and are noted because in today’s society, minor cussing or cussing would take its place) a ‘botheration!’, a ‘criminy’, an ‘egads!’, a ‘lawks-a-mercy’, a ‘scads!’, a form of ‘stupid’, two ‘claptrap’s (‘what a load of claptrap’), two forms of ‘hang it all/snag it all’s, two forms of ‘oh, my stars!/by the stars’, two ‘what the deuce’s, three ‘mercy!’s, four forms of ‘dashed/dash it’, four ‘thunderation!’s, five forms of ‘pish-posh’, five forms of ‘bah/pah’, seven forms of ‘blast/blast it’, and nine forms of ‘what the devil’; Other phrases such as a ‘grimmety grouse!’, ‘to the dogs with…’, ‘curse *name* and their ideas’, ‘thunder and turf!’, ‘rot and bother!’, and ‘queen and country!’; Stopping a curse from leaving your mouth (Colin, once); Mentions of curses (said, not written); A bit of eye rolling; Pain, blood/bleeding, & injuries (up to semi-detailed); Being choked, drugged, hit, & injured (up to semi-detailed); Doctor actions such as giving stitches, taking care of blood and injuries, and seeing dead bodies (up to semi-detailed); Seeing people hit & bleeding (up to semi-detailed); *Major Spoiler* [Colin and Mr. Peckwood go over a cliff and die, we see this in Amelia and Graham’s point of views, up to semi-detailed *End of Spoiler* (hide spoiler)]; Being shot at (when someone says they saw a monster, but it was Colin); Seeing a child hit & almost run over; Seeing a bird hit a widow & thinking it’s dead; Social drinking; Many mentions of dead bodies, blood/bleeding, infections, injuries (including ones so bad you can see the bone or the muscle), seeing people pass out, & pain (up to semi-detailed): Mentions of grave robbers & those who hire them to steal bodies for dissection; Mentions of jars filled with different colored liquids and body parts; Mentions of a fence with glass at the top & someone harming themself and bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of rifles & shooting at someone; Mentions of alcohol, taverns, drinking, & drunks; Mentions of cigars/cheroots, pipes, tobacco, & smoking; Mentions of a snuff box (an older women says it’s God she’ll have to answer for and she’s fully prepare to “explain to [her] Maker how [she] never read one verse of scripture forbidding a hefty pinch of snuff”); Mentions of lies, lying, & liars; Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of trying to find two bodies in the water (barely-above-not-detailed);A few mentions of fighting, fights, being beaten, & hitting someone; A few mentions of burns from a child pulling down a pot of boiling water; A few mentions of bloodletting; A couple mentions of being accused as a thief & being beaten for it; A couple mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of hunting; A mention of someone being lost at sea; A mention of mutilated bodies; A mention of someone making rat poison; A mention of not being a wagering man; A mention of human waste; 
*Note: Each chapter starts with a quote from the classic book, “Frankenstein”; Amelia warns her maid about her brother’s deformity (at first she wonders should he say that he’s a monster or a freak of nature, but tells the maid that he suffers from a disease that causes uncontrollable and abnormal growth along with suffering a horrible burn to his face); Some people cry and scream when they see Colin; A couple mentions of a “dog-faced maid”. 


Sexual Content- Two (barely-above-not-detailed) hand kisses, a forehead kiss, an almost kiss, two barely-above-not-detailed kisses, and a very detailed kiss; Recalling a kiss (semi-detailed); Wanting to kiss & touch/embrace; Touches, Embraces, Warmth, Nearness, Jolts/Tingles, & Smelling (semi-detailed); Blushes & Winks; Noticing & Staring (including curves and a man’s chest hair and muscles, up to semi-detailed); Husky voices; Amelia tells Graham a story about two young lovers who were married in secret and according to a rumor, shared their love over in a thicket of trees (she apologizes that she got carried away in the story, but Graham thinks that he’s surprisingly honored that she would share with him an intimate reference); Graham removes his cravat, Amelia can’t look away and stares at his chest hair peeking out; Mr. Peckwood does animal magnetism (hypnotism) on a woman, but it includes him outline the shape of her body with his hand, Amelia thinks that it’s too intimate and too indecent to be doing in public, though when she believes that it worked on the woman, Graham tries to explain that it isn’t real, attempts to do it on her, and they end up kissing; Graham is a doctor and sees Amelia’s barefoot (which she didn’t want to do because of propriety, but did due to an injury); When Graham is brought up in a conversation or he does something slightly scandalous, flirty, or looks handsome, Amelia gets hot, fans herself, and wonders why it’s so hot in the room; Mentions of a woman that was brutally abused (implied sexually); Mentions of kisses & kissing; Mentions of chaperones; A few mentions of a scandalous pair living together & being unsure if they are married; A few mentions of trollops; A few mentions of flirts; A few mentions of winks; A mention of a ship’s crew going ashore for women and rum; A mention of jealousy; Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: When an unmarried woman says she’s pregnant, Amelia wonders if she should offer congratulations or condolences, but says she looks forward to meeting the little one someday; A few mentions of a women’s feminine curves; A mention of ill breeding; Graham says that “other than a passing glance at a well-curved skirt”, he didn’t dwell on females; The Historical Notes at the end of the book mentions Mary Shelley (author of “Frankenstein”), her baby’s death (born prematurely), her lover having an affair, and another baby being conceived out-of-wedlock. 

-Amelia Balfour, age 27
-Graham Lambert
P.O.V. switches between them & Colin
Set in 1815 (Final chapter set in 1816)
320 pages

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Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- One Star
Older High School Teens- Two Stars 
My personal Rating- Two Stars

{Not for those sensitive to death or have recently lost a loved one.} 

After reading “The Thief of Blackfriars Lane” by this author and mostly enjoying it, I decided to look more into her other books. I read “The House at the End of the Moor” in the last few months and was so enthralled with the plotline, I gave it four stars. 

So, I had decently high hopes for this book. 

I think the major parts that affected my ratings were certain comments (such as Amelia noticing Graham’s chest hair when he removes his cravat and then her telling him a story about a couple being intimate together in a thicket of trees), but also that the last 40% of this book I was so Stressed. Yes, with a capital ‘S’. Very, incredibly stressed about how this book was going to end. And I have to say that I’m not a fan of how it ended. Some may like it, and while the faith content at the end made it a bit better, I’m coming away from this book sniffling and more than a bit sad. (Which apparently Frankenstein and stories inspired by that famous book are all typically sad. I did not know this and will be avoiding such topics from now on. Meanwhile my heart is ☹ )

It was heartbreaking in many regards, but mainly in Colin, Amelia’s younger brother, and how he is treated because he has a rare form of acromegalia as well as serve burns. We see his point of view and he was truly the only one I really liked in this story (more on that in a minute). He his called a monster by many and has lived secluded, not seeing anyone. It truly broke my heart to see the fear others had for him and the name-calling he was subject to. While it can be true for many in his shoes, I hate that happening so much. He is the only reason I’m giving this book two stars because I liked him as a character and found him to be the best one in it.

I had a really hard time connecting to Amelia and Graham, but mostly her. I found her to be somewhat selfish and she never endured herself to me. Graham’s faith content was interesting in this book, but again, overall, I never really liked him either. He never went with his any of the feelings in his gut on Mr. Peckwood and that bothered me a lot. Maybe I just have trust issues, but I would hope I wouldn’t be so hung up on someone’s accomplishments and avoiding the warning signs of something being wrong. (Hello, Graham, the wad of cotton?! And you’re still trusting this wack-a-doodle?!)

The book had a very melancholy and almost depressing feel, which isn’t helping my thoughts on it. I like my fiction books to end where everyone is happy and justice is served. This wouldn’t be a book for those sensitive to death or someone who recently lost a loved one. It’s pretty sad and while the faith content shown helps some, it was still a hard book for me to read. 



*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Barbour) for this honest review.
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(3.5 / 5)

When Amelia Balfour’s father dies, it puts a halt to her plans to travel to Cairo for her travel-writing career. She was never close to her father, but his death means that she is responsible to help her estranged brother through a surgery meant to cure a disorder that has caused him to grow to giant proportions. The surgery is experimental and risky, and even the surgeon’s new partner, Graham Lambert, has doubts about whether or not it is worth the danger to the patient.

If I could break this story down into parts, the plot would get at least 4 stars, but characters would get maybe 2-3. The writing would get 4-5 stars, but relationship development would get maybe 3. As you can imagine, it was difficult for me to put a single rating on this book, with which I had my ups and down. In the end, I did like the plot, which was mostly dark with a light of hope shining through. It was inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and not subtly, considering that the author herself has a small role in the book. There is a bit of a mystery in the book that I didn’t see the purpose of, but all in all, the story was good.

My biggest issues were with the characters and the relationships that developed between them. Graham is inconsistent in a way that frustrated me, at times attributing hope and sovereignty to God, but at other times saying he’s not a religious man and that God likely wants nothing to do with him. He’s also so often shown to be a man with a short temper and violent tendencies, though Amelia describes him as normally cool and calm. The relationship between the male and female MCs developed about like one would expect from a romance, but the one that bothered me was the friendship between Graham and Amelia’s brother, Colin. We really don’t see much development there, and then suddenly Graham thinks of him like a brother. I would have loved to see that progression.

I wished Amelia would have come to see how idolatrous her superstitions were a lot sooner, but overall I liked the Christian message presented in the book, especially Mrs. Bap and her total reliance on God and her comment that death for a believer is the ultimate healing. In the end, I’m glad I read it, and think most fans of Christian romances of the Regency era will enjoy this book, especially if they’re okay with a little darkness in the story.
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"We all have monsters within." - Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep

This is such a unique and interesting novel, especially in the Christian fiction genre. Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep is a Regency-era Gothic romance that imagines events which could have inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein. In fact, each chapter begins with an excerpt from Frankenstein. Ms. Griep's novel is dark, moody, and atmospheric, perfect for October reading.

The premise: Amelia, 27 and single, is a travel writer who's been awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Cairo by her employer. Her excitement is quashed when she learns her estranged father has died and she's appointed guardian for Colin, her 21-year-old brother. As their father's last wish, Colin will soon undergo major (and questionable) surgery to "cure" his unusual appearance resulting from childhood facial burns and acromegalia.

During Colin's daily pre-surgery treatments, he and Amelia form a friendship with Mr. Lambert, a physician with a kind heart and deep personal regrets. It's quickly evident that Mr. Peckwood, the surgeon who's eager to operate on Colin, cares more about his fame and prestige for curing "unfortunates" rather than the health and safety of his patients.

This novel explores the often barbaric care and treatment of individuals with mental health disorders and physical illnesses in the early 19th century. It was difficult to read some chapters, and I had a growing concern for Colin as the story progressed. Ms. Griep excels at creating characters readers feel strongly about, whether those feelings are positive or negative. I especially enjoyed the secondary characters in this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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A hauntingly beautiful book that demonstrates true beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love how Griep meshes together an old classic with her fresh insights and gifted writing skills. Despite Amelia being the main character, I fell in love with her brother. I love the backstory of how they found themselves seeking a surgeon. He reminded me of a gentle giant, and I loved his tenderness and compassion. A man who just wanted to be seen and be free to live and love. Society of that day could not and would not allow this happen, so enter the famed surgeon who promises to fix it and make it all better. Amelia loves him enough to believe she is fighting for his betterment. I appreciate the balance Graham brought to the whole story. He brought the voice of reason and ethics and fought not only for his own conscience, but for the poor and lowly. All the elements come together seamlessly, and I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book! There is nothing spooky at all. It looks at a dark story in a dark time and shines a beautiful light. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.
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GOTHIC!

Even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart.

Inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the author weaves her faith into this tale about a woman, her grotesquely disfigured brother, two doctors and an operation.

1815

Amelia Balfour has always dreamed of touring Egypt, but her plans (and dreams) are put on hold when she learns that a ground breaking, revolutionary surgery for her brother. This could really change things...but will the changes be for the better?

Surgeon Graham Lambert worries about the doctor he has gone into practice with. He has concerns about the surgery, can he stop it from happening?

This is a Gothic tale that is paired with tension, and faith. This is a light romance in this as well.

This tale is on the darker side, but hey, it is inspired by Frankenstein. There is also a lot of talk of God, faith, bible verses, etc. I read the description and didn't really get that there would be so much of it in the book. It didn't bother me, but some readers might not enjoy it while it will work really well for others.

I enjoyed this book and the gothic vibe. I think it is a great read for those long, dark, fall nights.


Thank you to Barbour Publishing, Inc. and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Frankenstein is my #2 most favorite book in the whole world. I adore Shelley and her novel more than words can say. So, as soon as I saw that Michelle Griep was publishing a Frankensteinesque novel I knew I had to have a copy of this book. I am SO glad I read Lost in Darkness — it is EXCELLENT. I love all the nods to Frankenstein; original character names used throughout for secondary characters in this book, a letter from Mr. Walton to Amelia, the fact that a young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (before she was Shelley) takes tea with Amelia, Colin’s monstrous form, a mad doctor, etc. OH! It was so fun to read. I love when modern-day writers extrapolate meaningful, timeless themes from works that came before and create new and outstanding pieces of literature, yet humbly give credence and recognition to those remarkable authors of the past. I find it to be a sign of respect, and Michelle Griep does this perfectly in Lost in Darkness. Griep also perfectly tells a unique story all her own. Lost in Darkness is an excellent read. The pacing is superb. The storyline is mesmerizing. The characters are excellently crafted. My heart hurt for Colin, I fully related to Graham’s innate need to do right but not fully knowing how, and I loved watching Amelia journey from “modern” woman needing no one to “modern” woman realizing she needs to pay attention to her heart’s yearnings. Then there are all the timely and thought-provoking themes that Griep addresses. There are so many quality things to discuss — this book would make an excellent book club read! Truly, Lost in Darkness is an unputdownable book, one I just cannot recommend enough.

You know what frustrates me the most about being a follower of Jesus? All those moments I think I’m doing things right only to realize I’ve totally stepped off His path. When Jesus says in Matthew 7 that the path to Him is narrow and only a few traverse it, He ain’t kidding. So, there is this scene in Lost in Darkness where Amelia steps out of her church and looks across the street to where a small street girl is desperately attempting to sell flowers. Almost every person walking out of the church ignores this girl, but for some reason, she calls to Amelia’s heart. As she contemplates how to help, Amelia accidentally walks into Mr. Lambert — so wrapped up in getting to the girl she just doesn’t see his handsome form before her. While they are gathering themselves and engaging in another round of romantically charged chit-chat, a very Pharisaical church-goer screams at the young girl to get out of his way and pushes her to the ground where she is at the mercy of his horses’ hooves as he has pushed her under his carriage. Mr. Lambert rushes to the rescue — he is the hero of this story in more ways than one for sure. Unbidden, as I was reading this moment, a thought popped into my brain: Jesus would never have gone into that church. He would have stayed outside with the people the church members didn’t even recognize as human. WHOA! For a second I had to pause. Clearly, Jesus needed me to see that image of Him refusing to go into a church. Then I got God-bumps — you know, those goosebumps that come when it’s super clear God is talking to you? Yeah, those bumps. I started to get really sad. I was then reminded of Matthew 8:20 where Jesus says that “the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Then I got to thinking about myself. Am I the “good” girl who goes to church every Sabbath, but then treats people like garbage the rest of the week? Am I the Pharisee in this scene? Do I value life or only my own? Would Jesus want to come to me or would He realize that I am not one of His kids? Would He find a place to rest His head with me? What about you, dear reader? Would Jesus find a place to rest His head with you, or are you guilty of Pharisaical moments too? What a wonderful story to get the reader to contemplate such important and profound questions!!!

Lost in Darkness is a FANTASTIC story that I won’t soon forget. There is something truly special about this book. Please, purchase yourself a copy today. You will not regret spending your hard-earned money on this gem.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Barbour Fiction, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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The theme related to where one places trust is artfully wound into this tale set in 1815, London, Linked with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Lost in Darkness guides readers to the Light. Fans of Jaime Jo Wright will be enthralled with this book by Michelle Griep, as well as those readers who may be new to either or both of these authors, but enjoy tales that tip the scale on the eerie side. Releasing in the fall season, it is the perfect read for a cool, rainy evening with a favorite hot beverage in hand. 

I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of Lost in Darkness from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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This book surprised me, it is not my go-to genre and didn't call to me, but since it was written by Michelle Griep, I had to read it. In the past, I have either loved her novels or been 'meh' about them. This one I liked more once I was really into the story, past the halfway point, then it was like a lightbulb came on and I could see so many underlying themes happening. Quite literally, the characters in this story are all lost in their own darkness, some of their choosing, some by circumstance, and some by nature. Who will find their way out and how will they change? 
Though neither sibling loved their father, they carry out his wishes of Colin having a new procedure in the hopes of "what if this actually works?" Amelia wants a better life for her brother and Colin though content to live with his deformity goes along in the hopes that the procedure might work. Along the way, both will meet people that will change their lives. 
Griep does so very well with making her characters have such depth you come to understand them, even the ones dubbed as evil or villains. The overarching storyline is fantastic and as mentioned, you can relate so many various themes to this story - light/dark, ethics, what constitutes beauty or ugliness, judgment, tragedy, compassion - the list goes on and on.   
This story does have an underlying slow-building sweet romance but the majority of it is gothic and dark. I feel that anyone can certainly appreciate many aspects of this novel even if gothic novels are not your thing. 
I received an advanced copy in exchange for my review.
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Awesome Regency gothic!

Colin Balfour is a monstrous sight. Disfigured by a “disease that causes abnormal growth.” 
His sister Amelia is a journalist and has just landed her dream assignment, a paid trip to Cairo to write a travel journal. Unusual for 1815. Strong minded and forthright, yet she carries a black tipped ibis feather. A talisman? A superstitious journalist it seems.
At the same time as the Cairo trip news, she receives notice of her estranged father’s death and a letter from him charging her with the guardianship of her brother, seeing to the continuation of his treatment.
Colin’s doctor “Uriah Peckwood, [is] a prominent and—as some claimed—rather provocative surgeon.” 
Graham Lambert, an ex naval surgeon and now Peacock’s partner, is troubled by Peacock’s treatment regime leading up to and including the operation. A procedure set in motion by the Balfour’s unlovely father.
Strange experimental hints and charlatan asylums add to the atmosphere.
For all Amelia’s compassion and strength of character, I can’t quite understand why she let Colin go ahead with the procedure. The silent Amelia does get into troubling situations as the tale progresses. Graham Lambert, first met accidentally when Colin arrives, becomes an important part of their lives.
I feel a deep sympathy with the tragedy that is Colin’s life. I felt quite bereft when Nemo and Colin are parted. Nemo is the lost abused boy Colin discovers squatting in the empty house next door. He develops a mentor type friendship with him. Nemo is not frightened by Colin’s face—he’s seen worse. Their relationship is an innocent source of acceptance for them both. The poignancy of them both exploring freedom under the cover of darkness, walking in the park, is heartbreaking. A five star compassionate optic.
I loved the inclusion of Mary Shelley as their next door neighbour. An unexpected yet intriguing inclusion. Delicious ‘What If’ possibilities of fact intruding into fiction! If Mary Shelley had based Frankenstein on Colin Balfour, what then? If she’d actually been the Balfour House neighbor what would she have garnished?
As usual Griep has woven her Christian faith throughout the story, never raucous, just abiding.
A Regency gothic tale that works with a fractured Beauty and the Beast tale twist, pointing towards who the monster really is, in the Frankensteinain depiction of Dr. Peacock as he reveals his true colors.

A Barbour Publishing ARC via NetGalley 
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
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Amelia Balfour has her life all arranged, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Cairo in her role as a travel writer. Then her father dies and asks her to do one last thing for him: finalise the arrangements for her brother to have a revolutionary operation and care for him until he's well again. Colin lives in the shadows, avoiding people because the sight of his deformed face and massive body is enough to frighten anyone out of their wits. When a doctor promises to cure him, he's hesitant but hopeful of a new life. Graham is growing increasingly suspicious of his new partner surgeon, and when the man claims he will be able to cure Colin, Graham is forced to choose between supporting someone he's no longer sure he trusts and destroying his own future by going against him. Is the cure really possible? And will Graham be able to live with himself if it fails? And what of his growing feelings for Amelia?

To be honest, I nearly didn't even pick up this book because the references to Gothic and Frankenstein made it sound like really not my cup of tea. However, this author is pretty much an automatic read for me, I decided to give it a go. And really, it wasn't as much 'horror' as I was afraid it might be, and I did enjoy it (though I'd still rather she went back to more her usual style). While there's a lot of uncertainty and trouble in the background, watching the relationships among the characters develop was well worth the read, and the growth of the characters themselves was very well painted. All in all, well written and thought-provoking read with a satisfying ending, if not a particularly light or happy story overall.

Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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Lost in Darkness by Michelle Griep is a beautifully written tribute to the beloved classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It’s a gripping story that instantly pulls you in. Griep cleverly combines age old philosophical questions and themes with a tantalizing love story. Her characters are sympathetic, endearing, and sometimes terrifying. It was definitely difficult to put down.

Amelia is a forward thinking 27 year old woman who believes love may have passed her by. She’s devoted to becoming a successful writer. When her estranged father passes away, she must choose between fulfilling his last wish and going on the adventure of a lifetime to Cairo. Her love for her younger brother and her desire to see him made whole prevails and she is able to postpone her dream for a time.  

Graham who was unfairly dismissed from the navy is seeking to establish himself with one of England’s most up and coming prominent surgeons. His determination earns him an assistant position. When he tries to help a woman in distress, he’s intrigued by her and then when visiting a potential patient for surgery, he meets her again. As the two grapple with the strange revolutionary treatment suggestions from Mr. Peckwood, they forge a strong friendship and respect for one another as well as a simmering attraction. 

“This need of yours to appear perfect will be your destruction. We all have monsters within. Is it not time you slay this particular dragon?” I loved the way the writer paid homage to the original classic by grappling with similar themes and questions. Some of these were: perfection, the definition of beauty, faith versus superstition, man’s will versus God’s will, the siren call of fame, and the ethics of scientific experimentation. 

I loved all of the characters. They were so well drawn. At the heart of this story, is Collin. He is such a memorable character that evokes at once compassion and sorrow. I wanted so badly for him to find happiness and treatment success. Amelia and Graham were such a great compliment to each other and I loved their relationship. There is one particular swoony scene where he demonstrates a certain technique that was filled with such palpable romantic tension I thought the pages would spontaneously combust. The villain is absolutely despicable and creates a great foil for Graham.

This is one story that you won’t want to miss. Those who have read Frankenstein will have an instant connection with this amazing story. However, for those who haven’t read the classic, they will still be able to love and appreciate this well written gothic novel. Highly recommend and look forward to reading more by this author. I received an advanced ebook copy from the author and Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and freely given. I was not required to provide a positive review.
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A thrilling story, gothic style, full of suspense, mystery and intrigue.  Likeable characters.  An engaging story line.  Full of twists and turns.  Savor this novel..  You will not be disappointed.  Five stars.
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I have read other Michelle Griep books and really enjoyed them. I started reading “Lost in Darkness” without reading a description of the plot. As I continued reading, I became intrigued and couldn’t put it down. The characters were well written. The storyline was interesting, although not my typical genre, I wanted to know the ending. The author is a masterful storyteller and wove a suspenseful tale. Beauty and the beast meet Frankenstein. The story is a classic tragedy. I appreciated the author’s notes at the end. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A page turner, for sure, you will need answers, and they are forthcoming all the way to the author's notes!

We are in 1815 England, and follow Amelia Balfour as she puts her wants aside to be there for her brother, her deceased father has commissioned a doctor to operate on Colin, and now Amelia is there for him.

There is someone so sinister and dark here, how many people have lost their lives to him, and now Colin may be the next victim, can surgeon Graham Lambert, stop the madness?

There is a bit of sweet romance, and there is also compassion for those less fortunate, economically and physically, and a play on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Barbour, and was not required to give a positive review.
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