Cover Image: Lost in Darkness

Lost in Darkness

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Member Reviews

These characters are so well written that even the morally gray ones keep your attention.
This is the second book I have read by Michelle Griep and once again I really like her character creation and world building. I find that she has a knack for revealing enough information at the get go to pique your interest in learning more about brand new characters and locations without feeling like you are reading and essay on a particular era’s fashion, architecture, or food. This makes for very interested reading and eagerness to learn more about the tidbits that are dropped along the way. 

Wonderfully woven nods to classic horror and gothic romance without creating a retelling.
I found this book to deliver on what it claimed – a regency-era gothic romance intertwined with inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. With tones from all the wonderful classic horror books – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and the like – and a touch of the gothic romance novels – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc. – this book weaves them all together nicely with nods to the genres without being a retelling of any. 
I recommend this book for anyone who loves gothic romance novels.
Stars 3.5 
Would I Recommend? Yes
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Overall, a strongly gothic novel with a strong dash of horror.

I enjoy Gothic but I dislike horror and for me personally, it trended too much toward horror and tragedy.  It’s a very heavy, intense read, and there is quite a bit of surgical gore involved with Graham’s doctoring career.

One thing I did appreciate was the message about superstition and I did like the very appropriate Christian message.  I also liked both lead characters and found Colin to be a real heartbreaker with his health conditions and issues.  

Overall, a promising novel that was disappointing to me simply because it’s not my favorite type of story.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a free reading copy.  A favorable review was not required.
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Okay, not going to lie, that ending was depressing and I may or may not have sobbed. Why??? I won't say more for spoilers, but just . . . watch out. However, the premise of this book was absolutely fascinating! Its regency era and gothic and dark and full of mystery. And that cover is giving me serious Poldark vibes. This book is just . . . vibey in the best way. Definitely recommend if you're looking to break out of more traditional reading trends! THis one will fit the bill. Also, the romance was so sweet and I loved Amelia's protectiveness and love towards her brother. And Graham is just about the swooniest surgeon to ever grace the pages of a book. Add this to your must-read list, but watch out for that ending.
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Amelia Balfour has traversed the globe as a travel writer, an unusual position for a woman in Regency England. Now duty calls her home, as her younger brother Colin faces a life-altering surgery for his birth defects. The siblings, who were once close, have a touching reunion as they prepare for Colin's procedure.

Graham Lambert's desperation lands him a partnership with an unusual doctor. As the man prepares to operate on Colin, Graham balks at the man's techniques. Though his hands are largely tied, Graham attempts to oversee Colin's treatments in order to lessen the severity of the methods. His time with the Balfour siblings draws him close to each of them in their own way.

You know those books where you know more as a reader than the characters do? This was one of those for me. You watch from the perspective of knowing things have to turn out a certain way based on history and science, yet the exact way it will play out is a mystery. I came to care for Amelia, Colin, and Graham, and believe that you will, too.

This was my first Michelle Griep novel, but I can't wait to read more! I loved her use of language and the way she wrote this story with its Gothic style while also packing it with hope and light. My only small complaint was that the ending had a small deus ex machina aspect. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

I received my copy of the book from NetGalley. All thoughts in this review are my own.
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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...
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Wow! Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has long since been a favorite book of mine. I studied it pretty in depth years and years ago. It captivated me. My peers were about 50/50 for those who liked it and those who just thought it was so-so. Me, on the other hand, I couldn't get enough. I read it, then read it again. And again. Then in school we tore it apart and dove into so many different aspects of it. Wonderful book.

When I saw that Michelle Griep was writing a book inspired by Frankenstein I was pretty excited! Combine a favorite author with a favorite book feels like a win-win to me. And it's a Gothicesque novel. Even better!!! I was very captivated. I actually started it late one night when I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to set it down. The characters were wonderful and I was watching for so many different signs of how the author tied it into Shelley's book. Amelia's character and the little tidbits we get at first were very fascinating. Her reticence to see her brother and her father's behavior from her childhood and present, all building nicely and pulling me deeper and deeper into the book.

Graham was just as interesting. His back story was vague, but just enough to sprinkle questions throughout my thoughts as the story unfolded. Then his path crossed with Amelia and her brother's.

Very well written. All the questions and doubts over the surgeon and surgery as well as his methods. I wanted to reach through the book and ask them if they just didn't see all the signs. Why are they trusting him? But then the brother would have his scenes and his point of view was so intriguing that I was hoping for him and the surgery to be successful. So many emotions written into these characters and their sorrows and hopes and dreams. Then the surgery and afterwards. Wow! I'm not going to say anything else about it.

Then we have the tie-ins for Mary Shelley. I loved learning more about her life. I know I studied it somewhat all those many years ago but it's been so long with so many other things going into my brain that I didn't remember them all. Loved it!

Content: This is a Gothicesque novel so it has some darker themes and tone. But it is written clean. It is also a Christian Fiction book so the characters reference church and God but was written in a way that reflects well for these characters and this time period.

I received a copy from the publisher, Barbour Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!
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This book was a different experience for me than other books I've read by Michelle Griep. It reminded me a lot of Charles Dickens, in the sense that it was in England and highlighted the darker aspects of the times: poverty, mistreatment of those who are vulnerable, and had an overall gothic feel. Griep did a good job creating the tone and atmosphere of the era and setting up the plot to include a connection to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."
    I took a chance on this story because I love the author, and I was intrigued by how she might craft the plot. It was well done. However, the timing just wasn't right for me to fully appreciate it. It's not really a happily ever after story, but one that left me feeling grieved. Grief for the injustice of evildoers wreaking havoc on the vulnerable, of a family torn apart by said evildoer, of loss of loved ones, and even the loss of a way of life. There's more, which made the book feel heavy for me. The romantic aspect of the plot was nice but brief, and when I finished the last page I wasn't left feeling that this was about the love for a man and woman, but the familial love between a brother and sister. A faith element was also included in this novel, which I appreciated, and it fit in very well with what was going on in the story.
    If you're a fan of gothic regency era novels, you will appreciate this book. Michelle Griep is a wonderful author and I'll probably read more of her work, just not this particular genre.
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Amelia is a travel writer in 1815 and has plans to go to Cairo – plans that are put in jeopardy when her father dies and she must oversee caring for her disfigured brother while he goes through surgical treatment. Travelling back to her childhood home, she sees her brother, Colin, for the first time in seven years. Graham Lambert, a surgeon, takes up a partnership with Dr Peckwood but soon comes to question his methods, including those to be used on Colin.

I LOVE Frankenstein and am a sucker for retellings and novels inspired by. Gothic novels are such a treat, but unfortunately, it seems as though the gothic part was largely forgotten.

It was difficult for me to get into and took a while – at 20%, if I’m honest, when they started the preparations for Colin’s surgery. From there my attention wavered.

I didn’t know this was Christian fiction when I started it, but it was quite obvious once I began reading. Books labelled as such usually aren’t my scene and I tend to avoid them as they make me uncomfortable.*

And maybe that’s why I found it so hard to relate to the main character. She wasn’t all that likable in my opinion. She’s supposed to be a clever woman, but at first, she hardly even questions the disturbing methods the doctor plans to use on her brother. It seems she just wants him to have the surgery so she doesn’t have to bother herself with him again and get back to work. Also, we’re told by every point of view – even Colin’s – that he is disfigured. But in Amelia’s POV, the only character she doesn’t seem to give an insulting appearance to is Graham (though she does remark ‘he was not handsome per se, not in a worldly sense. Nothing about him smacked of style or refinement’). She was one of the few characters given a nice description and was to be found attractive.

I felt so bad for Colin. He was such a sweet character and deserved so much better than how he was treated. Nobody really seemed to care about what he wanted, not even his sister. And the poor man! Apparently whenever people saw his face, it would cause them (grown adults) to yell ‘Monster! Beast!’ And run away in fright. Yes, a completely normal and rational adult response.

The scenes really aren’t set that well, the descriptions are lacking. We’re told the house had a bad vibe. ‘If houses had souls, this one was clearly bound for Hades’ – I love this line! But we really don’t go into detail about why. Yes, Amelia has some bad memories attached to it, but Graham thinks something similar, but no reason is given.

The plot had a potential that just wasn’t met. One part that I really question is: Their father is dead and neither Amelia nor Colin seemed to care for him when he was alive, so why are they following what he wanted? Why couldn’t they just do what Colin wanted?

*I want to be clear that this being Christian fiction had little to do with my rating of this novel. Honestly, it only knocked off one star. The rest were for everything else mentioned above. Again, it has NOTHING to do with the low rating!

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This story. Oh, this story. I am honestly without words -- still processing.
Where to begin? This is one of those stories that poses the question: What makes a monster? And what makes a man? Colin, though outwardly deformed, has a beautiful, kind soul. My heart broke for him over and over again. For such a person to be shunned, feared, and hidden away speaks to our world's obsession with beauty. I found myself considering how I react to others' outer appearance, rather than their true inner being. To see the haunted life this gentle man endured was absolutely agonizing.
Colin's opposite, and the villain of the story, is a outwardly successful but inwardly twisted shell of a man. It was horrific to witness the atrocities committed by this being, and I find it shameful that actions like his actually sit in the histories of our psychological and medical advancements. Again, it really makes one think.
I love Michelle Griep's writing. It's lushly descriptive and gothically atmospheric. You feel like you are in the story, witnessing the characters' actions, rather than reading about them.
With all that said, this story broke me. The horror of Colin's experiences were not adequately counterbalanced by the beauty of his sister's fall into love. I wholeheartedly recommend this one to anyone loving a gothic, tragic tale with positive moral tones and a Christian perspective. If you read to escape the darkness of life however, you may want to look elsewhere. Choose carefully.
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WOW! This one is a story right up there with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for sure! She is even a character in this Gothic Romance. This one will stay with me for a long time. I found myself telling Amelia many times to... wait... think this over.. you know this is not normal practice for a doctor even if he is well known. Oh my, what her poor disfigured brother must have gone through! Read the book description, if it appeals to you... Read the book!! You won't be disappointed!   Absolutely one for my favorite list. I requested a copy through NetGalley, no review was required. My opinion and review are voluntary.
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Amelia Balfour wants nothing more than to be a world-famous travel writer, and she doesn't need a man in her life to accomplish that, thank you very much. An upcoming trip to Cairo promises to be the pinnacle of her career until a letter arrives from her late father.

Amelia's brother, Colin, may look like a monster, but inside he has a deep faith and a heart of gold. Can a new and risky surgery give him a chance to be out in public, or is the risk too great?

Graham Lambert was making his way in the world as a naval surgeon until an unfortunate incident threatened to end his career. Becoming partners with Mr. Peckwood, an innovative surgeon and medical researcher, seems like a good opportunity. But is Peckwood putting his research before patient safety? Can his risky new surgery help Amelia's brother, or is it all just a way of trying to make a name for himself? Graham finds himself with these questions and more as he tries to do what's best for his patients. And it wasn't part of his plan to fall in love with Amelia, but that's definitely what's happened.

The characters in this book went straight into my heart (well, not the villain!) and the story line was novel and intriguing. I knew this book was going to be darker and sadder than most of Michelle Griep's novels, but I can't resist reading anything she writes. Her characters are always real and relatable, her style is witty, and her faith real. I loved this story and the character development Amelia and Graham went through. My heart broke for Colin, but I was inspired by his steady faith in God. 

The ending was a tearjerker for sure, and I wish it could have been different, but being loosely based on Frankenstein, I knew from the get-go that it wouldn't be. The title may be Lost in Darkness, but there is plenty of light scattered along the way. Five stars.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Not my favorite by this author. While I really liked the characters, I wasn’t sold on it. I just struggled to get into it. Not really a fan of Frankenstein so…
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Amelia is a female travel writer during the gothic period which is quite an accomplishment! After the death of her cruel father, she returns home to care for her brother who has a disease which makes him excessively large and deformed after a surgery to make corrections. It was hard to believe that doctors used such horrific and untested procedures! You will wonder why toys keep appearing in Balfour House! Mr. Lambert disagrees with the senior surgeon Mr. Peckwood's methods but does he dare vocalize this? If you enjoy intense fiction, you will want to read Lost in Darkness! I received a complimentary e-book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
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This one has a flair for the gothic, with monsters and evil doctors and tragic consequences of pride. It is a mildly twisted Frankenstein story (in fact, Mary Shelley is a character), but with added romance and a little less macabre scenes. I love Colin, who is so sweet and misunderstood. I love Graham and Amelia and their romance is sweet and satisfying. 

I hate Mr. Peckwood. With a passion. If I could reach between pages and strangle someone, that someone would be him. Which tells me this is a well-written book, otherwise I wouldn’t wish death on a character so vehemently. Also, I am a nurse, and the sheer lunacy of the medical procedures this man prescribes makes me want to make him dead. 

*deep breath*

Anyway, I liked this one and recommend it to anyone who likes a slightly darker tale without going fully into horror. 

Rated Pg-13 for some intense scenes
—clean romance
—little to no language
—some violence
—some medical-related scenes
—little gore

I received this ebook free from NetGalley. My opinions are freely given.
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With echoes of Frankenstein and even a brief appearance by Mary Shelley herself, Griep's Lost in Darkness is an engrossing blend of the gothic and romantic. A page-turner to the very end!
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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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