Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

About the Book

Book Title: A Tale of two Hearts  
Author: Michelle Griep  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release date: September 1, 2018

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn. 

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit. 

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost. 

Can two hearts survive such a deception?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep is enjoyable, intriguing, and very clever. Being transported to the 1853 Victorian world of Dickens is pure pleasure at any time, but there’s just something special about the Christmas season. Michelle Griep is gifted at conveying the essence of a setting and its culture, so much so that I felt like I was in the middle of a PBS period drama, enjoying all the sights, sounds, and aromas of Victorian England. This historical romance has unexpected depth and complexity, as well as a plot that captured my interest throughout.

“In a word, I was too cowardly to do what
I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly
to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
- Great Expectations

Each chapter begins with a Dickens quote that beautifully foreshadows the events that will take place. We meet the delightful members of a secret society dedicated on accomplishing good, the Single Women’s Society of Social Reform, of which Mina is a member. My favorite part is the second-chance coin that is passed around in meaningful ways throughout this series. 

William and Mina are strong, appealing characters with a sweet chemistry between them. But the unethical situation William put Mina in created insecurity as to his motives. Mina confessed to her friend Effie, “I suppose I feel like a character in a book, not knowing how the plot will twist – and am unable to flip to the last page to find out.”

A Tale of Two Hearts is a story of love, grace, and second chances. I loved how it reflects on the need for faith rather than relying on self as it asks the question: Which is more important – the final outcome or the method by which you get there? There were several thought-provoking moments and here are two of my favorite quotes…

“My mother always told me to think of eternity, then live backward from that. Such a view has a way o’ whittlin’ down our current troubles to a size we can crumple up into a ball and toss aside.” (Effie)

“Real joy is not found in the best moments of life, but in trusting that God is making the best of every moment…even those as dreadful as death.” (Miss Whymsy)

A Tale of Two Hearts is a great read at Christmas or any time of the year. I hope for many more stories in the Dickens Christmas series.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan

If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

Victorian Christmas Foods

So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food? In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.
Victorian Oyster Stew
Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid 1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey. Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.
Drinking Chocolate
What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid 1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home. And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruit cake.
Christmas Pudding
Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table. If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!! Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 

Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

Creating Romance, October 2
The Avid Reader, October 2
Genesis 5020, October 3
The Power of Words, October 3
Just Commonly, October 3
Baker Kella, October 3
Among the Reads, October 4
Fiction Aficionado, October 4
Godly Book Reviews, October 4
Inklings and Notions , October 4
Multifarious, October 6
Texas Book-aholic, October 6
Remembrancy, October 7
Splashes of Joy , October 7
Back Porch Reads, October 8
A Reader’s Brain, October 8
Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, October 9
Carpe Diem, October 9
Britt Reads Fiction, October 10
Luv’N Lambert Life, October 10
By The Book, October 11
Book by Book, October 11
Bigreadersite, October 11
More Of Him, October 12
Pause for Tales, October 12
With a Joyful Noise, October 12
Have A Wonderful Day , October 12
Bibliophile Reviews, October 13
Vicky Sluiter, October 14
Daysong Reflections , October 14
Henry Happens, October 15
All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15


  1. I love Michelle’s books. I look forward to reading this new Christmas book. Thanks for the chance to win.

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

  2. I love Michelle’s books. I look forward to reading this new Christmas book. Thanks for the chance to win.

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

  3. Thank you for hosting this book tour. I have been a Charles Dickens fan since my childhood. Thank you for the salute to him using quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Looking forward to this book.

  4. Thanks for an awesome review! So glad you enjoyed your visit to London!

  5. This new book sounds like a great book to read. I can't wait to read it.

  6. I'm excited to read this book during the Christmas season this year!

    Looks like I just learned something today about "drinking chocolate" and "Christmas pudding". Cool facts!


  7. I'm eager to find out how this "pretend relationship" turns out, so I'm eager to read the book.

  8. I so enjoy Michelle's books. The first in this series was very good so I'm looking forward to reading A Tale of Two Hearts.

  9. I really enjoyed the synopsis of the book and I love the cover. Sounds like my kind of read.

  10. This sounds like a great book, the cover is pretty.

  11. Listening to the first in the series right now!