“So many books. So little time.”
How many times have I said that? Probably enough to make me a walking, talking cliche. But it’s kind of true, you know?
I get these emails, you see. “New Tour Alert” followed by a title or cover that grabs me or by an author name that says, “You know you want to read me…”
Look, I did a lot of reviews last year, so I deliberately signed up for fewer ones this year. Just to be certain that if life throws any more curveballs I wouldn’t be overrun.
So life throws a pandemic that keeps me home with plenty of time to read, right?
Just kidding. I don’t have any more or less time than usual. My life hasn’t changed almost at all. I digress.
Books. Well, there are some authors who, when a tour announcement goes out, it’s an automatic “Um, YEAH!. Duh!” from me.
The House at the End of the Moor was one of those books. I saw Michelle Griep’s name and went, “Well, yeah!”
Then I read it and…
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When You Love an Author but not One Book
An opera singer in hiding and an escaped (but innocent) convict. Oh, and a Dartmouth moor. In the interest of full confessions, I will now admit that I snorted when I saw that Maggie has a slight obsession with Jane Eyre.
Told from three points of view in two styles (both third/past and first/present), the story becomes a bit jarring when the third POV is entered. I think it’s because we don’t get that POV right away. I do understand why Ms. Griep put in his POV and I think if they were all in the same tense it would have been less jarring. As it was, going from person to person, tense to tense, and first to third left me with a bit of mental whiplash. This style CAN be done well. I just finished one where it was employed, but the present time POV was 75 years later than the past tense POVs. It actually helped set the stage well instead of pulling you off it.
Additionally, while I LIKED the characters, I didn’t love them. Maggie was nice. Oliver was nice. Barrows was evil. Grout was evil. Corbin or whatever his name was… was evil. The most multi-layered character in the whole book was a minor character–Oliver’s father. He was my favorite. He and the other politician dude’s wife.
Oh! And ARGH. Dora? Was that the maid’s name? I can’t remember and the book is home, but I want her story. I suspect she has a cool one we’d all love to know.
Plot of The House at the End of the Moor… meh.
What Ms. Griep did really well was to put some of the difficult things in even as she used a bit of convenience to further the plot. It was as if she was writing a fantasy book where using a bit of magic by one of the character holds a penalty. So, every time she created a convenience, one character had to pay a bit. That’s a poor way to explain it, but it’s the best I can do.
All in all, it really felt like they were running around, doing a bunch of random things that really made no sense. At one point, Oliver is informed that something he thought he knew about his father was wrong for all these years. He finds out his father has been doing something really rather wonderful. And his reaction is to never speak to his father again.
I don’t get it. It’s as if we needed him mad at daddy so Maggie can have her little sermon, and then everyone can repent and live happily ever after.
UGH, that looks nasty written out that way. I don’t mean it to be. But that’s exactly how it came across.
The best part?
The spiritual content in The House at the End of the Moor is really the strongest element in the book, even with the preachy scene. There is some solid spiritual encouragement and Scriptural applications of sound Bible in the lives and revelations of the characters. THAT was beautiful, and really, it made the little sermonette not as bothersome as it otherwise would have been. Still, if Maggie had given that sermon BEFORE the discussion with the father, it all would have made so much more sense.
I didn’t love this book, but I still love the author. I’d like to lay blame on the first-person/present tense element. She did that in her “The Old Lace Shop” and I didn’t like it there. It worked better in this due to the “on the run” aspect, but only just.
Recommended to lovers of Michelle Griep’s work, Bronte book lovers, and readers who just enjoy lovely wordsmithing without strong expectations. While I’m not sorry I requested a free review copy, I am grateful to have received it. Looking forward to her next book, regardless.
The House at the End of the Moor is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Christian Historical
Release Date: April 2020
An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors
Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.
About the Author
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, 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 www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
More from Michelle
What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.
Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.
In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?
You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.
What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.
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The Avid Reader, April 18
Life of Literature, April 18
The Power of Words, April 18
For Him and My Family, April 19
Texas Book-aholic, April 19
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 19
Among the Reads, April 20
My Devotional Thoughts, April 20
As He Leads is Joy, April 20
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20
Just the Write Escape, April 21
Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 21
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 21
Where Faith and Books Meet, April 22
deb’s Book Review, April 22
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 22
Inklings and notions, April 22
Remembrancy, April 23
Hookmeinabook, April 23
Christian Bookaholic, April 23
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 24
Britt Reads Fiction, April 24
Emily Yager, April 24
Betti Mace, April 25
Stories By Gina, April 25
Adventures of a Traveling Wife, April 25
Blossoms and Blessings, April 25
Splashes of Joy, April 26
Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, April 26
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26
Blessed & Bookish, April 27
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27
Pause for Tales, April 27
Through the Fire Blogs, April 28
Hallie Reads, April 28
Faery Tales Are Real, April 28
To Everything There Is A Season, April 28
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29
Bigreadersite, April 29
Older & Smarter?, April 29
Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 29
Genesis 5020, April 30
Read Review Rejoice, April 30
By The Book, April 30
For the Love of Literature, April 30
All-of-a-kind Mom, May 1
Bookishly Beverly, May 1
Daysong Reflections, May 1
Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.