I was very intrigued by this book, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. The cover drew my attention with it being the first in a series, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Anything with “Dickens Christmas” makes me curious enough to pick it up and read.
Clara Chapman has been disgraced and left at the altar. She doesn’t know what her future holds, but when she gets an invitation sto spend Christmas at the English manor house, she doesn’t know what to think. Her aunt isn’t doing well, yet she tells Clara that she has to go and see. Clara does as she says and finds herself at the mansion with a whole host of different people. One of those people who shows up at the manor is her ex-fiance, Ben. Ben has been imprisoned on a false charge but a story has been made up to Clara. She doesn’t realize exactly where Ben has been and why, but only knows he left her at the altar.
The invitation to the manor all seems harmless enough. Each person is promised a reward if they stay the entire time at the manor. Upon their arrival, though, the rules get tweaked a little.
I liked the story and the concept behind the story. However, there were some spots where it became a little confusing because of the many characters coming into the story and going out of the story. I found myself having to turn back several times to remind myself which character was which. It almost reminded me of one of those murder-mystery dinners in the fact that you have to figure out who and what is really going on because not everything is as it appears. It even reminded me some of the game of Clue, in a way, or the Who Dunnit games. I liked the thought behind the story, but I think maybe a character chart or synopsis would have been very helpful for readers.
This book is a good mystery book with the feel of a Dickens book. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas.
I received this book free from Barbour Publishing and Shiloh Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.