I’m just bursting with pride as I introduce both my guest reviewer and the author of our Lazy Summer Read today!
Gwendolyn Gage is a faithful follower here at Writing Beyond the Vows, and a great friend as well. I was elated when she semi-finaled in the Genesis contest (Amy Drown, our reviewer last week, did as well!). You can find her at her always thought-provoking blog: Gwendolyn Gage–Serving through Words.
Today, Gwen reviews another friend’s soon-to-be-released novel, A Heart Deceived. That friend and author is none other than the inimitable Michelle Griep, another Viking-lover from way back. And by Viking lover, you know me well enough to know I’m never referring to the football team. Although I think Michelle might be a fan of it, too.
With no further ado, here’s Gwen’s review. I think you’ll want to add this book to your To-Be-Read list, too! It releases June 20, so not long now.
A HEART DECEIVED by Michelle Griep
Book Review by Gwendolyn Gage
|A HEART DECEIVED–Amazon link|
Whenever I pick up a book by Michelle Griep, I know I’m in for fantastic imagery, sensory-rich setting, metaphors I’ll wish I’d thought of, plot twists and turns that keep me guessing–and last but not least–memorable characters. Can I say this without being weird? I loved the villain! I mean, yeah, Nigel was the bad guy, but he had personality plus, and a way of stealing the stage, I guess. He was humorous in his thoughts and interactions with others, and–I don’t know–I just found myself smiling when his POV popped up. (Seriously, I’m not weird.)
I don’t mean to imply that the hero and heroine weren’t lovable and interesting. Miri maintains a quiet strength as she struggles to keep her brother’s descent into madness a secret from the rectory workers and townspeople of Deverell Downs, and vacillates between love and hate for the man as he is overbearing and very cruel to her, and yet the only person standing in between her and a bleak future in the poor house. And the hero, Ethan, though he has good intentions and a desire for change, his battle with an opium addiction leads him into a nightmarish existence dependent on the one person who has every right to refuse to aid him, and would, if they knew his secrets. I loved his magic tricks!
A Heart Deceived is a time machine to the crossroad years between the 18th and 19th centuries, and I just grinned and soaked it in. Carriages splashing puddles, creaking ship masts, bed curtains. 🙂 It’s hard to write 18th century speech without slipping into unoriginal and boring–come on, now, let’s be real, it is–but the author proves that not only it can be easy to read, it can be colorful and unique to each character too. I’ve studied the 18th century extensively, and wondered if the portrayal of criminal prosecution leaned more toward the mid 19th century. But I’m no expert on the subject, and I believe the author did a fantastic job with her interpretation of the justice system.
It was a bit of work to get up to the quarter mark, but I expected it since I dived into this book with memories of slam, bang, time-travel beginnings. 😉 In fact, I’m not sure why I wasn’t grabbed from the first, since there is plenty going on Miri and Ethan’s lives, but once I got momentum, I never lost interest and was completely delighted with the darker Charlotte Bronte style. The plot had an unknown, shrouded-in-mist feel to it, and that was part of its charm for me. Yes, I’m a big on structured plots, but I believe the author managed the best of both worlds in this one. I had a hunch of where she’d take the story as the plot points unfolded, but I wasn’t completely sure, and had lots of fun guessing. Boy, did I get nervous toward the end, and kudos to the author for such a poignant scene at the hero’s low point.
An engaging story that aptly demonstrates the difference between hearts sincere and humble toward God, and those deceived and blinded by pride. A treat to read, and I look forward to reading more by Michelle Griep.
To find out more about Michelle Griep and A HEART DECEIVED, visit her website here: Writer off the Leash.
****Thanks so much for your review, Gwen! I look forward to reviewing YOUR books someday! And Michelle is such a wordsmith–I can instantly recognize her posts on Novel Rocket because her writing voice is SO strong. Looking forward to having Michelle share more about her novel here this summer. Have you all read many Regency novels? I love that this one has the Gothic slant. Any thoughts or questions for Gwen?****