Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep
Published by Barbour Publishing February 01, 2019
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?
The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.
A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.
Michelle Griep offers her readers three novellas that span the 19th century and include lovely settings for all three stories that will have readers wishing each story was just a bit longer.
I was interested to see how this book would be, given the inclusion of three short stories within the covers. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed each book separately but wished they were each slightly longer, mainly to get more background information for the characters. I would definitely say that the first story, The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady, was my favorite given it setting and subject. Helen Fletcher has come to the Cornish coast to spend time with her ailing father. But a feud between a young business man and his former employer lead to the boarding of the vessel that brings her to Cornwall. Little realizing that the handsome smuggler is her father’s benefactor, Helen is shocked when she finds out just who Isaac Seaton really is. Struggling to reconcile the two sides of this man, Helen determines not to lose her heart unless Isaac proves his reasons for smuggling are not for selfish gain. Isaac is challenged by this kind but feisty young woman’s words and faith. He will have to determine if his smuggling reasons still matter or if there is a better way to help others out. I love the British Isles and stories set there always seem to be well done. And while it was a bit hard at first to connect with the characters, I loved the action and adventure throughout the story. And the spiritual side of things was nicely done without feeling forced or annoying. The second story was really good too, with its setting in the Dakota territory. Emmy Nelson has served Fort Snelling and the surrounding communities alongside her missionary doctor father for many years, albeit without formal training as a nurse. Her more natural methods which include some Indian medicine cause a clash between her and the new doctor at the fort. But despite a bad initial meeting, Dr James Clark recognizes Emmy’s skill and her heart to help others. Requesting that she remain at the fort as his aide means spending more time with her, and leads to a good friendship and possibly more. But James will have to decide if he still wants to return to the city or if God has called him to a greater purpose than he ever dreamed. And Emmy will have the chance to fulfill her dream of ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of those in the Dakota Territory. I enjoyed this story and felt it was the most complete of the three, even though it wasn’t my favorite one. The dialogue was good and the pacing of the story was excellent. I also liked how both main characters learned lessons and grew spiritually in a realistic manner. The third story was my least favorite because it felt the most incomplete. Amanda Carston is trying to earn respect from her friends and her father and so sets out to make a difference in the lives of the poverty stricken. Knowing there are many in the city who cannot afford to educate their children, Amanda hopes to turn a dilapidated former mansion into a school for the poor. The only problem is that she cannot discover the deed holder nor can she find anyone else who knows. Joseph Blake is Amanda’s longtime friend, new beau and the secret owner of the ramshackle mansion Amanda wants to buy. Joseph works alongside a minister to help “soiled doves” escape their terrible line of work and the mansion is key to helping these women. Hoping to find a way to shut down the largest brothel in St. Paul, Joseph keeps his secret until doing so puts Amanda in danger from an evil man. Working together will require trust and forgiveness that both Joseph and Amanda must discover for the other. So, the plot is good but the actual telling of it just seemed too rushed for my taste. I did like the outcome and the characters but would have like a little more page time for the story to play out. The spiritual side of this story was also a little lacking and could have used a bit more bite. Overall, I enjoyed these stories and will certainly recommend them to others. I’m very pleased that Ms. Griep improved her writing as compared to her last book. I’m looking forward to the next work that Ms. Griep releases.
I received this E-book free of charge from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.