3 out of 5 stars
12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR was an interesting read, but not altogether original. Besides the love story between Clara Chapman and Benjamin Lane, the overall premise reminds me of the 1976 movie, Murder by Death, written by Neil Simon.
It’s Christmas Eve in 1850s London. Several eccentric characters are summoned to Bleakly Manor with a promise. Whoever stays twelve days with receive a prize that will change their lives. Clara Chapman is promised five hundred pounds. Since her ex-fiancé ran off with her family fortune, receiving such a sum of money to care for her, and her ailing aunt would be a Christmas miracle. However, once she arrives at Bleakly Manor, she is stunned to see Benjamin Lane, the man that left her standing at the altar while he ran off with her family’s funds and embezzled from Blythe Shipping.
Benjamin Lane is shocked when he is the recipient of a valuable proposition. All he has to do is spend twelve days in Bleakly Manor. With nothing to lose, he agrees. When he shows up, he sees Clara Chapman, the woman who ignored him for the past nine months.
Along with the other guests at Bleakly Manor, Clara and Benjamin are committed to staying until they receive their promised due. As the days drag on, the guest list dwindles. Some by accidents, others because they feel they found what they were looking for and had no reason to stay longer. As for Clara and Ben, they discover the difference between truths and lies—discoveries that could change their futures forever.
12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR was a little too erratic for me. Other than Clara and Benjamin, the other characters beckoned to Bleakly Manor were crazy and hard to get attached to. The last fifty pages held enough excitement to keep me reading, and the bazaar twist at the end added some originality to what would’ve been considered a predictable ending. Though 12 DAYS AT BLEAKLY MANOR was not my cup of tea, those who enjoy quirky characters might find themselves more engaged then I was. However, I did like the packaging of this novel. The tattered pages and pseudo dustcover was very attractive and added old-world charm.
“I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”