A London officer goes undercover to expose a plot against the Crown Dover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm. All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother. Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.
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. And guess what? She loves to hear from readers! Feel free to drop her a note at email@example.com.
Read an Excerpt
Dover, England, 1808
Numbers would be the death of Johanna Langley.
Three hours of sleep after a night of endless — or more like hopeless — bookkeeping. Two days to pay the miller before he cut off their flour supply. And only one week remained until the Blue Hedge Inn would be forced to close its doors forever.
Numbers, indeed. Horrid little things.
A frown etched deep into Johanna's face as she descended the last stair into the taproom. Stifling a yawn, she scanned the inn's public room, counting on collaring their lone boarder, Lucius Nutbrown. His payment would at least stave off the miller. Six empty tables and twelve unoccupied benches stared back. Must all the odds be stacked against her?
To her right, through the kitchen door, an ear-shattering crash assaulted the silence, followed by a mournful "Oh no!" Johanna dashed toward the sound, heart pounding. Dear God, not another accident!
She sailed through the door and skidded to a stop just before her skirt hem swished into a pool of navy beans and water. Across from her, Mam eyed the flagstone floor, one hand pressed against her mouth, the other holding the table edge.
Johanna sidestepped the mess. "You all right, Mam?"
Smoothing her palms along her apron, her mother nodded. "Aye. That crock were a mite heavier than I credited."
"As long as you're not hurt. You're not, are you?" She studied her mother's face for a giveaway twitch in her poor eye. Unlike her father — God rest his soul — her mother would make a lacking card shark.
"I'm fine. Truly." A weak smile lifted the right side of Mam's mouth.
With no accompanying twitch.
Johanna let out a breath and grabbed a broom from the corner. First, she'd tackle scooping up the beans and earthenware shards, then mop the water.
"Where is Cook?" Johanna asked while she worked. "Why did you not let her carry such a load?"
"Ana's gone, child. I let her go this morning."
The words were as vexing a sound as the bits of stoneware scraping across the floor. Though her mother's declaration was not a surprise, that didn't make it any easier to accept. A sigh welled in her throat. She swept it down with as much force as she wielded on the broom. Sighing, wishing, hoping ... none of it would bring Ana back.
She reached for the dustpan. "I suppose we'll have to forego the plum pudding this year then, too, eh?"
"Pish! Oak Apple Day without plum pudding?" Mam snatched the dustpan from her hands, then bent in front of the crockery pile. "You might as well hang a CLOSED shingle on the front door right now. What's next ... leaving off the garland and missing the prayer service as well?"
"Of course not." Setting the broom aside, Johanna grabbed Mam's hands in both of hers and pulled her to her feet. "God's seen us through worse, has He not?"
"Aye, child. That He has." For an instant, the lines on her mother's face softened, then just as quickly, reknit themselves into knots. "Still —"
"No still about it. If we fail to trust in His provision, what kind of faith is that?" "Aah, my sweet girl ... you are a rare one, you are."
The look of love shining in Mam's good eye squeezed Jo's heart. She'd smile, if she could remember how, but she didn't have to. Boyish laughter from outside the kitchen window cut into the tender moment.
Johanna flew out the back door and raced around the corner of the inn. Boys scattered like startled chickens, leaving only one to face her in the settling dust.
Folding her arms, she tried to remember that Thomas's wide eyes and spray of freckles made him appear more innocent than he really was.
"What are you doing here?" she asked. "You should've been down to the docks long ago. If Mr. Baggett or the Peacock's Inn boy beat you to it, and we miss out on new guests —"
"Aww, Jo." His toe scuffed a circle in the dirt. "You know I'm faster 'an them. 'Sides, the ferry's not due in for at least another hour."
"Even so, if you're not the first to persuade those arrivals to stay at our inn, I fear we won't ..." She paused and craned her neck one way then another to see behind the boy's back. Her brother shifted with her movement — a crazy dance, and a guilty one at that. "What are you hiding? Let's see those hands."
His shoulders stiffened. Times like this broke her heart afresh with longing for her father. As much as she needed him, how much more did the young boy in front of her?
She popped her hands onto her hips and stared him down. "Now, young man."
A sigh lifted his chest. Slowly — any slower and she'd wonder if it physically pained him — one arm stretched out, then the other. When his fingers unfolded, crude wooden dice and several coins sat atop his palms.
"Thomas Elliot Langley!"
"Well I won, din't I?" He cocked his head at a rakish angle, his freckles riding the crest of a wicked smirk. "And against Wiley Hawk and his band, no less. Pretty good, eh Sis?"
"You were gambling?" The word filled her mouth like a rancid bit of meat. Sickened, she pressed a hand to her stomach. "Oh, Thomas, how could you? You, of all people, know the evils of such a pastime."
"We were just playing. That's not gambling." A scowl darkened his face, matching the low-lying blanket of grey clouds overhead. "It's fun. Something you wouldn't know anything about."
"What I know is that gamblers are never to be trusted. And worse, you lied about it. Is that the sort of reputation you want spread from one end of Dover to the other? Thomas Langley, the liar? What will Mam say? What do you think this will do to her?"
His toe scrubbed the dirt once again. What had been a scowl morphed into a grimace. "Don't tell Mam, Jo. Please don't."
Was that glistening in his eyes authentic? Hard to say — and even harder to remain cross with his quivering lip and thin shoulders slumping like an old man's.
"Very well." She stretched out her palm. "Hand over that ill-gotten gain, and we'll keep this between ourselves."
With a sly grin, he sprinted off, bits of gravel spraying up from his feet. As he raced, he yelled over his shoulder, "Sorry, Jo! I've a ferry to meet."
Picking up her skirts, she dashed after him, then lessened her pace as she neared the main road. What would people think of her, chasing her scamp of a brother? She'd never catch him anyway. Oh, what a day this was turning out to be.
She slowed, then stopped, her eyes narrowing. Was that a flash of yellow-stockinged legs dangling over the inn's front-door awning? She flattened against the wall and watched.
A loosened shingle smacked onto the ground ahead of her, followed by the thunk of two feet. So that's how Lucius Nutbrown snuck in and out without her knowing.
Girding herself mentally for a conversation that was sure to be ridiculous, Johanna pushed from the wall. "Mr. Nutbrown, a word, if you please."
For an instant, his body stiffened into a ramrod. Then he turned, the creases around his mouth settling into a smug line. For a man so lean, how he managed to gather such extra skin on his face was a wonder. When he reached into an inner pocket of his dress coat, Johanna rolled her eyes. Indeed. This would be ridiculous.
Nutbrown's hand emerged, covered with a raggedy court-jester puppet, which he promptly held out front and center. "Sorry, Miss Langley." The puppet's head bobbed side to side, the man's falsetto voice as crazed as the movement. "Mr. Nutbrown is late to an appointment. He shall attend you later this evening. Good day."
Nutbrown pivoted, the tails of his coat swinging wide. Did he seriously think she'd let him off that easily?
Heedless of who might be watching, she darted ahead and stopped directly in his path. "I'm afraid not, sir. This cannot wait."
His brows pulled together, drawing a dark streak above his eyes, yet he shoved the jester forward. "Very well, miss. But make it quick."
"Please, put away your puppet, sir. It gains you nothing." She extended her hand. "Pay up your room and board for the past fortnight, and I shall have nothing more to say."
The jester's head plummeted, his plaster nose pecking her palm.
She yanked back her hand. "Mr. Nutbrown! Really! I should hate to bring the magistrate in on this, but if I must —"
"No." Nutbrown's hands shot up as if she'd aimed a Brown Bess at his chest, the crazy puppet waving like a banner overhead. In three long-legged strides, he sidestepped her, lowering the puppet out at arm's length. "By week's end, Miss Langley, you shall be paid in full. You have Mr. Nutbrown's word on it."
The puppet disappeared into his coat, and Nutbrown scurried down the street.
Wonderful. The word of a jester made of cloth and papier-mâché, and the clown who wore it upon his hand. Yet he was their sole source of income unless she could pry those coins from Thomas's fingers, which wasn't likely. Bending, she gathered up the dry-rotted chunks of broken shingle and frowned. Her world was falling apart as tangibly as the inn — the place she loved most. The home she and Thomas and Mam must leave if they didn't come up with the rent payment by the end of next month.
Holding tightly to the shingle remnant, she closed her eyes. At the moment, her faith felt as crumbly as the wood — which was always the best time to pray.
"Please God, provide a way. Fill the inn ... and soon."
* * *
Knuckles hovering to strike, Officer Alexander Moore slid his gaze once more to the left. It paid to think before pounding away, be it in a street brawl or — as in this case — on a door. A tarnished brass relief of the number seven hung at an angle, as if no one had given the slightest thought before nailing up the house number. Considering the man who supposedly lived here, the haphazard detail stayed his hand a second more. Had he written down the magistrate's address incorrectly?
Only one way to find out.
He pounded thrice, then stepped back, ready for anything. Behind him, hackney wheels ground over cobbles, grating a layer off his already thin nerves. Magistrate Ford never — ever — invited guests over for dinner. So why him? Why now?
Hinges screeched an angry welcome as the door opened. Lantern light spilled over the pinched face of a tall man shrouded in a dark dress coat, dark waistcoat, and darker pants. Rounding out the theme was a single-looped cravat, black as a crypt, choking the fellow's neck. A ghoul could not have been garbed more effectively. The man didn't say a thing, but even without words, Alex got the distinct impression he read, condensed, and filed away every possible facet of him in a glance — from shoe size to propensity for warmed sherry.
And Alex didn't like it one bit. That kind of intelligence gathering was supposed to be his specialty.
"My apologies. I must have the wrong address." Alex nodded a valediction, careful to keep a wary eye on the figure from the dead. "Good evening."
"Step this way, Officer Moore." The fellow set off without looking to see that Alex complied, nor even that the door was shut or locked. The magistrate would never abide such ineptitude down at Bow Street. Surely this was a ploy, or perhaps some kind of test of his wit.
Aah. A test? A slow smile lifted half his mouth.
With a grip on the hilt of his dagger, he unsheathed the blade and withdrew it from inside his great coat. Crossing the threshold, he left the door wide should a quick escape become necessary and trailed the disappearing lantern down a hall as lean as the man he followed.
At the end of the corridor, the grim reaper tapped twice on a closed door, then pushed it open without waiting for a response. The brilliance of the room reached out and pulled Alex forward. He entered a grand dining hall, incongruous in size and opulence with the street view of the ramshackle building. Crystal wall sconces and an overhead chandelier glittered light from one mirrored panel to another. A thick Turkish rug sank beneath his steps. The place was fit to house a peer of the realm, not a law keeper who served out gritty justice to the malefactors of London.
Directly across from him stood Bow Street Magistrate, Sir Richard Ford, stationed at the farther end of a polished table. Ford snapped shut a pocket watch and tucked it inside his waistcoat, then skewered him with a piercing gaze. "Prompt as always, eh Moore?"
"I try, sir."
Flipping out his coattails, Ford sat, then shook out a folded linen napkin and covered his lap. "Put that weapon away and have a seat. I invited you to dinner, not a skirmish."
The butler stepped forward, offering his arm to collect Alex's coat.
Alex sheathed his knife, then shrugged out of his woolen cloak and handed it over with a whispered warning. "You might want to shut that front door."
Across the long table, Ford chuckled. "Your concern for Underhill is admirable, but quite unnecessary. Though my butler's appearance leaves much to be desired, his service is impeccable. As for the door, by now it's not only sealed but would take a two-ton battering ram to break it in."
Sinking into the chair, Alex cocked a brow.
"You doubt me?" Ford's question dangled like a noose.
"Never, sir. Just curious, is all. Seemed a simple enough slab of oak."
"Oak, yes. Well, mostly. As for simple?" Ford shook his head. "Pulleys, gears, a generous portion of iron reinforcement. Try putting in a monstrosity like that without attracting attention from one end of the neighborhood to the other."
The magistrate paused to ring a small silver bell sitting next to his plate. Before the last of the short chime cleared the air, a housemaid entered with a tray.
Ford ignored her as she set a steaming bowl in front him. "I suppose you're wondering why I asked you here."
Only a thousand times. The retort lay dormant on his tongue. To admit he'd anguished over this meeting would show weakness — a trait he'd vowed never again to embrace. He followed the sleek movement of the girl as she placed his bouillon on the table, then returned his gaze to the magistrate. "The thought crossed my mind that, perhaps, I was to be the main course."
A thin smile stretched the magistrate's lips. "Not that you don't deserve to be after your unorthodox capture of Ned Dooley."
And there it was. What this entire charade was about. Alex leaned forward, bumping the table and rippling the wine in his glass. "Regardless of how it was accomplished, sir, Dooley's conviction ended that smuggling ring, saving countless lives, not to mention the expense spared to the Crown. How you can possibly say —"
Ford's hand shot up, cutting off further comment. "You already know my thoughts on the matter. I daresay neither of us will sway the other's opinion, so let us officially consider this topic closed to discussion. There is a much larger scheme prompting this meeting."
"Must be spectacular." Alex sank back in his chair. "Inviting me here is a singular event. As far as I know, not a runner has ever uncovered where you live, and though I begged you time and again as a lad, you never relented."
"Indeed. Sometimes extreme measures are necessary." Ford shooed away the serving girl with a flick of his fingers, then sat motionless until she disappeared through a hidden panel in the wall. He took a moment to sample his soup. "I would like you to go incognito for a while."
Taking the magistrate's lead, Alex picked up his spoon and downed several mouthfuls of his broth, tasting nothing. Something was not right about the magistrate's request. Ford could've asked him the same thing in his office without the pretense of dinner. In fact, he could've asked any number of other officers or — suddenly understanding dawned bright and clear.
He shoved back his chair. "With all due respect, I've hardly forgotten the assignment you handed Brentwood last year. Am I the only available officer for you to proposition?"
The more he thought of Nicholas Brentwood's previous mission, the hotter his blood ran. He'd sooner quit than be saddled with the care of a spoiled rich girl, as had his friend — even though it turned out well in the end.
Rising, he frowned at the napkin as it fell to the carpet. Let the impeccable butler pick it up. In fact, let Underhill have the assignment. "My thanks for your hospitality, sir, but if that is the case, my answer is no. A firm and emphatic no."
Ford's tone — or was it the use of his Christian name? — slid over his shoulders like a straight-coat, pinning him in place. Suddenly he was ten years old again, compelled to do his guardian's bidding.
Excerpted from "The Innkeeper's Daughter"
Copyright © 2018 Michelle Griep.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Dover, England 1808, Alexander Moore, Bow Street officer, is sent to ferret out a traitor to the Crown and must stay at the Blue Hedge Inn, which is run by Johanna Langley, her mother and her 10 year old brother. No one must know his true identity, for if he fails at his job, they could all die. Johanna must find a way to keep the inn afloat or the entire family will be headed for debtor's prison. She and Alex begin to have feelings toward one another, but Johanna values honesty above all else and Alex is, at the time, living a lie. He wants to tell her the truth, but he can't and his loyalty to the Crown must come first. Michelle Griep has yet another winner with this one. It is a stand alone novel, but has some of the characters of her earlier novel, Brentwood's Ward, which was outstanding! She has created a cast of characters that grab your heartstrings and just don't want to let go. My heart was breaking for them several times during this story. I loved the historical aspect as well. But most of all, the spiritual aspect of this novel was powerful! In fact, it ministered greatly to me during a very rough time in my life. It seemed as if God was just saying to me, 'Listen, here's what you need to hear from Me.' We can't do anything apart from God. If we are to serve Him, we must surrender. Everything. He has a better plan than any we could even dream of. This is what I came away with from this novel. I enjoyed every moment of this book. When I read, I try to put myself into the time and place and with a Michelle Griep novel, that is so easily done. She knows exactly what she's doing. Loved it! Can't wait for the next from her. *My thanks to the publisher for a preview copy of this book. All opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.
Just didn't find it very interesting - too many rabbit trails and didn't hold my attention
Welcome to the early 1800’s and we are in England, and staying at the local pub, and don’t be surprised if you have to share your bed with a stranger, that is what happens to Alex, our undercover officer of the Crown. This is real look into history, and what life was like back at a different time, and we get an up close and close look at the big difference in society and those that have and the chances of going into debtor prison. While life struggles are evident, and we are on the lookout for a traitor, and boy will your guess change and then change again, and even then, you are probably wrong. Life has a funny way of circling around and the fate of the inn is on the owner’s daughter Johanna, and you will cringe at some of the abuse she takes to keep her family going. If you love BBC drama’s and maybe a bit of Charles Dickon’s with the little scamp of a brother, this is a book for you, but be warned it quickly becomes a page turner, and then will linger with you. I received this book through the Publisher Barbour and their Review Crew, and was not required to give a positive review.
This story has such a good assortment of characters--Johanna and Alex are both very likable, as are Johanna's mother and brother, Thomas. And strange Mr. Nutbrown and his puppet Nixie add to the mix. This is a fast-paced, gripping, high-stakes, yet lovely inspirational book. Amid the problems, God's faithfulness and trust in Him is woven throughout. This story is so very well written and is a hard-to-put-down book--both for the story and the writing itself. Michelle Griep has a wonderful writing style and way of choosing her phrases and wording. I look forward to reading more by her. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I enjoyed this second book of Michelle Griep's. Her first for me was 12 Days at Bleakly Manor that impressed me so much I was anxious to read The Innkeeper's Daughter. I was not disappointed. It is well put together and great characters that are strong and very interesting. I found my self wanting to keep on reading even though I had to put it down occasionally. I am anxious to read more of her books. There is a love interest between Alexander and Johanna even though he is engaged to another! (it's complicated). Johanna has her hands full running the Inn with her mom as the cook and a young brother who isn't much help. A mortgage is due and she doesn't have enough funds. The mystery and intrigue set in with Alexander who has been assigned an important secret mission. There are puppets, smugglers, high society, low -lifes, ships with battles, and lots of surprises. Good entertaining book! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
A story of action, love and almost losing out. Miss Johanna Langley, her mother is the innkeeper of the Blue Hedge Inn. It is very dilapidated and in desperate need of repair. It is the only place they, her mom, Thomas, and herself have to stay or they are off to the workhouse. Mr. Alexander Morton, is a bow Street Officer, he has been put in charge of finding a traitor. So much happens in this story, the goal, falling in love, finding out about his father and who Ford is. It is just a marvelous read, it keeps your attention and makes taking the time to read it well worth the effort. I received this ARC and voluntarily reviewed it.
The Innkeeper’s Daughter, by Michelle Griep, is a well-crafted historical fiction novel that thoroughly entertained and thrilled me with its creatively unique story. Brimming with surprises and unexpected twists, this memorable novel is genuinely captivating and intriguing. Like a warm, woolen shawl, this book wrapped me snuggly within its knitted threads of descriptive storytelling, and I nestled there wholly contented and satisfied. Ms. Griep has written a colorful and engaging novel filled with beautifully written sentences that beg to be noticed like the capricious hues of a winter sunset. Like a current moving steadily across the sea, the swiftly paced plot flowed smoothly through elaborate scenes of adventure, suspense, mystery, danger, faith, romance, sacrifice, and redemption. The characters, authentic and multifaceted, were the jewels within this treasure of a novel. Their idiosyncrasies, motivations, fears, desires, convictions, and actions sparkled brightly with meaning and value. Within its pages, The Innkeeper’s Daughter offers the reader a moment of escape into an engaging, fictional world formed entirely from words woven together with skill, humor, and passion. It is a novel worthy of sincere praise and thoughtful attention. I recommend it wholeheartedly. *I was given a copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
The Innkeeper's Daughter (2018) by Michelle Griep is a fantastic stand-alone novel, but it does reference characters from her novel Brentwood's Ward. This story is available in all forms including eBook, and is 320 pages in length. With a full-time job and a very busy five-year old, this book took me four days to read. I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from Barbour Publishing. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was under NO obligation to post a review. I give this book 5+++ STARS. This story is a Christian Historical Romance set in Dover, England in 1808. The Innkeeper's Daughter is a wild ride. It is a fast-paced page turner that I hated to put down. It has everything a reader could want in a story: a James Bond-esque hero, a beautiful but downtrodden heroine, unique and diverse secondary characters, murder, intrigue, and romance. What more could you ask for in a book?! Johanna, the heroine of The Innkeeper's Daughter, is my fictional soul sister. She hates numbers. I hate numbers. She believes the lie that she has to work non-stop to fix all her past mistakes, and that she is undeserving of God's love because of her past fails. I, too, believed this once upon a time. Seeing myself in her character made Johanna a very realistic heroine. She is tough and strong, especially in her moral code. I really like that about her. Johanna is also selfless to a fault. She will often work herself to past exhaustion in order to shoulder all of the burdens so her mother's and ten-year old brother's needs are met. Johanna really is an excellent heroine, and she managed to worm her way into my heart. I often wanted to hug her hard, and then find a way to shoulder some of her burdens for her...the girl really needed a break! Even in this, though, I found I could relate. There are a couple of times where Johanna is at her breaking point, and she wants help, but she doesn't even think to trust in God. She just barrels her way through things trying to fix and do and go on her own. I have done this many times in my life. It's not that I mean to forget about God. I just get so caught up in my life I get tunnel vision. The absolute best part of this book for me is the hero, Alexander Moore. He is SO cool. He's the Regency-era version of James Bond or Jason Bourne. He is smooth, smart, strong, and a keen observer. He knows when to fight and when not to, but when he does fight an opponent he does so in such a smart, efficient, and super cool manner. He's just so capable. And the best part about him -- he genuinely loves God and he immediately wants to protect Johanna. These two things alone make him a #1 hero in my book. Many times throughout this story, Johanna wants to give up. And, I don't blame her. She is so done with the cards that have been dealt her. But, Alex schools her. Time and time again, he reminds her that she needs to put her trust in God. He even admits that things may not get easier in her life, but when we go through life with God life is doable. When we let God have at our burdens, He grants us a peace that helps us get through anything. Not only is this a great reminder for Johanna, but it's a great reminder for me.
This is an English historical novel set in 1808. Johanna runs the inn, helping her widowed mother. Alex, goes undercover to uncover a plot against the British crown. He and Johanna are clearly drawn to each other, but circumstances are not such that it is a smooth relationship as Alex becomes engaged to another. I saw the story as one that they had to grow in their faith and trust in God to see them through their troubles. There were several side stories that developed and I did see the growth in the characters as the story progressed. The end became exciting with lots of action going on that keeps you reading it without wanting to stop. I enjoyed this book and recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
It is 1808 in Dover, England and a young woman is desperately trying to save her late father's inn and provide a home for her mother and young brother. Her struggle is witnessed by a visitor to the run-down inn who longs to help her but he is involved in a struggle of his own. What follows is a tale of spies, intrigue, danger, death and a threat against the English crown but it is also a story filled with hope, love, family, faith and forgiveness. Michelle Griep has created several memorable characters for The Innkeepers Daughter and her attention to historical detail makes this an enjoyable and entertaining read. I especially recommend it for those who love the Regency era. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
1808, Dover England. There is a threat to the crown, a police officer goes under cover to try and discover the traitor. He is sent to one of the poorest seconds of town to stay in a dilapidated inn run by a beautiful woman and her mother. The daughter is sweating it out trying to come up with money due the unrelenting banker before he claims the inn and sends them to the workhouse. There is definitely a curious cast of characters. The least of which is Mr. Nutbrown, a strange little man that can only talk through his hand puppet, Nixie. He is also strapped for money and will do almost anything to earn more, including getting involved with some savory men. It's a wild rollercoaster ride I was on trying to figure out what would happen next and who the bad guys were. It will keep you guessing right up to the end, my kind of story. There is romance for those that like having a little of that, intrique, and murder. And the heroine trying to return to her faith she left long ago and trust God again is Johanna, the innkeepers daughter. The author did a great job of describing the situations and the sights and smells. I could almost imagine myself there on a sensory level. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I always enjoy Michelle’s books and this one was no exception. Can I just say I loved Alex. What a great hero and shows himself as such from the beginning with his first encounter with Johanna. Johanna is a wonderful heroine, she is strong and determined and willing to do whatever she has to to help her family. The other characters in this story help to round out the plot and keep things interesting, that’s for sure. Johanna’s little brother is a character and likes to get into trouble. Overall, a great read. If you enjoy historical romance you will like this one. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
Oh what fun it is to delve into a story with interesting and unforgettable characters. And the early 1800s England is a fascinating, and rarely visited (for me, anyway) backdrop. Johanna and Alex are complex characters, and the story contains just the right doses of romance, political intrigue, and suspense. I don’t read many regency stories, but loved the little tidbits I learned about this time in history. The Innkeeper’s Daughter is fun, moving and had me reading fast. It’s one of those page-turners that make you slow down near the last chapters because you don’t want the story to end. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
This well written novel was quick paced with quit a few twist and turns to it. It will keep you on the end of your seat and it may not end as you expect. There is lots of adventure to this tale. It has everything you could want. You have your hero and heroine, some good guys, spies, a traitor, a man in black, a few under cover agents, and a crazy puppeteer who can't talk without his puppet, just to mention a few. You are not sure who's who until the end. There are so many strong characters in this book, not just Alexander and Johanna, the main love interest. I found several funny one liners, and colloquial sayings that I just loved. The story has a serious side too. I found myself in tears in parts. When I get into a book that I am enjoying, like this one, it is hard to put it down. I though the way Ms. Griep interweaves scripture lessons through out the book was very well done. I so enjoy when the author takes the time at the end of her story to tell you the history behind it, places and things that were true. I often get so into the novel that I feel like I am right there. Ms. Griep did exactly that for me with Innkeepers Daughter. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley, Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Another winner! How does an author manage to write a book that is as good as, or even better than her previous book? Well, you will have to read Brentwood's Ward AND THEN The Innkeeper's Daughter to find out. (although they can be read as stand-alone novels) Michelle Griep has written yet another page turning tale about a Bow Street Runner. I love these stories, they are filled with so much intrigue. What do you get when you put together a desperate innkeeper's daughter, an undercover lawman, smugglers and very odd lodgers....ie Mr. Nutbrown? Nutbrown had me scratching my head a lot. Is he good, bad, crazy or just misunderstood? Maybe all of the above? For a fast-paced, what-will-happen-next adventure, grab Michelle Griep's newest book, The Innkeeper's Daughter....or better yet, get a copy of Brentwood's Ward AND The Innkeeper's Daughter and read them back to back. Enjoy the ride!
Ever feel like it is all up to you – that you are the source for everything in your life, as I lived much of my life? If yes, you will appreciate this novel in which one of the protagonists, Johanna, feels she must control everything – everything! And if she doesn’t, Jo, her mother, and younger brother will be in the workhouse as was common in 1808 England when folks couldn’t pay their rent. Alex, a man on a mission to flush out a traitor, feels the burden of saving England from her enemies. This talented author takes readers on a tour of Dover, including the white cliffs, during the time of Napoleon’s rule in France. Johanna’s father died before the birth of her younger brother, Thomas. She and her mother have been run the Blue Hedge Inn since then. On the outskirts of town, it has never had the business other inns enjoy, so there is little money for repairs. This month, they might not be able to pay the rent. At least until Alexander Morton arrives, then a half-dozen itinerant musicians. Thomas promises the musicians that if they play in the tap room each night and bring in customers, particularly over the upcoming Oak Apple Festival, they could stay there for no charge. Morton can’t believe his boss would send him to the tumbledown Blue Hedge Inn. He is in Dover to find one or more traitors communicating with the French. He will be a regular visitor at the viscount Lord Coburn’s mansion to dine and gamble. If Alex is captured by the wrong people, his boss will have to deny knowledge of what he is doing. If Alex survives and completes the mission, he will get enough money from the person funding the mission to retire on. As Alex sees the inner beauty of Johanna, the innkeeper’s daughter, he receives the worst of the assignment. He must propose marriage to the viscount’s shrewish daughter, Louisa. The characters are drawn with care, so well that one can see Johanna’s expression when she falls, literally, into Alex’s arms, or the funny little man, Mr. Nutbrown, speaking only through his puppet. There are several memorable characters, including Johanna, her mother, and Alex. We see their circumstances through their point of view, from the humble inn to the viscount’s mansion, or when finding out they will die at the hand of a traitor. Most especially, we see the relationship struggles Johanna and Alex have with the Lord, which might mirror that of almost every reader from time to time. There are many surprising twists throughout, from who the bad guy/ gal really is to the horror of Alex’ arrest. The political intrigue draws many unexpected and unsuspecting people into the snare of the traitor(s). The author’s research is evident regarding clothing, the countryside, and the social structure. One does not merely go to the barn, one experiences what is heard and seen on the way there. One feels the darkness and stench of gaol, or the hopelessness of the landlord coming with an order to send Jo’s family to the workhouse. This is a novel to be savored. It is also a spiritual adventure, especially as the reader finds oneself with the same type of struggle that one did in what we want to think of as a simpler time, two centuries ago, that really wasn’t simpler after all. I highly recommend this very well-written Christian historical novel! From a grateful heart: I received a copy of this from the publisher and NetGalley, and here is my review.
Fans of BBC dramas will enjoy this tale of intrigue, adventure and romance! A sequel to Brentwood's Ward, loosely connected by a few mentions of other characters, but easily reads as a standalone. A cast of characters worthy of a Dickens novel, this well written story has a quick pace and a bit of humor to counteract the dark side of 1808 Dover. Villains and heroes, ladies and gentlemen of all parts of society mix it up. Some big plot twists and action towards the end kept it engaging until the last. Loved Alexander Moore's conflicted character, as he wrestles to hold on to his faith in God while carrying out his job, which involves some deception. Johanna's plight of working herself to the bone, striving to save her family, was a familiar one, but the details and descriptions brought a whole new side to it. Learning to trust God for the outcome was a main theme here, and worked well in both of their struggles. Highly recommend! This author is becoming one of my favorites for historical Christian fiction. 4.5 stars (An ebook was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
I enjoyed this tale of intrigue and danger. The attraction between Johanna and Alex was clear from the start, yet it seemed an impossible situation. There were some characters in The Innkeeper’s Daughter who were easy to spot as “good guys” and others who clearly had nefarious intentions. Then there were those characters that I couldn’t quite pin down. The author did a good job of keeping me guessing about exactly who was behind the subterfuge. There were some frustrating decisions made by both Alex and Johanna, times they felt compelled to follow a sense of duty and ended up suffering consequences. But, it all worked together to make for an interesting novel. This story stands alone just fine, even though there are a couple of characters that make an appearance from an earlier novel, Brentwood’s Ward. They are very loosely connected. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
From the setting in England in the early 1800s to the vividly drawn characters, Michelle Griep has created a riveting story with plenty of suspense, intrigue, romance, and rich in historical detail. The author is a master at developing multi-layered, engaging characters and putting them in unusual circumstances. This is a clean Christian fiction story with themes of faith and hope woven through it. It also has a tender message of forgiveness of self and others. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and the author and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions are my own.
Michelle Griep is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. All three of her books that I have read in the past couple of years have been varied in time and place, but they have each been outstanding reads with rich settings and characters. This book is no exception, and further solidifies her reputation in my mind. For me, Griep's name on the cover is now an automatic buy! This novel has so much going for it: relatable characters with realistic flaws, incredible story-telling with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on her toes, and impeccably researched history that improves the quality of the novel without confusing or overwhelming the reader. Both Alex and Johanna have deep scars and a stubborn desire to control every possible thing they can, even knowing there is much outside of their capabilities. I love how this trait common to many real people I know, ahem, maybe even myself, becomes a springboard to much of the spiritual content in this novel, demonstrating that the problems of people in the past are remarkably similar to those we experience today. The writing is gorgeous in this novel, with many moments that caused me to pause and soak in the beauty of the words and how they were pieced together to form a picture to capture my imagination. Perhaps my favorite that won't function as a spoiler comes early in the novel, where Alex described what "might've been a cozy inn at some point, but now the walls leaned in toward the soot-blackened ceiling, giving the impression the entire building wanted to lie down and rest." While there is a lot of tension in this novel, there is also humor to help keep things light, and a romance with everything stacked against it, yet it persists as a sweet yearning nonetheless. The moments between Alex and Johanna are electric throughout the book. With too many moments that I'd love to mention but won't to avoid giving anything away, this novel is fantastic and I can't recommend it highly enough. Mid-teens and up should enjoy the fast pace, the romance, and the suspense that dominates the last quarter or so of the book. Regency fans will enjoy the setting, but the characters who are out of the norm give a refreshing slant on the genre while still retaining enough of what we've come to expect, leaving the reader thoroughly satisfied when the final page is turned. I received an advance review copy from the publisher and author but was under no obligation to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
I hesitate to read Regency novels because they tend to be overly dramatic and a bit overdone; however, I'm glad I took a chance to read The Inn Keeper's Daughter because it is a wonderful read. I enjoyed this read simply because it was written in good taste and had quite an element of intrigue. Plus, there is a love story going on which brings the characters into a "real life" sort of way. Johanna and Alex don't realize that they are fighting for the same thing or that they are on the same team. Alex wants to help Johanna but if he does all will be lost. And Johanna is having a hard time trusting. Such great read and well written! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review*
This book was not what I expected - it was so much better than that! Michelle Griep has crafted a story of sweet romance set among the backdrop of crime, international intrigue and espionage. Johanna, her mother and brother live from day-to-day, desperately seeking to keep their inn running to keep them from having to report to the workhouse. Alex stays at the inn while working undercover to discover a traitor and bring him or her to justice. Neither of them expected to fall in love, neither of them will allow the passion in their hearts to override their responsibilities to family or the Crown. But love will find a way when Alex and Johanna's feelings for each other are part of God's plan for their lives. Join them as they embark on this adventure of the heart, unwinding the intrigue and deception that will lead them out of the murky waters of debt, pain and suffering and into each others arms. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Enjoyed the book. Had some unexpected twists and sad sections too.
Intrigue at its best with some romance and suspense to keep the plot moving right along. I enjoyed the characters very much and could see them and their responses to situations in my mind as I read.