By: Michelle Griep Publisher: Shiloh Run Press Publication Date: March 2018 ISBN: 978-1-68122-435-8 Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford Review Date: June 27, 2018
Michelle Griep serves up a great balance of romance and mystery in her latest novel, The Innkeepers Daughter.
Nineteenth-century Dover, England is alive and well and the shenanigans just keep coming for Johanna Langley at the Blue Hedge Inn. The Inn is all that is left to hold onto for her dear ‘mam’ and brother Thomas. Another payment is due to the miller in less than a fortnight and where the money will come from is more than uncertain. The Inn is in desperate need of repairs and the only tenant is the rather unusual Lucius Nutbrown and his sidekick puppet. At least his payment may keep the miller at bay for another short time. Between the hope of new tenants arriving at the dock and her faith in the Lord above, perhaps the Langley family would have a roof over their head for a while longer.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Alexander Moore stood on the porch of house number seven; awaiting a greeting from Magistrate Ford. He wondered why he had been an invited dinner guest as the Magistrate never invited guests for dinner. The butler, Underhill, looked more like an undertaker than man servant and once inside, Moore continued to wonder if he was in the right place…or not. When he is deposited beyond the creaky doors and into a room of opulence, Moore’s inhibitions are laid to rest. Yet, why is he here? He’s about to find out just exactly what the next assignment will be for this Bow Street Runner. Once formalities are set aside, Ford gets right to it and delivers a bounty of coin and details of Moore’s next assignment. It would seem Moore is no longer Alexander Moore. Rather he is a wealthy wine broker and will immerse himself into the dastardly world of breaking up a sinister smuggling ring that well could devastate the likes of Dover if not stopped.
Moore continues his trek down New Street and heads south on Canon. As he travels further from the city center to its outskirts, he pauses to witness a scandalous lowlife swindle an unsuspecting lad of his money. Alexander approaches the lad and proposes an opportunity for the lad to recapture the coin he recently lost. Agreeing to carry his bags in exchange for the money lost to gambling, Thomas realizes he has no choice; especially if his sister Jo finds out he was gambling. The pair set off for the Blue Hedge Inn. When they arrive at the Inn, Johanna is wrestling with the greens that must be hung for the upcoming festival. Misgauging her step, she loses her footing and plummets to the ground below. Fortunate for her, the mysterious (and quite dreamy) Alexander Moore is there to catch her and most certainly break her fateful fall. What lies ahead for the Langley family and Mr. Moore’s ultimate destiny will take all parties concerned on a roller coaster of adventure, mystery, danger and the outcome will be one that none of them could have fathomed in their wildest dreams.
Michelle Griep has done a more than admirable job in penning an engaging tale of murder, mystery, romance and intrigue. Her characters are rich, and the dialogue is spot on for the nineteenth-century English period. She has an innate ability to pour on the charm in one sequence of dialogue while tempering it with cheeky humor in the next. The backdrop is painted with great description that portrays a distinct image of the impoverished as much as the privileged and how the two stark differences coexist and work in a delightful story. There is a wonderfully sublime tone of faith and religious belief throughout that reminds the reader of the reality that no matter the outcome, someone (or something) greater always manages to deliver just when it may seem hopeless. I praise Ms. Griep for knowing how to set a terrific pace of ebb and flow throughout this read and look forward to her next novel. Well done!
Quill says: The Innkeepers Daughter is a great read of high stakes adventure and delicious romance.