Reading "A Heart Deceived" was like embarking on a treasure hunt; finding gems hidden deep within its pages, precious nuggets of truth and inspiration where least expected, and discovering characters whose lasting value had been buried under layers of sediment after experiencing grotesque and unsavory experiences. When the lives of a redeemed reprobate and lovely sister of a deranged interim vicar coincide, a story erupts that exudes mystery, mayhem, and highly unlikely romance.
It is 1795 in Bedfordshire, England and Miriall Brayden is hideously trapped in a rectory with her brother Roland, whose sanity is precariously hanging by a thread . Mourning the whereabouts of her younger brother, she is surprised one evening when a total stranger, sick and near death arrives at the back door, knowing her name and that of her missing brother. While innocently bestowing kindness, refuge and nourishment, Miri is inextricably drawn to the man, whose speech and mannerisms are that of a gentleman, but whose appearance is likened to someone who has lived a cruel existence on city streets.
"God works powerfully lad, but for the most part gradually and gently"; the Reverend John Newton's prophetic words to Ethan Goodwin. After Ethan experiences tragedy and finds forgiveness through salvation, he flees London desperate to find Will Brayden's sister. Never mind that his friend failed to mention that Miri was breathtakingly beautiful, wore a head of riotous curls, had porcelain smooth skin, or spoke words of kindness like an angel. Over time however, nothing at this rectory is as it seems. When Ethan's past comes knocking at the door and Roland Brayden is accused of unmentionable acts, Miri finds herself caught in a tight web of mystery and deceit which threatens her very existence and that of her newfound faith.
"Sometimes faith is a moment-by-moment thing"; Ethan's words to Miri just before their love and their future is nearly extinguished. What will it take to bring all things into the light of discovery? Michelle Griep has written an extraordinary story which deserves to be savored and quite possibly read over and over and over again.
I loved this book. As it states in the description, Miriall (Miri) Brayden walks a fine line between keeping the peace and her sanity. The author does a very good job of showing us the roiling emotions in Miri's life and you can't help but feel for her circumstances. You are afraid when she is; you are angry when she is; you are happy when she is. Ethan's character is charming in a roguish way. He is enough of a gentleman to hint at his past upbringing, but his appearance and mannerisms speak of a life on the streets. The only complaint I have about Ethan is his "change" was a bit rushed. I felt like I needed more of his background to understand that he could just believe so quickly after the life he had been living.
This book is what some might consider "preachy." However, I think that fits the setting. Ethan comes to know God from a Reverend. I would expect a Reverend to preach the gospel and speak a lot about it. Miri lives in a rectory with a Bishop and her brother, a former minister of God. I would also expect to hear a lot about God from their characters. I didn't think it was over-done as some novels tend to be, though, so I was ok with it.
Overall, Michelle does a great job of conveying her message: to trust in God, no matter what. Her characters are written in a way that the reader can relate to. The descriptions of the asylum and the people in it makes the reader both disgusted for the place they live in and sympathetic with their plight.
After reading Michelle's previous book Undercurrent, I was expecting nothing less than a great read. Well, I was not disappointed. Michelle has definitely stepped it up a bit with this new release. A bit on the darker side, but so intriguing and well written. There is so much going on in A Heart Deceived, you may ask "Will I get lost?" The answer is no! Michelle does an excellent job bringing all the different aspects together and making a perfectly harmonious story_..Murder, addictions, insanity, uncertainty, heartbreak_..add to that, forgiveness, love, compassion and heroism. You will also get a close up look at what went on inside Asylums in those days_.so sad.
Best of all, Michelle brings the power of God into her story in a way that will give you goosebumps. I truly think the story ended too soon. I would love to see a sequel to this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story that stirs the soul and makes your heart pound.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, but was under no obligation to give a positive review.
A new-to-me-author, this was my first introduction with Michelle Griep's writing. This woman really can write! Usually I'm not so much into books with a sort of Ã¢â¬Ëdark' setting and that's why I looked at this book for at least three times and every time decided not to request it for review, but then I did it anywayÃ¢â¬âand boy, am I glad I did!
The author has a unique way with words that drew me into the story right awayÃ¢â¬âon the first page I sat next to Miri in church and reluctantly had to let my new friend go on the last.
The descriptions are so rich and full, I could almost feel, hear, smell, and touch them. The emotions splattered from the pagesÃ¢â¬âfear, despair, unfairness, hope, love, romance!
Extremely well written, excellent research, and a brilliant plot!!
*Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through NetGalley.*
I have been following Michelle's blog for over a year and love her personality. I also interviewed her early on in my blogging life.
So when I picked up Michelle's newest release I think I was expecting something a bit light-hearted since her tone on her blog is fun and quirky but her book was very far from that. In fact her book packed a deep spiritual punch and I loved it.
The first half of the book sets up all the page-flipping intensity of the second half. Once I reached the 50% mark on my Kindle I couldn't stop reading. I found myself reading almost until 1:00 am because I had to see what would happen next.
I could relate to Miri Brayden as she was verbal bashed by her brother. I know the feeling of cowering in a corner and feeling utterly defenseless and knowing your words will only make things worse.
I also understand the character of Ethan, as someone with a dark past and not fully ready to accept God's grace but desperately wanting it.
Oh, and I can't forget to mention Michelle's clever use of last names in the book. See if you notice how well they fit the characters they are attached to.
There were so many times in this book that I wanted to shout out, "Yes, this is what Jesus did for us." I love how Michelle shows this (but I can't tell you how, you'll just have to read it).
If you enjoy historical romances with a deeper, and at times haunting, feel to it than this is a book you will want to devour. Way to go Michell, you knocked this out of the park :)
A copy of this book was given to me by the publishers through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.