Oh, Patrice Kindl. Ten years between books is far, far too long.
Her books always surprise me—they vary in length, theme and genre—and have just one thing in common: like Ellen Potter’s books, they all feel fresh and classic. Now, in Keeping the Castle, we’re treated to a Regency romance about a beautiful girl who needs to marry very well, very quickly...hopefully before her family’s rapidly deteriorating castle slides over a cliff and into the sea.
Keeping the Castle is exactly the sort of book that I find it difficult to write about.
Read Bookshelves of Doom on 'A Breath of Eyre.'
Reason the First: It’s very, very rare that I read something that forces me to type (or worse, utter) the three words that I regard as the Most Insipid Descriptors Ever. I’m going to go ahead and get them out of the way right now: Keeping the Castle is DELIGHTFUL and CHARMING and LOVELY.
Reason the Second: A good part of the joy of Keeping the Castle is in spending time—and falling in love—with the characters in their world. In other words, all I really want to do is give you quote after quote after quote (or better, hand you a copy of the book), followed up with fangirl freak-out squeefest commentary like, “Don’t you just LOVE it? Isn’t that SO ADORABLE?” I’m not going to do that, because A) it’s obnoxious, and B) I prefer to save that sort of obnoxiosity for Captive Audiences.*
OK, maybe just one teensy quote, just so you can get the flavor:
“I love you, Althea—you are so beautiful,” murmured the young man into my ear.
Well, I was willing enough. I looked up at him from under my eyelashes. “I love you too,” I confessed. I averted my gaze and added privately, “You are so rich.”
Unfortunately, I apparently said this aloud, if just barely, and his hearing was sharper than one would expect, given his other attributes.
Don’t you just LOVE it? Isn’t that SO ADORABLE?
Reason the Third: Like Cabin in the Woods, it’s better to go in with no prior knowledge.** Not because of any plot twists—if you’re familiar with Pride and Prejudice, it’s quite clear where the story is headed from the get-go—but because it’s one that you’ll want to experience for yourself. While Althea herself—hilarious, bossy and judgmental—is the primary draw, the secondary characters are a close second, and although her plotline may as well be fated, some of the others are quite surprising.
Did it Blow My Mind like Owl in Love? No. Do I think that the comparisons to I Capture the Castle are particularly apt regarding anything other than setting? No. I Capture the Castle has a completely different tone: it’s more overtly bittersweet. But do I think that fans of I Capture the Castle (as well as fans of Patrice Kindl’s previous books, the Montmaray Journals, and Regency romances in general) will fall in love with it? Yes. Very much so.
*There are some books that my husband counts as “read” even though he’s never picked them up. As I read a good two-thirds of it aloud to him (in snippets), this is one of them.
**And that is the only thing the two have in common. Other than that I love them both unreservedly.
Let's be honest. If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is most likely being tragically unproductive due to the shiny lure of Pinterest.