Review Blog

Mar 12 2013

Keeping the castle: a tale of romance, riches, and real estate by Patrice Kindl

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Viking, 2012. ISBN 9780670014385.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2013. Althea is the practical one in her family. She keeps everything going, but knows that she must marry a rich man to preserve the dilapidated family castle for her little brother Alexander. Unfortunately there is a dearth of rich suitors in the small town of Lesser Hoo until the rich Lord Boring arrives bringing along with him his business partner, Mr Fredericks. Althea begins to plot to snare Lord Boring but things keep getting in her way.
 In this very clever and witty take on Regency life, Kindl brings to life the efforts that young women have to take when marriage is their only future. Althea is a forthright young woman whose sharp tongue often brings her into disrepute but who can match the conversations of Mr Fredericks with ease. Readers will sympathise with her as she acknowledges that convenience and wealth must come before true love. She is often unaware of what is really happening around her as she goes about the business of trying to find a rich suitor and keep the castle going.
Kindl has a rich assortment of characters, Althea's two stepsisters, her mother, brother and Mr Godalming, all of whom provide a rich context for much of the conflict and humour in the book. Crumbling Crawley Castle is almost a character in its own right and it is easy to picture this strange gothic monstrosity jutting out precariously on the very edge of a cliff.
I loved the sly humour, the repartee and the smart dialogue in Keeping the castle. Fans of historical fiction and of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, will revel in this fabulous and entertaining parody and it is ideal for readers looking for a feel good book.
Pat Pledger

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