Thursday, September 5, 2013

REVIEW: "Keeping the Castle" by Patrice Kindl


Keeping The Castle
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
For Ages 10+
Young Adult -- Historical Fiction
Speak -- June 2012
Paperback, 272 pages
Borrowed from a friend

SUMMARY
Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!

FIRST LINE
We were walking in the castle garden.

MY THOUGHTS
I love historical romance, but strangely do not seek out YA historicals as much as one would think.  But, I decided to give Keeping the Castle when one of my co-workers (who is as much as a Jane Austen fan as me) loaned it to me.  While it was not a perfect read, I found it to be very cute with an intriguing historical setting, relatable characters, and a sweet love story.

The heroine, Althea, is seventeen years old and is feeling the pressure to marry a man with money and prestige.  Her family owns a sprawling castle on the cliffs of Yorkshire, but it is in need of expensive repairs.  She believes she is the only one who can help keep the castle for her younger brother.  It appears that Althea's prayers are answered when a young lord moves into a neighboring house though his good friend also catches her eye.

I really liked Althea especially as a role model for teenage girls.  She is intelligent, funny, and realistic about her purpose in life.  Her ambitions may be to marry well, but she does it for the livelihood of her mother and brother which I found admirable.  Althea does have some moments of immaturity, but that is to be expected of a seventeen year old even if she has as much responsibility as she does.  I also enjoyed the fact that Althea appeared to be a mix of some of Austen's famous literary heroines like the snarky comments of Lizzie Bennet and the matchmaking of Emma Woodhouse.

I do want to warn potential readers that there is a bit of a love triangle in Keeping the Castle.  Normally, I am turned off by these types of plots, but I think it works okay here.  The historical setting and Althea's cynical view of love make it more realistic that there could be more than one man vying for her attention.  As for the guys, I found Lord Boring to be exactly that...boring and annoying.  I could see Althea's immediate attraction to him, but it became obvious to me that he would never be the type of partner she needed.  Mr. Fredericks, on the other hand, grabbed my attention from his first scene which reminded me of the introduction of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  He was a little uncouth at times, but his verbal sparring with Althea was so much fun to read.

In terms of the plot, I thought the first half of the book was great.  Patrice Kindl set everything up well without going overboard on the exposition.  The development of the characters and the various relationships was subtle, but well-written.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the second half very much.  It became melodramatic and too action-packed especially with the slower pace of the beginning.  While I thought the ending was sweet, it was too rushed for my taste.

Overall, I did have a good time reading this book.  It was a nice homage to Jane Austen without being a blatant copy.  Althea was easy to root for and her romance was pretty entertaining.  I definitely would recommend this book especially to fans of YA historical fiction.



3 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTES
"Let us agree that we are marrying so we can go on quarreling in the greatest comfort and convenience. Oh, please, Althea, look at me. Do say yes."


4 comments:

  1. i don't ususally read this genre much but goodness i so need to check out this book, sounds interesting and regency romance is definitely something i have come to love.

    great review
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

    ReplyDelete
  2. I bought a copy of Keeping the Castle at least a year ago, but still haven't gotten around to reading it. I love Jane Austen, and had heard of it's similiarity. Also, I've heard people say that this reminds them of I Capture the Castle, which I also haven't read but really want to.

    Glad that you liked this for the most part.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I usually stray away from historical fiction because i do find it kind of boring a lot of the times but this does seem like an interesting take on it, great review :)
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice review! :D

    Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/12/keeping-castle-by-patrice-kindl.html

    Thanks and have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete

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