Keeping The Castle

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By: Patrice Kindl

Narrated by: Bianca Amato

The book began with a quote from Pride & Prejudice, heralding this might be simply a romance. But, since I recently added Pride & Prejudice to my To-Read list, and this was the second time I was checking this one out from the library, I decided to give it a go. Little did I know just how caught up I was going to get in this drama!

Althea is only 17, but she needs to marry – and marry well. She’s on the hunt in her small rural town for a suitor. A *wealthy* suitor. The story starts off with her chasing away the most eligible one currently available with her whip-sharp tongue, and we learn that her motives are not selfishly driven, but rather incited due to necessity.

Her home, Crooked Castle, is literally falling down around her ears. Her brother is only 4, and her mother an ill widow. Her stepsisters make this story into an odd retelling of Cinderella, but the story is not nearly quite so simple as the fairytale, and scheming, political maneuvering, and scandals abound.

When a new Lord (as well as a rash of eligible suitors) arrive next door at the manor referred to as The Park, there is a mad scramble by the ladies of Crooked Castle in an attempt to hook a gentleman and a husband.

Things are only slightly complicated by the incorrigible Mr. Fredericks. His closeness with the new Lord Boring, as well as his snarky attitude and constant workaholic nature, combined with Althea’s own sharp nature create constant friction in the little Yorkshire town.

I must say, the ending was extremely satisfying, especially after the tensions abounded, and Mr. Fredericks’ reveal was hinted at throughout the story. I have to say that while I did feel for Althea, she was not the character I associated with most. Rather, it was Miss Vincy, the disfigured girl with a secret.

I was surprised at the incredible lack of typical romancing that usually accompanies these type of stories, but at the same time, refreshed. I liked it. Alot. Why does a romance have to be gaudy and touchy-feely? Why can’t it have intrigue and passion without the physical element? As the story shows, it is possible! And even enjoyable!

The book cries for a sequel, because even though it does have the fairytale ‘Happily Ever After’, there are loose ends I want to see resolved, not simply discussed between two bickering souls. I want to see how married life suits the many parties. And what about Miss Prudence?

This book was an engaging romp that didn’t have many dull parts, and while some of the characters seemed a bit two-dimensional, there are people out there like that, and the seeming lack of development is for a reason and explained by the end.

This would make an excellent movie, and could be reduced in certain spots to facilitate this. I would watch it, easily. It’s a much better story than some of the drivel that hits the theaters these days. So, as with some of the books I’ve read recently, I ask – When is the movie coming out?

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