Friday, August 24, 2012
Keeping the Castle
YA Historical Romance; Austen
Source: Picked up at library
I love the cover for this and was immediately sold when I saw that it seemed to draw inspiration from Jane Austen's works. What more could I possibly want?
Well, and not to be mean, but a more original story that pays less homage to Austen would have been appreciated. There's one scene that is basically straight out of Emma with the names changed. But let's look further.
Keeping the castle, besides being the title, is alos the primary motivator for the main character Althea Crawley (Downton Abbey, what what). The castle and its land are the inheritance of her young brother Alexander. Its decrepitness does not give them much of an income forcing them to rely on Althea's stepsisters fortune those few times when some money can be pried out of their hands. Thus Althea sees no choice but to use her beauty (and it is an extraordinary beauty) to marry money.
After accidentally bungling a proposal from a local man (in the humorous opening scene), Althea is thankful that new prospects are coming in the person of Lord Boring (never quite understood why that was his name; if it's a joke, it's not very funny). Other gentlemen include the Marquis of Bumbershook, who is ever so kind to her mother, and the very disagreeable Mr. Fredericks, doing his best Mr. Darcy impression.
As stated earlier, this book owes a lot to Austen, most especially Pride and Prejudice and Emma. The book blurb also cites I Capture the Castle, which I can see. As these are stories I enjoy, it is no surprise that I enjoyed this one. But alas it did not really have anything new to capture my heart and imprint itself on my book-loving memory.
Overall: Enjoyable while reading but not clever or unique enough to standout and stake its own claim.
Cover: I do like the cover; even before reading the synopsis, it made me interested in the book.