Keeping the Castle
Keeping the Castle
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Patrice Kindl
ISBN 9780670014385
Viking/Penguin , 2012.
5 stars
Keywords: farce jane-austen keeping-castle patrice-kindl romance

Keeping the Castle
by Patrice Kindl

Part farce, part comedy of manners, Kindl's novel  (Owl in Love) transports readers to the world of Jane Austen, and a society where “ideal match” has little to do with the heart and all to do with title and, preferably, money.

Seventeen-year-old Althea Crawley may be “one of the most beautiful women in Europe,” but she has no dowry and no filter. However, that makes her an irresistible narrator. Take this opening scene of courtship. “I love you, Althea—you are so beautiful,” says Mr. Godalming. “ ‘I love you too,’ I confessed. I averted my gaze and added privately, ‘You are so rich.’ Unfortunately, I apparently said this aloud.” And there goes a promising prospective match. How will Althea keep her family’s crumbling castle from falling off the cliff and into the North Sea?

After the death of Althea’s father, her mother remarried for wealth, but the man died swiftly, leaving behind two daughters to support. With three marriageable young women in the house, and a parade of men from London arriving to attend a titled neighbor’s ball, one can only imagine the shenanigans. One of those visiting men is even more filterless than Althea: Mr. Fredericks, cousin to Lord Boring. He rifles through the Crawleys’ tapestries and proclaims their portrait frames of “shoddy workmanship.”

Kindl layers on the intrigue, some of it introduced by additional characters. Even though readers figure out her proper match before Althea does, her adventures are the stuff of great entertainment, and the witty repartee makes the pages fly.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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