Saturday, August 11, 2012

Keeping the Castle

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

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... -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads

Here is another book that has been likened to Jane Austen's novels (as well as another favorite of mine, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith). This time, it's done in a much more self-aware, tongue-in-cheek way, without feeling like either a mean spirited satire or a watered-down knock-off. You'll probably know from the opening sequence if this is a book for you:

We were walking in the castle garden. The silvery light of early spring streaked across the grass, transforming the overgrown shrubbery into a place of magic and romance. He had begged me for a few moments of privacy, to “discuss a matter of great importance.” By this I assumed he meant to make an offer of marriage.

“I love you Althea—you are so beautiful,” murmured the young man in my ear.

Well, I was willing enough. I looked up at him from under my eyelashes. “I love you too,” I confessed. I averted my gaze and added privately, “You are so rich.”

Unfortunately, I apparently said this out loud, if just barely, and his hearing was sharper than one would expect, given his other attributes.

Te he. And don't worry, Althea is not really a gold-digger. Well, she sort of is, but mostly because she's trying her hardest to maintain her family's livelihood and, well, how else was she to manage? She is very clever, as well as fiercely protective of her family/estate and extremely capable- while still being pleasantly cranky and more than a little dense when it comes to actual romance.


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