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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Title: Keeping the Castle
Author: Patrice Kindl
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 14, 2012
Publishing House: Viking Childrens Books
ISBN: 9780670014385
Source of Copy: Purchased from Amazon


Seventeen-year-old Althea bears a heavy burden on her slender shoulders. She must support her widowed mother, young brother, and two stepsisters who plead poverty - and she must maintain Crawley Castle, a tumbledown folly designed and built by her great-grandfather. Althea, in short, must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors - or suitors of any kind - in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo.

Then Lord Boring comes to stay with his aunt and uncle. Althea immediately starts a clever, stealthy campaign to become Lady Boring. There's only one problem; his cousin and business manager, Mr. Fredericks, keeps getting in the way. And as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Keeping the Castle was on my must-read list, if only because I love historical fiction and historical fiction actually marketed for the younger market is quite rare. Give us a peek at your earls, your lords, your rakish dukes, I say. 

Althea Crawley knows that she must marry well, if not for economical reasons. Crawley Castle is literally falling apart, and basic necessities are hard to provide for - no thanks to her miserly stepsisters. And because of her wit, she has scared off the few wealthy suitors she has had. So when Lord Boring comes into town, Althea has already made up her mind to snag herself a rich husband, whether his infuriating cousin Mr. Fredericks stands in her way or not.

It's actually quite tricky, writing a review for this one. While Althea was a protagonist other people might enjoy, I myself did not. For her age, she does quite understand the ways of the world, yet is of course, also naive in some areas. In times of her distress, I even found it hard to laugh even though they were written out for comedic purposes. Of course, some scenarios were greatly exaggerated and they were all made for entertainment values, but the fun romp through the old English era that I could well imagine just wasn't there. 

Maybe it was because I was too accustomed to incorrigible dashing dukes, their equally convoluted "dark pasts" in historical fiction,  and their equally feisty heroines. Maybe I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would because compared to Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas, masters of adult historical romance, YA historical fiction is understandably tame.

Keeping the Castle would also appeal more to Jane Austen fans (Sadly, I am more for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.) as it is quite reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice. If you're in the market for YA historical fiction and don't find adult historical romance appealing, maybe this one would work better for you. I would also recommend Eve Edwards' The Lacey Chronicles for historical romance with a touch more drama.



  1. This sounds like a fun read and I love the cover! I'm more of a Bronte girl myself, though I do like Austen sometimes. I hope to read this soon though but I won't let my expectations get too high. Great review!

    1. I'd love to know what you think after you've finished reading this one! :)

  2. Nice review! :D

    Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day!

  3. Great review! I am a Jane Austen fan, so this books sounds interesting:-)