Saturday, January 12, 2013
Review: Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
There is little doubt right at the outset of the story that things are going to end well, but this upbeat little story has plenty of fun and lighthearted moments in between.
I was all prepared to give this book a neutral to bad review. It is so silly and trite. And what is with all the weird names? I could never figure out if Kindl was using them as a play on words or not. Other reviewers have mentioned the similarities to Austen novels. It also brought to mind I Capture the Castle by Bette Smith, from which this book seems to have borrowed a few themes. It doesn't seem like this book should even be mentioned in the same breath with these two classics.
But after closing the book, with a big smile on my lips, I thought perhaps it wouldn't kill me to say a few nice words about this book, too. It is silly, but also sweet and often funny. While Austen's characters usually take themselves very seriously, Althea doesn't. It is as if she knows that everything will end well even when circumstances appear bleak.
Next I thought about my library users. Most of them cannot make themselves read Austen or Smith, even if they try. They won't have the same problems with this book. Here is a Regency romance packaged for today's readers. Nothing wrong with that.