Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Keeping the Castle - Patrice Kindl

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
Genre: YA, historical fiction, comedy, romance
Published on June 14, 2012
Published by Viking Childrens Books
Pages: 261
Read From: 9.4.12 - 9.5.12

Cover Blurb: It’s a pretty purple color, has a castle, and fancy writing - yep, I like it! The cover is what caught my attention when I first saw it at the library, and I continue to likes it’s simplicity. But it does hint at a far more serious story than it really is.

What I Liked: Althea at first comes across as kind of an unlikable protagonist. Her reasons for marriage are mercenary, she’s the county’s “pretty girl,” and in short shares a lot of similarities with Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse. But Althea quickly grew on me - she was all of Emma’s good qualities, her purposes for marriage were, considering her situation, born from a practical mind, and she was funny. Her shortcomings weren’t annoying - they lent to the story’s satirical aspects. Both the male leads - Lord Boring and Mr. Fredericks - were wonderful characters. Lord Boring was a lot like Bingley, while Mr. Fredericks mirrored Mr. Darcy. And while the similarities between these characters was evident, they still felt like the Author’s own original creations and managed to also be very different from their Austen counterparts. Althea’s two stepsisters were terrifically horrid and an absolute blast, and every little side-character that was introduced burst with personality. There wasn’t a moment in this book where I wasn’t laughing.

What I Disliked: Nothing.

Believability: Comments pertaining to authenticity and the like mostly belong in the writing style.

Writing Style: It fits the story and the time period so well. The Author does a stupendous job in imitating Austen’s style. It’s witty and authentic, classic and very lovely. I loved how the story was a sort of blend of Emma and Pride and Prejudice, while also having pinches of Sense and Sensibility in it. None of it felt like a rip-off, as some Austen-inspired books do; it felt like an original idea, but the nods were evident and clever.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The end itself was predictable, sweet, funny, remarkably managed to be all three without being silly. I don’t normally feel giggly over book endings - usually it is a quiet, satisfied feeling. But I did get giggly over this book’s ending, and I honestly wanted to immediately re-read it as soon as I was done. This is an absolute new favorite - I loved everything about it.

Recommended Audience: Austeneers will eat this alive. More of a girl-read than a guy-read, unless you’re one of those rare guys who likes Oscar Wilde’s stories (it has similar humor). Appropriate for all ages.

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