Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl


This book kept popping up in book review blogs I follow over and over again, and every time I read a review I thought "This book is perfect for me." Here's how to hook me: Regencies, YA, humor, character growth. This book has all of this, but I still had my qualms since I find that when something comes highly recommended, it tends to fall short of my expectations. Not so this time!
One day I just decided to buy it on my Kindle since I had no luck finding it in any of my local bookstores or libraries, but it was still (well, this isn't unusual for me, after all) several months before I actually read it. This little novel is a bit of an homage to I Capture the Castle (which I haven't yet read, but after this I don't plan on wasting another moment) and Jane Austen, obviously.
At 17, Althea is responsible for an entire household of women (besides herself, she lives with her mother and two step-sisters), her baby brother, and the servants who work for the decaying household, built to look like a faux Castle. Anyone familiar enough with Regencies and Jane Austen know why - women where completely at the mercy of male heirs and their husbands. As there were no grown men alive to support the family, it fell on the beautiful Althea to land a rich husband. Here's the thing, Althea is what my Mom would call "sassy." Then a wealthy, unattached baron and the moves in with the usual company and things get pretty interesting from there.
Right from the very first paragraph, I knew this book was not going to let me down. When I tell you "this doesn't happen," this doesn't happen. It's very unusual for me to become hooked within a few sentences, but here we are! I'm very glad that I gave this book it's due attention, and I recently found out that a companion has lately been published. It's not very often anymore that I find a book with quiet this much magic in it. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Regencies, Jane Austen (it doesn't mimic Austen in style very much, though Althea does behave a bit like Emma at times). or novels on manners.

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