Ready for some fun, light reading? Fans of Jane Austen or Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle may have a new favorite in Patrice Kindl’s Keeping the Castle. Like Elizabeth Bennett and Cassandra Mortmain before her, Althea Crowley is a young, attractive gentlewoman in reduced circumstances looking to marry well in order to secure her financial future. It won’t surprise anyone that, like Elizabeth, Althea gets happily squared away in the end.
Living at the decrepit Crooked Castle in Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire with her widowed mother, brother, and step-sisters, Althea manages the running of the household and estate. When news of a single gentleman moving into the nearby manor house, Gudgeon Park, reaches the castle, Althea, her step-sisters, and their friends react with excited anticipation. Soon a ball is given by Lord Boring, the new neighbor, and Althea finds herself admired by many of his aristocratic friends. But when she meets his close confidant, Mr. Fredericks, the two fall into immediate dislike. Anyone familiar with Pride and Prejudice will know where this is heading. Despite the predictable plot Keeping the Castle with its charming characters, sense of place and clever dialogue will keep you entertained.