Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindle
Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!
This was a book I was really looking forward to. Seemed a little like Auten's Pride and Prejudice. Young girl about to lose her home unless a good marriage is made. As the book goes on, it seems a little bit like Austen's book Emma. The main character, Althea is also trying to play matchmaker...unsuccessfully. Seems perfectly delightful, right? A YA Pride and Prejudice meets Emma. Then you realize that all the book is, really, is a cute premise. About a third of the way through the book, I almost gave up. It was so dull. The characters seemed so two-dimensional. Althea's stepsisters are fairly typical evil-type, nasty stepsisters. At this point- a third of the way through, you realize there's only about 150 pages to go. So you go on hoping it will get better, comforted that if it doesn't the book will soon be over.
Going on was my mistake. Those 150 pages took me about 2 weeks to get through. Same thing going through my head, "You can't give up there are only 125 pages...then 100 pages...then 50 pages..." It never got any better. I realized something, again. It takes really great talent to write a really great story in 200 pages. Think about it. Even if there are 10 characters, if you spend 2-4 pages on character development per character (back story, physical description, etc.) that's about 20% of the book. So, you have to combine things- instead of going on about how messy a character is, you might just convey that through their hair being unkempt, clothes being wrinkled, etc. In other words, every word has to count and often has to have dual purpose. That's something that the author is not capable of in this book and it shows in the lack of character development, the flow of the plot, etc.
If you are a real Austen junkie and need a quick fix and are desperate, you may find this book a nice way to pass a few hours. If you go into it with diminished expectations. Otherwise, I think most people can take a pass on this book.
Patrice Kindl's website