Teetering on a barren chalk cliff overlooking Yorkshire’s inhospitable North Sea, Crooked lock bears witness come the Crawley family’s former prosperity and its lofty aspirations. The tradition squandered, the sole hope because that rescuing the heritage rests through 17-year-old Althea Crawley’s ability to capture a wealthy husband.

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With Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl offers an effervescent cocktail that a lively protagonist, a Dickensian pleasure in vivid names, and a plot tingling v romance and also rapier wit. Jane Austen fans, here’s her perfect summer pick-me-up.

Set in 19th century England, Ms. Kindl’s happy comedy functions a household with an incompetent however loving widow; she unmarried stepdaughters, Prudence and also Charity, who were “disagreeable and incapable that disguising the fact;” the heir come the castle, four-year-old Alexander (from her first marriage); and also her lovely and practical daughter, Althea.

The strong-willed protagonist is one endearing Cinderella brief on funds yet long on sharp observations, few of which ruin her possibilities with suitors.

The author, in fact, instantly plunges readers into a hilarious “oops” minute in which Althea, being proposed to by Mr. Godalming, unintentionally voices she appreciation that his gaue won assets. To her dismay, Althea learn a guy may recognize loving a mrs for her beauty, yet a woman should not recognize she loves a guy for his wealth.

There, in the “silvery light of at an early stage spring,” which changed “the overgrown shrubbery right into a ar of magic and also romance,” Althea’s look at her marriage prospects wither. Mr. Godalming, wetting his big red lips, suddenly withdraws his proposal, insisting, “any factor to consider of the components of a masculine purse by a lady he is courting is . . . Mercenary and also shows a cold heart.”

Now Althea need to take her beauty and also her dull words elsewhere. Fortunately, various other prospects arrive, as the young, wealthy, and handsome mr Boring moves into the surrounding estate in Lesser Hoo and invites all to a ball. Althea, battling both she threadbare wardrobe and her rude and self-obsessed stepsisters, sets her sights on lord Boring.

Making witty recommendations to Austen’s lovely heroines, the writer infuses the plot v pointed irony and also insights. The power of a woman’s beauty, beauty is both acknowledged and also tenderly mocked, as in the scene wherein Hugh Fredericks, lord Boring’s cousin, gapes at the gorgeous painting miss out on Vincy go of Althea.

In Austen’s Emma, the protagonist produce a flattering portrait of she unimposing girlfriend Harriet, in the effective hope of inspiring a details aristocrat to suggest to Harriet. Ms. Kindl’s star an in similar way veers turn off course, incorrectly seeing Mr. Fredericks as a most likely husband for her level but creative friend.

Most readers, however, will recognize that the charged repartée in between Althea and also the brusque Mr.

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Fredericks recalls Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet and also Mr. Darcy, who prove to it is in supremely compatible.

While Keeping the Castle gift a satisfaction Regency romance aligned at young adults and also complete through a suitable happy ending, the author’s dramatic flair and also keen comedic touch sustain a bubbly spirit with simply the best bite.