Jane Austen fans, take note. The book Keeping the castle is a fun, fresh take on a familiar Jane Austen setting. Everyone will enjoy lovely 17-year-old Althea's quick wit and quicker quips. Impoverished nobility, Althea's mother, Althea, and her little brother, the heir, cope in their crumbling faux castle with amazing creativity. While her two rich stepsisters whine and complain but refuse to help, Althea cooks up interesting dishes and schemes for the whole neighborhood. From the moat minnows making tasty hors d'oeuvres, to marriages for the wealthy but morose, Althea can do it all.
Except the money is getting really thin. And her latest marriage proposal fizzles when she accidentally says a thought aloud. Then the neighbors drop in unannounced, in crowds. Among the newer neighbors is young, handsome, and rich Lord Boring. He is nearly always with his cousin, Mr. Fredericks, whose first visit upsets Althea when he declares that her castle will probably fall off the cliff into the ocean during the next big storm. When he causes some damage to one of the antique tapestries Althea is hoping to repair and sell, Althea almost loses her temper. At least he apologizes and arranges for repairs. He poses absolutely no competition for Lord Boring, however.
Further acquaintance with these gentlemen only confirms Althea's antipathy, when Fredericks can't remember a single name from their family. But when her brother, Alexander, falls into a flooded mine pit, it's Fredericks who rescues him. And Lord Boring is spending way too much time with Althea's stepsister, Charity. And what on earth is Althea's artist friend Miss Vincy up to? Is poor Miss Vincy in love with Lord Boring? It's easy to find out, just read the book for yourself. This one seems made for the beach--get this little treat right away! ~ Tessa J. Eger 3.5 out of 5 stars