Fiction, Historical, Women's

[Historical fiction] An Enchanting Story Of Secrets And Strength The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

After the last time I got burned on a historical novel, I was wary to start a new one, but The Lost Castle did not disappoint! It will transport you to the beautiful French countryside to uncover some secrets in the past with a slow burn story and a very light, unassuming romance.

Ellie’s grandmother is all the family she’s got – unfortunately, grandma has Alzheimer’s and is slowly, but surely disappearing. However, one day Ellie finds her really worried about something, and in a flash of clarity, her grandmother uncovers a secret about a man she loved before she was married to Ellie’s grandfather. Lady Vi is feeling a lot of anxiety over this story, and Ellie knows nothing about it – so she follows the only lead she can and that takes her to The Lost Castlethe crumbled remains of a beautiful building in rural France, with a history, and also with a secretive owner who doesn’t want anyone snooping around.

The History Of The Lost Castle, Bit By Bit

The way the story is told is really comfortable, not too tense, not too slow. It’s told in three timelines – Ellie’s (present day), Lady Vi’s (World War II) and Avaline’s (taking of the Bastille). This is one of those historical novels where you truly do piece things together as the story goes, and it is well done. I was incredibly surprised that the author managed to get me to love a WWII story – I am usually not a fan of those. I think it’s because it’s not focused on bleakness and suffering – on the contrary, the main things are the fighting spirit, resistance, on belief that everything will be well. The writing also very good – not frilly, it’s actually quite simple – but it will conjure up vivid vistas of the French countryside and the castle. I felt transported!

The Women Are No Wallflowers

Indeed, they are no wallflowers and no damsels (women being damsels is usually my problem with historical novels!) No, these women – all three of them – are capable and strong, easy to believe and not just surface-deep. Ellie has spunk and curiosity, Lady Vi has bravery and the will to risk things to fight for what she believes in, and Avaline has incredible integrity and the ability to remain stoic in the face of adversity. I really appreciated these female characters!

Low-key Romance

If you’ve read my reviews before, you might be aware of the fact that I don’t like steamy or very prominent romance. I don’t mind romance – but for me, it’s got to be the zing of the story. The cherry on top – the sprinkling of cinammon. But definitely not the main piece. I was very lucky with The Lost Castle! The romance here is so unassuming and clean – it also takes the backseat to the main story. I found this really tasteful and well done. In the end, all the romances are sweet, and we even get a satisfying ending! Which is not a thing that can be said about a lot of ‘past romance sequences’ in historical books.

Speaking Of The Ending And Some Other Stuff

The Lost Castle has the loveliest author’s note I’ve ever seen – with everything about which parts of the story were invented, and which parts were not, and even which dramatic events were taken from the author’s actual experiences, which I found very touching. The ending itself might also bring a tear to your eye. It’s a mixture of sad and happy, and all in all, it’s a very, very satisfying one. Also, let me share my favorite quote:

“I think all along, it’s what she was trying to tell me. That the story we’re writing in this life, day by day, it’s a gift from God and we can’t afford to waste a moment of it.”

Speaking of detail though? One of the main characters has pretty much got my name. I don’t know why that would matter to you though. You stalker

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.

What are some of you favorite historical novels? Which are the time periods you love reading most about? And are you planning to read The Lost Castle?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Karoline
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I like all kinds of historical fiction. I’m such a history nut and I love getting lost in any particular time period. That being said, I think one of my favorite hist fic books was Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund. It’s about Marie Antoinette. It was extremely well done imo. 🙂

Ashley in Wonderland
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This sounds really wonderful 🙂 I’ll have to pick up a copy at some point! Great review!

Sophie Eloy
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Fantastic review Evelina! I am happy it did not disappoint. I had seen this one some weeks ago on another blog with a First Line Friday.

Lily
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I love my Historical fiction and this sounds so wonderful, I think I skipped out on this and now I want to try it. Sorry you got burned on the last HF you read D:

JJ @ This Dark Material
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Lovely review, Evelina! Books like these fall a little outside my reading comfort zone (not that they make me *un*comfortable, just that I don’t really reach for them!) but I’m glad this made up for some less-than-stellar past reads for you 🙂

Debbie @Debbie's Library
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I think I might add this one to my TBR 🙂 I love reading them, but it is pretty hard to find recommendations. My favorites so far are the books by Ruta Sepetys.

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
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Wow, this book definitely looks like the one I would enjoy I haven’t read much historical fiction, but last year I read Letters From Skye and it was pretty good. It also had the somewhat same storyline where a daughter gies to find her father, who was separated from her mother during WWI.. it was also being told in 2 or 3 timelines, I guess. But the unique thing was that thte whole book was in form of letters Recently, I read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was pretty good too. The book contains story of 7 generations, which is… Read more »
Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
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Sounds excellent! My book club would adore this book (they can never seem to get enough WW books… *rolls my eyes*) but I’m glad its also one that I could maybe get behind too! I love the idea of three timelines and of course the multiple POVS (which I tend to adore!) ❤️

Laura Thomas
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Your fabulous reviews have me trying books I nerve would have looked at twice! This does sound wonderful and I love strong female characters.

Anna @Adventures with a Book Nerd
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I have such a hard time reading historical fiction if it isn’t mixed with fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, or anything like that. All alone it’s just soooooooo booorrrriiinnnnggggg. I don’t think that this would be a good read for me, but I’m glad that you enjoyed it! 😀

Brian Joseph
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This sounds fun.

I think that almost any genre of fiction can turn out to be good. With that, I understand why sometimes folks will dislike certain categories of books.

Lydia Tewkesbury
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You had me hooked from the blurb. This story sounds. So. Good! When done well, telling a story in a bunch of different timelines is one of my favourite structures. It’s always so gripping, and I love when part of me is marvelling at the writing even as I’m totally lost in the story.

Stephanie Jane
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I find it weird when characters have my name too because Stephanie is a pretty rare one to spot so it actually makes me a tad uncomfortable. My OH who, as a David, has a far more common name can’t understand why it bothers me. I guess he’s just gotten used to being surrounded by other Davids!