Book review: The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore

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  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition
  • Publication date:  (September 27, 2016)
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  576 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

International sensation Santa Montefiore presents the first book in a trilogy that follows three Irish women through the decades of the twentieth century—perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Hazel Gaynor.

Born on the ninth day of the ninth month in the year 1900, Kitty Deverill is special as her grandmother has always told her. Built on the stunning green hills of West Cork, Ireland, Castle Deverill is Kitty’s beloved home, where many generations of Deverills have also resided. Although she’s Anglo-Irish, Kitty’s heart completely belongs to the wild countryside of the Emerald Isle, and her devotion to her Irish-Catholic friends Bridie Doyle, the daughter of the castle’s cook, and Jack O’Leary, the vet’s son, is unmatched—even if Jack is always reminding her that she isn’t fully Irish. Still, Jack and Kitty can’t help falling in love although they both know their union faces the greatest obstacles since they are from different worlds.

Bridie cherishes her friendship with Kitty, who makes her feel more like her equal than a servant. Yet she can’t help dreaming of someday having all the wealth and glamour Kitty’s station in life affords her. But when she discovers a secret that Kitty has been keeping from her, Bridie finds herself growing resentful toward the girl in the castle who seems to have it all.

When the Irish revolt to throw over British rule in Southern Ireland, Jack enlists to fight. Worried for her safety, Jack warns Kitty to keep her distance, but she refuses and throws herself into the cause for Irish liberty, running messages and ammunition between the rebels. But as Kitty soon discovers, her allegiance to her family and her friends will be tested—and when Castle Deverill comes under attack, the only home and life she’s ever known are threatened.

A powerful story of love, loyalty, and friendship, The Girl in the Castle is an exquisitely written novel set against the magical, captivating landscape of Ireland.

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Santa-Montefiore_SMEET THE AUTHOR:  Born in England in 1970 Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up.

She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha in London.

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REVIEW: 

For all you fans of Downton Abbey, this Irish family saga will be your next big addiction. You’ve got drama, scandal, romance, fantasy and plenty of nail-biting action.

Kitty comes from an Anglo-Irish family.  Her mother rejected her when she was young and despite being raised by a harsh Scottish governess, Kitty is allowed to “run free” with her best friend Birdie, the cook’s daughter.  Their friend Jack, an aspiring vet, is their protector and companion. Kitty’s grandmother is indulgent and loving and together they annoy Kitty’s mother whose goal is have all her children marry into the English aristocracy.

As the three young people grow, their lives are thrown into turmoil as the Irish revolt in an attempt to claim their independence from Britain.  Kitty loves Ireland and Jack with equal intensity and puts herself in danger when she actively participates in the protests and underground activities.  Plenty of unexpected turns of event and plot twists will keep you reading until the wee hours.

Lyrical and beautifully written, The Girl in the Castle is the first in a series of three novels.  I look forward to the next chapter.

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