Author: Santa Montefiore
Series: The Deverill Chronicles, #1
Narrator: Genevieve Swallow
Published: September 2016, HarperAudio / William Morrow Paperbacks
Length: 17 hours 25 minutes / 576 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Publisher
International sensation Santa Montefiore presents the first book in a trilogy that follows three Irish women through the decades of the 20th 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.
My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Santa Montefiore and I'm so glad to know that it's also the first in a trilogy. I found myself completely wrapped up in this family saga and look forward to continuing on with the next installment!
One of the aspects I loved about this book is the setting - I haven't read too many historical fiction family sagas set in Ireland and I felt that Santa Montefiore really brought the Irish setting to life. The castles and Irish lore, ghosts and countryside all came together to almost act as characters themselves.
Kitty Deverill is nine years old when we first meet her and she has a strong bond with her grandmother, Lady Deverill. And, like her grandmother, she has the gift of seeing ghosts. Just this slight aspect of paranormal was enough to intrigue me - yes, you had to suspend belief, but it never was too much. I liked it and I think it added just the right tone to the overall enjoyment of the story - that good old Irish lore. I also loved Kitty's character - she has just the right amount of spunk and mischievousness that you can't help but want to know what she is going to get herself caught up with next. She finds herself paired up with two unlikely friends - Bridie, the daughter of the castle's cook, and Jack, the local vet's son. These three develop a friendship that will be tested time and time again.
I look forward to seeing how this trilogy progresses in the next installment. I enjoyed following Kitty as she matured into a young woman - she certainly hasn't had an easy life so far, and doesn't live in easy times, but that doesn't seem to stop her from going after what she wants or what she believes in.
Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Genevieve Swallow narrate and I thought she did a good job. It's a long book, and sometimes with longer books, it's hard to stay engaged in the storyline, but I had no problem in this case. Genevieve managed to keep me engaged and gave all the characters unique voices so that I always knew who was speaking. Even if I had to put the book down for a prolonged period of time, I felt I could pick up right where I was without feeling lost - not bad! I will definitely be checking out what else she has narrated and I do hope she continues to narrate this trilogy - my everlasting hope when it comes to trilogies and series!!!
Books in this series:
- The Girl in the Castle
- Daughters of Castle Deverill