Kristy Cambron’s latest novel is a beautiful tale of love, family, and France. It is set in three time periods: The French Revolution, World War II, and Present Day. These stories are woven together in a lovely, emotion-filled tale.
This post contains affiliate links, see disclosures for more detail. I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.
About the Book:
Ellie Carver’s grandmother is fading fast, suffering from Alzheimer’s and its horrific toll on her memories. She begs Ellie to visit the Loire Valley in France to find a castle that holds secrets. Ellie is astounded as she thought she knew all there was to know about her grandmother’s life. When she arrives, she meets grouchy Irishman Quinn and his welcoming grandfather Titus. As Ellie gets to know the area and the people who reside there, she slowly uncovers information about the castle and the secrets it has to tell her about her grandmother’s past.
Viola Hart is an Englishwoman hiding out in France during World War II. She has a job to do, but must hide her identity and mission from everyone, including the young man who is helping her to hide. In 1780s France, Aveline is betrothed to Philippe. Yet when the French Revolution comes to their very doorstep, Aveline is injured and Philippe is nowhere to be found.
All three storylines wind together and each story helps the others to present a more complete picture of the women who inhabit them: those they love, those they lose, and those they find again.
This is most definitely a three-tissue book! I found myself with tears streaming down my face as I read the final chapters that bring all the tales to a close. I connected the most with Vi’s storyline, I feel that historical fiction is Cambron’s greatest strength (see: The Illusionist’s Apprentice, The Butterfly and the Violin, and A Sparrow in Terezin) Although I liked Ellie’s quest to find out about her grandmother’s past, I found myself rushing through the present-day sections to get back to the other two storylines. This is pretty unusual for me, because generally I am all about the contemporary storylines, but this book is an exception.
Cambron’s imagery made me want to book an immediate trip to France to see if I can find an out-of-the-way vineyard next to a crumbling castle. Her descriptions of the scenery, the sights, smells, and tastes are amazingly evocative and paint pictures in the mind with the senses. The spiritual content of the story is subtle, but very uplifting with its message of hope, protection, and provision.
The strong, brave women are the central stars of this story. The way they stand up against evil, against disease, against what is wrong–they are examples of the strength and resilience that embody admirable women throughout the ages. It’s rare that the men, and actually, even the romances, take a back seat to the other themes, but in this case the three women’s discoveries about themselves and the women who came before them are what genuinely shine in this novel.
The Lost Castle is an achingly exquisite tale about love, loss, and family. Cambron’s ability to paint pictures with words will entrance readers and take you on a journey you will never forget.
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