The Lost Castle
Thomas Nelson, 2018
As her grandmother’s health and mental acuity begin to decline, Ellie Carver catches a glimpse into the past, at a story begging to be told. Ellie’s search for answers takes her to France, where she finds new friends and castle ruins that might be the key to unlocking her family history. Racing against time as her grandmother’s condition deteriorates, Ellie digs deep into her heart and local traditions to finish the memory that her grandmother is trapped in and give them both peace.
This post contains affiliate links. Read more about that here. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of The Lost Castle in exchange for an honest review.
There’s a very good chance The Lost Castle could end up on my top ten list at the end of the year. It is captivating and beautifully told, weaving together three women’s stories seamlessly to form a family legacy of love, compassion, humanity, and affection for one ancient castle. There is so much interesting history packed into every chapter which serves to highlight the hopes and struggles of the people in the story.
The perspective jumps back and forth between Aveline in the late 1780’s, Viola in the mid 1940’s, and Ellie in present day. All of their stories take place surrounding the The Sleeping Beauty, a castle owned for generations by the Vivay family. The castle is steeped in legends and traditions, most surrounding the vineyard that accompanies it, which is still operational though the castle itself is in ruins. The vineyard is almost a character in and of itself as the story progresses through the generations, staying constant through the devastation of war and loss.
The main storyline is that Ellie’s grandmother has Alzheimers and during one of her increasingly rare lucid moments lets Ellie in on the secret that Ellie’s grandfather was not her first love. Armed with a photo of her grandmother with a young man in front of a castle archway, Ellie sets off to France at her grandmother’s request to find the man and give him a message. This takes her on a journey of self-discovery and takes the reader on a rich historical adventure.
I am in awe of the way Kristy Cambron was able to simultaneously tell three separate but related stories in The Lost Castle and join them all together cohesively in the end. She deals with issues of social class and government policy through France’s history, and weaves in bits of the language and culture in an engrossing way that makes me want to learn French and visit the Loire Valley at the first opportunity.