- Author: Lizzie Lamb
- Published: April 2017 by New Romantics Press
- Category: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery, Book Review, Books, Reading.
Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts.
After a show of justified outrage with unfortunate consequences, Doctor Henriette Bruar with the help of Professor Maddie Hallam, has secured a job cataloguing the library at Castle Tèarmannair. She is hopeful of finding some valuable books; to secure funds for restoration of the castle and, hopefully, in the process also help her career. Her position as an academic and possibly furthering that position at St Guthlac’s is now in jeopardy and time away, giving Henri chance to try and repair the damage, is just what she needs.
Employed by Sir Malcolm MacKenzie, and assumed to be the latest in a long line of the flighty young women Sir Malcolm is attracted to, Henri gets a less than welcoming reception from the castle staff, Alice and Lachlan. However, the estate is all but insolvent and so, against his better judgement, Keir MacKenzie, Sir Malcolm’s son and heir, agrees to Henri’s inventory.
Sir Malcolm and Keir have been estranged for years, in the wake of a tragedy when Keir was a young boy, which haunts them both. Sir Malcolm’s complete lack of money management hasn’t helped their relationship.
There it was, again – a lament; the kind played from the parapet of a castle high above a loch, the piper hidden by swirling autumn mist and fading light. Unable to ignore it any longer, Henriette Bruar ended the podcast – Five Historic Hauntings for Hallowe’en – and, ears straining, glanced half-fearfully over her shoulder in case some madman had got on at the last station, hell bent on making it plain that here was no place for Sassenachs.
No place for lone, female travellers either, come to that. However, the train was empty, as it had been for the past half an hour. For who, in their right mind, would take the last train out of Fort William on a wet autumn afternoon and travel up the line to MacKenzie’s Halt?
Lizzie Lamb’s descriptions of the Scottish Highlands and the castle on the loch are vivid and atmospheric. That, together with the history, authentic dialect, occasional Gaelic and well fleshed out characters of Henri and Keir, creates a wonderfully evocative read. The dialogue is realistic and, as always, the characters are distinctive and strong with back stories that develop with the storyline. Secondary characters are just as enjoyable; lovely Aunt Alice, the chatelaine, who soon realises she was wrong about Henri, and irascible Lachlan, Sir Malcolm’s ‘man.’
Castle Tèarmannair is a character in its own right and who doesn’t love a romantic castle on a loch, not to mention a dark, brooding, Gaelic speaking Scotsman in a kilt. The romance between Keir and Henri is a slow burner which works well within the framework of the story. Both grow and develop as, initially they tolerate each other, then as time passes their relationship evolves. Great characterisations, romance, humour and a hunt for Jacobite treasure all combine to make a very enjoyable read. This book arrived just as I was ready for a change of pace, I enjoyed my visit to the Scottish Highlands very much.
I chose to read and review Girl in the Castle based on a copy of the book supplied by the author/publisher.
About Lizzie Lamb
After teaching my 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, I decided pursue my first love: writing. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of my time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, I published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS in July 2015. It achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. I am a founding member of an indie publishing group – New Romantics Press and in November 2014 were invited to hold an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London. The icing on the cake, as far we are concerned, and a fitting way to celebrate our achievements. March 2016 saw Scotch on the Rocks shortlisted for the prestigious Exeter Novel Prize and in November 2016 I held an author talk in London, at Aspinalls. I plan to return there in Spring 2017 with my new novel – GIRL IN THE CASTLE. I live in Leicestershire with my husband David (aka Bongo Man) and our naughty parrot, Jasper.