Keeping the Castle

Keeping the Castle

by Patrice Kindl


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Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . This witty take on the classic Regency--Patrice Kindl's first novel in a decade--is like literary champagne!

“If you’re a fan of I Capture the Castle you will love this sharply funny tale of courtship.  A delicious confection.”  -- Polly Shulman, author of Enthusiasm

“Take one Austenian heroine in desperate financial straits.  Put her in a crumbling castle, give her two evil stepsisters and some very unsuitable suitors.  Make it funny!  Patrice Kindl’s Keeping the Castle is an absolute charmer!”  -- Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670014385
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 06/14/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 762,890
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.92(d)
Lexile: 1050L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Patrice Kindl ( is the author of Owl in Love and Goose Chase as well as other award-winning novels.  She has shared her 1830’s home in a small village in rural upstate New York with a wide variety of creatures: a son, monkeys (she trained them to be aides to quadriplegics), birds, cats, dogs and hamsters. Her current household contains a singing, dancing, talking parrot, a faithful little black and brown dog, an old tiger cat and a very tolerant husband.

Read an Excerpt

from Keeping the Castle

We were walking in the castle garden. The silvery light of early spring streaked across the grass, transforming the overgrown shrubbery into a place of magic and romance. He had begged me for a few moments of privacy, to “discuss a matter of great importance.” By this I assumed that he meant to make an offer of marriage.

            “I love you, Althea—you are so beautiful,” murmured the young man into my ear.

            Well, I was willing enough. I looked up at him from under my eyelashes. “I love you too,” I confessed. I averted my gaze and added privately, “You are so rich.”

            Unfortunately, I apparently said this aloud, if just barely, and his hearing was sharper than one would expect, given his other attributes.

            “I beg your pardon? You love me because I’m rich?”

            “Not only because of that,” I hastened to assure him. He also was reasonably amiable and came of a good family. He admired me and was apparently willing to overlook my lack of fortune, all points in his favor. And, yes, he was rich. Quite enough to turn the head, and the heart, of an impressionable and impecunious young girl such as myself.

            “So,” he thought this over, “if I lost my money you wouldn’t love me anymore?”

            “If I became ill,” I countered, “so that my hair fell out in clumps and my skin was covered with scabs and I limped, would you still love me?”

            “Egad!” He stared at me, evidently attempting to picture this. He turned a little green.

            “But,” I said, “Most likely those things will not happen. You are rich and I am beautiful. We should make an excellent couple. Our children will have my looks and your money.” At least, so I hoped. Only imagine a child with his lack of neck and my lack of funds! The poor man’s head looked exactly like a melon, or perhaps one of those large orange gourds from the Americas, bursting out of his cravat. And he had such big red lips, which he licked incessantly.

            We each were lost in our own separate thoughts for a moment, I, mourning the fate of these hypothetical offspring, he, as his subsequent commentary proved, considering the finer distinctions of desire and avarice.

            “It’s not the same thing,” he said at last, looking sulky. “Admiration of a woman’s beauty in a man is . . .” he waved a hand, searching for the mot juste, “it’s spiritual. It shows that he has a soul.” His gaze swept up and down my form, lingering regretfully on my bosom, which was exposed enough for interest and covered enough for decorum. He licked his lips. “But,” he went on, withdrawing his gaze, “any consideration of the contents of a man’s purse by a lady he is courting is—I regret to say this to one I held in such high esteem only a few short moments ago, but I must—it is mercenary and shows a cold heart. I must withdraw my protestations of ardor. Good evening to you.”

            He bowed, turned and stalked out of the garden. I sighed. When would I learn to speak with a tactful tongue? There went another one. I kept forgetting how ridiculously sensitive and illogical men were. He assumed that his fortune would buy a beauty; I assumed that my beauty would procure me a rich husband. It seemed much the same thing to me, but evidently what was permissible in a man was not in a woman.

            Ah well. There was yet time; I was but seventeen.

Excerpted from "Keeping the Castle"
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Copyright © 2012 Patrice Kindl.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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What People are Saying About This

Mahnaz Dar

School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW This droll tale set in 19th-century England will earn smiles of recognition from those familiar with Pride and Prejudice. Althea Crawley's only hope of saving her family and their castlelike home from their state of genteel poverty is to ensnare a wealthy husband using the two sole tools at her disposal: her youth and her beauty. The 17-year-old soon sets her sights on dashing Lord Boring, but obstacles arise, including her scheming stepsisters and Boring's seemingly boorish cousin, Mr. Fredericks. Though the bulk of the action revolves around socializing—visits, picnics, riding parties—these events are infused with enough drama and social maneuvering to keep the plot moving smoothly. Witty dialogue, particularly the barbed exchanges between Althea and Mr. Fredericks, recalls Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy's sharp banter but will also be accessible to readers who have not yet encountered Austen. Kindl uses sly humor to take aim at societal customs and standards. For example, Althea questions a rich suitor about why her appreciation of his wealth is mercenary while his enjoyment of her physical beauty is admirable. Althea is a worthy heroine with sharp-eyed views on matrimony that set her apart from more typical dewy-eyed protagonists. The dilapidated castle setting, the Crawleys' desperate circumstances, Althea's amusingly wicked stepsisters, and a touch of romance all bring this archly humorous story to vivid life. A treat for both fans of Austen and newcomers alike.

Ann Kelley

Booklist STARRED REVIEW Seventeen-year-old Althea Crawley is facing a plight familiar to characters in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (1949), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and PBS’ Downton Abbey: “Perhaps one day women might be able to choose their husbands with no thought of money and position, but not in this day and age in Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, England.” Althea is on a quest to marry rich so that she may secure the family’s only inheritance, a dilapidated castle on the edge of the North Sea. She also bears the burden of supporting her widowed mother, four-year-old brother, and two sour, wealthy stepsisters, who refuse to contribute financially to the household. Marriage prospects in tiny Lesser Hoo are slim, to say the least, until dashing and wealthy Lord Boring arrives on the scene. Matters are further complicated by a revolving cast of potential suitors, including Lord Boring’s cousin, Mr. Fredericks, who is the Mr. Darcy to Althea’s Elizabeth Bennet. As with any respectable story set in England in the nineteenth or early twentieth century, the ending is jam-packed with revelations, only some of which are surprising. In her first novel in a decade, Kindl (Goose Chase, 2001) writes with sharp, effervescent, period-specific language that is so spot-on readers may find themselves adopting a British accent. This witty take on classic Regency romances is frothy fun for YA Anglophiles.

From the Publisher

Kirkus Review A romp of a Regency romance told through the discerning voice of a witty teenage beauty whose family needs to her to marry for money.. . . Kindl respects the conventions of the genre while also gently mocking it. ...While the happy ending comes as no surprise, the path to it is funny as well as satisfying, with many nods to Jane Austen along the way.

Customer Reviews

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Keeping the Castle 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awful. I had to push my way to get through it and never developed a relationship with the shallow lead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really boring. When I would read this I found myself drifting off in my own thoughts and had to really concentrate to get through a page in this book. The characters were very dull and so was the storyline. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my niece. We both enjoyed it. It's a very funny satire for young adults.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is three and a half, nearly four stars.It's really very darling, it's a riff on Regency novels -- and everything I have seen on it keeps referencing Pride and Prejudice and I Capture the Castle but the voice it reminded me of the MOST is Emma. For what it's worth. Poor girl with castle trying to snag a rich husband. Short, cute and mostly funny ... at first I was a little nervous that it was going to be all winking and no heart. The warmth does come out more as the book goes on. For reasons I don't understand, as I was reading, in my mind I was picturing this story depicted in an Edward Gorey-style series of illustrations. Grade: It's like a very strong B+Recommended: I would it's the kind of thing that you would like if you have read The Right Kinds of Books. I can't imagine it working very well at all for someone who wasn't that interested in the source material in the first place.
Annesanse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Keeping the Castle was a really quick, cute story. It was pretty much a watered-down version of a Jane Austen novel. A poor beautiful girl is in need of a rich husband and several rich men are suddenly thrown in her way. Everyone has their secrets and all are eventually revealed. I did enjoy this book, and thought it was pretty funny. Overall, I'd recommend it.
peptastic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book would be the offspring if I Capture the Castle attended a swingers party with all of the Jane Austen novels and were disgraced in the family way with this novel. We had the "heroine" of the novel Althea who was like Emma from Emma [not Mariane since she never felt any love for the Baron but it shares similarities there as well] and Rose from I Capture the Castle. Her step-sister Charity would be Jane Fairfax and Prudence was Mary Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Their home is a sort of castle built by the chalk cliffs in Yorkshire. This is where I Capture the Castle comes in. Their family needs money to maintain the castle until her little brother comes along. Althea has to find a rich husband but she's too outspoken and lets it slip she's only interested in marriage for the money. Althea never lets us forget she is beautiful and all of the men admire her for it. If it weren't for her selfish step-sisters hoarding their money [think Sense and Sensibility] they could maintain the estate. Althea spends her time arranging for people to get married like Emma and even uses a painting of herself to help set a couple up.This book isn't for me since I enjoy the gothics rather than comedy of manners. I think I'll stick with Madeleine Brent and Mary Stewart when I need my romantic period fix. I gobbled up the Victoria Holt's in my pre-teen years and Jane Eyre is a personal favourite. I like a little danger and mystery. I could care less what to serve everyone for tea.If you enjoy a heroine who is all about good family breeding and money then this might be your cup of tea. I like a movie with these qualities as much as the next girl but give me Mr. Knightley only when Jeremy Northam is playing him. Please no Mark Strong addressing the servants! Northam is my dream guy and gave Knightley some charm. Althea kept protesting she needed to marry for the servants sake. She did not have me fooled. She constantly put anyone down who came from trade or whose lineage were not of the peerage.I suppose we must add Nancy Mitford's U and Non u to the recipe book.The entire book was written in a tongue and cheek tone which put Mitford in mind.However, what was she trying to say here? Times aren't entirely like this now. They do not have to be at least. So what was the point in telling a book with social themes that don't apply to social themes now? Because they did matter in Austen's time.This book did not tell an actual story but seemed like it wanted to ram something down our throats.
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS This was a really quick and entertaining read! It's definitely not the best book I ever read, but I did like it. This book is about Althea, a 17 year old girl who has to marry in order to keep her castle. Her family (mother, baby brother, and two obnoxious stepsisters) are running low and money and are struggling to get by. The only way out of this is by Althea marrying into money. Thankfully, a new young Lord has come back to town and Althea sees them to be the perfect match, but her horrible cousin keeps getting in the way of things, so Althea has to do some more plotting in order for things to come together. This book was utterly ridiculous and predictable, but that's honestly what makes it so enjoyable. It's an entertaining book that you can sit down and read in one sitting. And really, this book is supposed to be ridiculous! The main love interest is named Lord Boring! It only just made the book more entertaining! Overall, I felt like it had a charming fairy-tale like quality, with a historical setting. I had issues with Althea. She isn't very likable. Not to say she's a horrible person, but she sometimes seems more wrapped up in herself. Throughout the book, she plots at how to get people, thinking she's helping them, but she's more wrapped up in just trying to fix herself up with Lord Boring. Even though, I didn't have much of a problem with her character. She was supposed to like this, it was intentional. I actually have more of a problem with how blind she was throughout the book to the romance. Okay, so this book has a very complicated romance. I admit that even with all the drama involved, I still liked it, which is very unusual. So, from the get-go I knew that Althea would not end up with Lord Boring. Come on! Why would ever want to be in a relationship with Lord Boring! No, she's going to get with the obnoxious cousin. And no, that's not a spoiler. Like I said, it's very obvious. I liked it because I'm a sucker for hate-to-love relationships. I didn't like how long it was dragged out and the fact that there was no kissing. If I ship something, there needs to be kissing. As for the end, I didn't like how things ended. For one, there was no kissing. I also felt like everything was tied up into a neat bow. IN CONCLUSION This was a very entertaining, but quick read! It has a very fun and ridiculous quality to it, which only made it more enjoyable! The plot is incredibly predictable and the MC is a bit unlikable, but it's still a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is almost like a Cinderella story but with a humorous and dramatic twist. Lots of descriptive wording. Reccomend for people(girls) aged 12+. Love it, hope you will too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. It was funny, witty and had good characters (Mr. Fredricks was hilarious!).  And I loved the names of some of the people/places! It's a nice combination of some Jane Austen and Cinderella. I will say that it is definitely close to the line of young adult and adult, not for mature content, just that the writing is a little juvenile, but still great.Sure it's not the greatest thing you'll ever read, but it's without a doubt worth it. Keeping the Castle is a very cute and charming little novel and I recommend it.  
Brookes_Books More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars I thoroughly enjoyed much of this book.  It had some witty banter, interesting characters, and romance.  Although it has been said to be like Pride and Prejudice, there was also a Cinderella feel to it.  And how could I not love that one of the main character's name was "Lord Boring".  I laughed almost every time I read his name.  And the town in which they live was called "Lesser Hoo".  I felt like it might look like something from Dr. Seuss.  Of course, it didn't.   However, I did not like the way the book resolved.  I felt there should have been more dialogue and feeling expressed.  I wanted more romance at the end.  Oh well, I can't get everything I want. Warnings: None I would let my 12 and 15 year old daughters read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. My favorite parts were the descriptions of the castle. I laughed out loud! Some reviewers say this book is great for 12 year olds, and I think a 12 year old would enjoy it. But I'm 28 and I, too, thought it was fun. I didn't notice any grammar errors. There must not have been enough to hinder the enjoyment of the reading. It might not be classic literature, but I don't think it claims to be. It's a fun, clean story, which is rare these days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think its a Texas Bluebonnet, but there are a lot of grammer errors and the plot was unfocused.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it worth reafing because i have to read it for school and i wanted to know if it was good Thanks for the advice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mature content but written for a 10 year old. A mash up of Austen classics like pride and prejudice but completely butchered
Anonymous More than 1 year ago