Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A storied castle. A band of rebels. And a nation chasing the centuries-old dream of freedom . . . What legacy will they leave behind?  When Laine Forrester travels to France to attend her longtime friend's vineyard wedding, she expects to find a bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks--a devastating diagnosis, a castle restoration put on hold, and the emergence of deep-seated family dynamics that threaten to derail the new couple's fledgling marriage--it seems the storybook life Laine had imagined for her friend--and once, for herself--is suddenly crumbling before her eyes.  With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending for one of them, Laine throws support behind her friend and agrees to accompany the couple to the groom's family home in Ireland, where the merging of a mysterious inheritance, long-buried wounds, and a fractured family set out to upend the trip from the start. It's in the unlikely corners of a historic Dublin pub, and across the wide-open moors bordering Ireland's majestic Wicklow Mountains, that Laine is slowly drawn in by the land and the people, sparking hope for something she never imagined possible: the courage to heal. But with secrets of her own--and a heart afraid to trust again--Laine must determine how much she's willing to risk in mending the broken places within herself, and whether she believes that even through the depths of our pain, a beautiful story can emerge.  Set in three time-periods--the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century, Ireland's turbulent Easter week of the 1916 Rising, and present day--Castle on the Rise weaves a story of legacy, conviction, and redemption against the backdrop of Dublin's storied streets, and the stretch of Ireland's stunning emerald shores. It raises the question: given the choice between the fairy tale or a life of truly anchored faith--which legacy would you choose?"

Laine travels to France to attend her best friend's vineyard wedding. She is expecting perfection. France? A vineyard? What is not to love? But she finds out some upsetting information from the bride, Ellie, and perhaps things aren't as perfect as she thought.  After the wedding, she finds herself traveling to Ireland with Ellie in tow to help her out in her time of need.  This works for Laine though as she is avoiding heading back home as she has her own issues that she is dealing.  The story also jumps to two different time periods in Ireland all surrounding the castle that Ellie's family has inherited.  The first time period featured is 1916 during the Rising and then there's also the 18th century. Kirsty Cambron's Castle on the Rise is a clean historical read for fans of Irish tales.

I really enjoyed the character of Laine and following her experience in Ireland in Castle on the Rise. She is on her own over there along with her young daughter and I loved her loyalty to her best friend.  But when it comes down to it, Ireland helped Laine deal with the many issues she was avoiding back at home.  Slowly, Cambron reveals to us more about Laine and the truth surrounding her past.  I was really drawn to this current day plot line over the others, mostly because I wasn't sure how the other plot lines were really connected to the full story.

Once the various plot points in the other narratives started to come together, I enjoyed Castle on the Rise a bit more. But you have to stick with the first half of the story (it's slow moving) and trust that Cambron will bring everything together.  Essentially, the three narratives focus on three women from different time periods, their experiences, love, and forgiveness.

The beautiful descriptions of Ireland were my favorite part of Castle on the Rise. The castle, the pubs, and the lush landscapes were all well done. It made me want to plan another trip to the beautiful Emerald Isle. The castle itself becomes an important character that ties the three narratives together beautifully.

During the month of March, I always make it a goal to read a book set in Ireland; so, if you are looking for a read that's perfect for St. Patrick's Day, check out Castle on the Rise. It is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone. 

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