Keeping the Castle: a tale of romance, riches, and real estate by Patrice Kindl.
“”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.’”
Oops—she said that aloud… Tact is not our heroine’s strong suit.
Althea Crawley, 17, knows she must marry well to save the family folly of a faux castle built on a cliff in Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, England. Her widowed mother and little brother’s future depends on her. The purse strings are pulled so tightly that when multiple neighbors descend upon them to visit, broiled minnows from the moat must be served for refreshments to the Throstletwists and Doctor Haxhamptonshire (pronounced “hamster”). This is what is known as “genteel poverty” in the early nineteenth century.
Therefore, when Lord Boring moves in next door, Althea sets her sights on him. After all, she’s pretty much exhausted the local pool of marriageable men. Unfortunately, her stepsisters have also taken note of the new eligible bachelor in the neighborhood. Adding to Althea’s irritation, Lord Boring’s visiting cousin, Mr. Fredericks, is a most outspoken man, and Althea exchanges sharp words with him more than once. There are times she wonders why Lord Boring keeps him around. Althea is outspoken herself, but she has the advantage of being beautiful, which means people will forgive you much because you’re pleasant to look at. This is a witty little romance which will make you smile more than once. Oh—and if you do visit Crawley Castle, mind where you sit, as many of the chairs are rather decrepit.