I was sent a free copy of The Castle Keepers by Aimie K. Runyan, J’Nell Ciesielski, and Rachel McMillan through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. All opinions are my own.
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About The Castle Keepers:
Leedswick Castle has housed the Alnwick family in the English countryside for generations, despite a family curse determined to destroy their legacy and erase them from history.
1870. After a disastrous dinner at the Astor mansion forces her to flee New York in disgrace, socialite Beatrice Holbrook knows her performance in London must be a triumph. When she catches the eye of Charles Alnwick, one of the town’s most enviably titled bachelors, she prepares to attempt a social coup and become the future Marchioness of Northridge. Then tragedy and scandal strike the Alnwick family, and Beatrice must assume the role of a lifetime: that of her true, brave self.
1917. Artist Elena Hamilton arrives in Northumberland determined to transform a soldier’s wounds into something beautiful. Tobias Alnwick’s parents have commissioned a lifelike mask to help their son return to his former self after battle wounds partially destroyed his face. But Elena doesn’t see a man who needs fixing—she sees a man who needn’t hide. Yet secrets from their past threaten to chase away the peace they’ve found in each other and destroy the future they’re creating.
1945. Alec Alnwick returns home from the war haunted but determined to leave death and destruction behind. With the help of Brigitta Mayr, the brilliant young psychoanalyst whose correspondence was a lifeline during his time on the Western Front, he reconstructs his family’s large estate into a rehabilitation center for similarly wounded soldiers. Alec’s efforts may be the only chance to redeem his family legacy—and break the curse on the Alnwick name—once and for all.
Three beloved authors share stories of the Alnwick family through the generations, revealing how love and war can change a place—but only its people can unshackle it from the misdeeds of the past.
- Multiple historical timelines following generations of one family
- Stand-alone collection of connected stories
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
You can purchase The Castle Keepers on Amazon.com
About the Authors:
Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She has been honored as a Historical Novel Society Editors’ Choice selection, as a three-time finalist for the Colorado Book Awards, and as a nominee for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer of the Year.
Aimie is active as an educator and speaker in the writing community and beyond. Her next books, The Castle Keepers (in collaboration with J’nell Ciesielski and Rachel McMillan) and A Bakery in Paris will release in 2023 from Harper Collins. Also from Harper Collins, Aimie’s contemporary Women’s Fiction debut, The Memory of Lavender and Sage, will release in early 2024. She lives in Colorado with her amazing husband, two (usually) adorable children, two (always) adorable kitties, and a dragon. To learn more about Aimie, please visit www.aimiekrunyan.com.
Bestselling author and with a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. She is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.
Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary romances set in opulent Vienna, and the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries praised for bringing an authentic 1930’s Boston world to life while normalizing the fictional conversation surrounding mental illness.
She is also the author of Dream, Plan and Go: A Romantic’s Guide to Independent Travel and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide: which explores her love of made-for-TV Christmas movies. Her upcoming historical romances The London Restoration and The Mozart Code (Harper Collins) take readers deep into an atmospheric look at post-war London, Vienna and Prague. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.
This was a wonderfully marvelous way to present a story; three strong, established authors of historical fiction (with a bit of romance of course) take on one family in three distinct time periods through three wars and the horrors that each inflicts. Tying them all together is a castle that remained in the family through time.
First is the tale of Charles and Beatrice – he has the crumbling castle in need of repairs but no money and she has the money but no reputation back in NY. Fortunately they find each other and love blossoms.
WWI is the fight that brings us the tale of Tobias Alnwick. His face was scarred in battle and his parents have found a woman to create a mask to help him face the world again. But she sees him for who he is not what he looks like and love soon blossoms – but not easily. Only time will tell if these two can truly share the life they are meant to have.
Then WWII brings Alec Alnwick home from the horrors of that conflict and with the help of his psychoanalyst he also uses the family home as safe space for ailing soldiers. Can the two of them work together to bring peace to the soldiers and finally to Alnwick itself?
This was a very involving book as all three novellas brought a little more of the story of Alnwick alive. The people who lived, loved and died there all left their marks and it made for good story telling.
The book did not feel as if it were written by three different authors, only rather by three different characters and that is a difference. For the threads of all things finite within the tales all remained the same but only the voices of the people within changed so that you never felt out of the story.
I hope this bodes well for future collaborations between these talented writers.