~ About the Book ~
What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?
Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .
Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.
Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.
Genre: Split-time Romance
Release date: 6 February 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
~ Excerpt ~
“There’s a castle. A real castle . . . in France somewhere?” A nagging sentiment pricked her insides, that there were stories—secrets no one knew. Maybe not even her grandfather. Or her parents. Were they hidden, like an old photo? Forgotten so long their story had faded with the black-and-white image?
“Why have you never mentioned any of this before?”
Vi tendered a graceful tip of the lips—a knowing smile?
“Because I was not ready to share him.”
That declaration was soft but witty. And the hint of a smile too? Classic Lady Vi, but the timing was breaking her heart all over again.
“This man. Is he family?”
“Not any family you would know.”
So much for that angle. “A friend, then? Maybe an acquaintance of Great-Uncle Andrew? Or someone you met during the war?”
“He said I could find him in the chapel, the one at The Sleeping Beauty. If I wore the brooch, he’d know my answer the moment I stepped through the door.”
“The brooch? I thought Grandpa gave it you.” A wave of doubt washed over Ellie. “You wore it in your wedding photos. So I thought Grandpa . . .”
“He wanted me to have it.” She paused, long seconds ticking away from the clock on the wall. Tears? Were those . . . tears forming in her grandmother’s eyes? “It was all he had to give.”
It had been ages since the last time Grandma Vi had been able to feel anything enough to cry. It must have been important, whatever memory she was lost in, if she was so overcome that its remembrance could stir an emotional response to defy even the firm grip of Alzheimer’s.
Ellie slid to the floor by Vi’s lap, covering her grandmother’s delicate hand atop the book’s cover.
The turn in the conversation had made her almost too afraid to ask, but Ellie drew a deep breath and whispered, “Who were you waiting for? Is it . . . ?” She swallowed hard, charging headlong into a question she wasn’t sure she wanted the answer to. “Is it this man?”
“He said he’d come back for me.” Vi looked out to the grove of trees again, her eyes cloudy and wet behind her glasses. She shook her head, gazing down at her empty palms. “I should have stayed behind, like he’d asked. But I was scared. And so young . . . And then, I couldn’t. It was too late.”
“I don’t understand. What was too late? What couldn’t you do?”
Lady Vi Carver came back that day. If only for moments in a small nursing facility room, she sparked back to life. With a twinkle in her Elizabeth Taylor eyes and a familiar dimpled smile. Accompanied by tears. Through loss and the storied pasts of fairy tales, forgotten photos, and heirloom jewelry—
“Become his wife, of course.”
Tinges of shock pricked Ellie’s skin. “His wife . . .”
“That’s right.” Vi ran her index finger over the photo’s worn edge. “I need you to go to The Sleeping Beauty. Find him. Tell him I accept—before it’s too late.”
Taken from “The Lost Castle” by Kristy Cambron
Copyright © 2018 by Kristy Cambron
Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/
~ Review ~
Goodness me, what a jumble of emotions I’m processing right now! Tears, smiles, the lot! It’s safe to say you’re getting a lot of bang for your story buck with this latest release from Kristy Cambron. Not just two, but THREE different time periods weaving together to flesh out the story of the silent character in this novel: Château des Doux-Rêves—the castle of sweet dreams, or more affectionately, The Sleeping Beauty.
Through the years this castle bears witness to joy and sorrow, fear and courage, devastation, determination, and love, and all of this is bound up in the stories of three women: Aveline Sainte-Moreau, preparing to be presented to her betrothed, the Duke et Vivay’s son, on the very day the Bastille is stormed in Paris; Viola Hart, a young woman hiding from the Nazis in the Loire Valley in occupied France; and Ellie Carver, Viola’s granddaughter, on a race against time to deliver her grandmother’s decades-overdue answer to a secret proposal she’s never spoken of.
You’ll want to keep your wits about you, particularly in the early stages of the novel, as the story does move around a bit between the different time periods. I found it easier to settle into the novel when I was able to read for longer stretches rather than a chapter here and there, and my hint would be to pay more attention to the date that heads the historical sections than I initially did! We meet both of our historical characters at a critical point in their story, and then their stories both progress forward in time as well as filling in the events that led to the point where we first met them. If that sounds daunting, please believe it’s worth it and not as difficult to follow as it sounds!
Each story was engaging in its own right, but I confess it was Viola’s story that most intrigued me. I daren’t say too much, lest I give spoilers. I simply recommend you settle in and enjoy the unfolding story as Ellie seeks to discover the secrets of the The Sleeping Beauty of the Loire Valley.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Other Novels by Kristy Cambron ~
~ About the Author ~
Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. THE ILLUSIONIST’S APPRENTICE (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel.
Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University, and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.