Story: The final book in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle trilogy centers around a painting of Queen Victoria. In The Painted Castle, Keira Foley – sister to Quinn and Cormac of The Lost Castle and Castle on the Rise – is asked to authenticate a rare painting of the queen in a relatively scandalous pose. As Keira uncovers the history of the painting, readers also learn the story of a woman involved in the painting’s origin, as well as the woman responsible for keeping the painting safe and hidden away. Set during Victorian England, WWII and the present day, this split generation novel provides a sweeping history of three brave women, a beautiful castle and a painting that connects them.
The earthy smell of alfalfa…the perfume of sweet astilbe and English violets and white hawthorn hidden in the hedgerow along the tree line…the spicy backdrop of autumn clove. The sun would burn off the thick morning mist while the bees took over the orchards, searching for the ripe sweetness of apples that had tumbled from the trees and lay in latent piles on the ground. And maybe another autumn in wartime wouldn’t seem so grim because of it.
Why: I must read all books in a series – I am a complete-ist. Also, these books are wonderful, and I was extremely excited to be able to get an early review copy of The Painted Castle! The fact that a portion of the book takes place during WWII did not go unnoticed, either!
Amelia whispered a “Good day” and whisked out of the library, wishing the tiny decisions of yesterday weren’t sometimes the very ones that could manage to change everything about the future in the blink of an eye.
Opinion: Best book of the three in this series. Hands down. I could not tell you which storyline is my favorite or even least favorite. I was just as thrilled each time I got “back” to the next heroine! That doesn’t happen for me with split narratives. There is always a story I’m more or less in to!
It was also gratifying as a reader of the entire series, that we got to revisit the characters from previous books. For me, that depth within a series provides so much more than an author can achieve in one work. I love that we were able to interact with these folks again and have a little closure to the entire family saga.
No more promises were made – none that might be broken. And no more wounds unearthed from the past. Even to heal, so secrets refused to yield.
Recommendation: Kristy Cambron – for me – never disappoints. Her books are such engaging, positive, clean reads that still manage to bring out tons of drama and excitement. Generally speaking, it would be hard for me to find someone that I wouldn’t recommend her books to! One of the things I specifically love about this book is that it hits a variety of genres that I believe make it a great book for a wide range of readers. There is murder and mystery. There are fine art galleries and ballrooms. There is historical discovery and war-time drama. There is loss and love. There is family and romance. In summation, you should read this book. HOWEVER, the one caution I will give is that I would read the series in order. They are great stand alone titles, but if you think you may like this one, do yourself a favor and read the other two as well. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
“Books are a completely personal kind of journey. On the first page they ask us not only to be willing, but to be moved, changed, persuaded, even made new by the time we reach the end. Everyone’s walk through is different. It has to be.”
Discussion Questions: I enjoy thinking of questions regarding the books I read, and sometimes, the books provide some as well! Here are a few for The Painted Castle. Questions adapted from those provided by the book are indicated with an *.
- Which of the three stories was your favorite? Which character(s) did you relate to most?
- Each of the heroines is searching for something. What is it they are searching for and how does it transform their lives?
- *How are the roles of women depicted during each era represented in this novel? How does each heroine confirm (or not!) to these roles?
- *Historical fiction thrives on secondary characters – especially those that are real people. How does the presence of characters like Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Queen Victoria enhance this novel? Which other secondary characters have a major impact on the plot? How?
- I love when an inanimate object becomes a character in a book! How does the beekeeper’s cottage impact each of the women in this book? What about their gentlemen counterparts?
- *Art is a central theme of The Painted Castle. How is art represented in each of the storylines?
Special thanks to TLC Book Tours for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!