Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review: The Forgotten Castles Series by Jamie Carie

From The Author's Website:

The Forgotten Castles Series is a three book series that follows amateur sleuth, Lady Alexandria Featherstone, as she travels to Ireland (book one – The Guardian Duke), Iceland (book two – The Forgiven Duke), and Italy (book three – A Duke’s Promise) in search of her missing parents. Full of adventure, romance and mystery the three books sweep readers across Europe in pursuit of a famed invention. Along the way, Alexandria develops feelings for her guardian – the brooding Duke of St. Easton, who has recently suffered a physical blow that is changing his life. Gabriel thinks of his new charge as an unwanted complication in a time when his life is coming apart at the seams but soon comes to cherish her letters and admire her faith. Their journey will be fraught with danger as they come ever closer to God’s plan for their lives.

My Review:

I have a love-hate relationship with Christian fiction.  That sounds awful, but it's true.  The books have so very much promise, but usually end up falling flat.  I though this series might be an exception to the rule.  

The first novel in the trilogy, The Guardian Duke, was a re-read for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time around, but while reading it this time, realised that it's skimpy on the romance - it's more adventure - and I really had my heart on a historical romance without any heat.    I found it a little disappointing the second time around, but I did want to see how the fledgling relationship(s) played out and what truly happened with her parents.

In the first novel, I was intrigued by Alex.  She had charisma, naïvety, she was impetuous, and had her share of flaws, yet she managed to come across charming. Likewise, I loved the moody Duke, struggling with his faith and personal troubles. The supporting characters made me smile.  Overall, this book was the best of the three.

I will state that I find the endings in this series feel incomplete - you have to read the next novel for any sense of closure - and I truly dislike that in a book.  I want to read the next novel because the first was so well written that I've been entirely entranced by the characters and premise. 

The second & third novels, The Forgiven Duke & The Duke's Promise, didn't hold my attention as well.  The second novel expounded on the romance between Alex & the Duke.  It contains mishaps and mystery.  The third novel follows their adventures, still rife with conflict, danger, and the undertone of romance - all in the guise of a wedding trip to see the continent.  

Alls well that ends well - albeit with somewhat predictably.  I also found the last two novels "preachier", I suppose as a result of the protagonists trying to find their faith and battling their doubts and disbeliefs.  The last two novels in this series were more difficult to read - I had to trudge through them and breathed a sigh of relief when done.  I needed to know the end of the story... but found the road to get there was very slow-going.  

Ms. Carie is a wonderful author - these are not the first of her books I've read. Unfortunately, The Forgotten Castles Series just didn't quite live up to it's potential.  Give it a go if you truly enjoy Christian historical and have the time to invest in the series.  Pass if you like your stories with a little more movement.

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