Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: The Secret of the Irish Castle by Santa Montefiore

I've never watched soap operas on television but boy do I devour them in book form! Of course, they aren't generally called soap operas in book form. Instead they're called things like epics or family sagas. In fact, I already called the first two books in Santa Montefiore's Deverill Chronicles trilogy (The Girl in the Castle and The Daughters of Ireland) family sagas. The third and final book of the trilogy, The Secret of the Irish Castle, is the grand resolution to this saga. And in its case, it would be fair to say that it is not just a family saga but a great stonking Irish soap opera with all the twists and turns appropriate to a television show.

Martha Wallace is from Connecticut. She's come to Ireland with her old nanny and is looking for her birth mother after her younger sister's spiteful revelation that Martha was adopted. She has no idea what she'll find as far as her mother goes but she does find JP Deverill, making a connection with him that will turn out to dig up long buried secrets and change the direction of both of their lives as the next generation of Deverills, O'Learys, and Doyles take their places in the family drama. Bridie Doyle has married and returned to Ballinakelly as the Countess di Marcantonio. She, her flirtatious, womanizing husband, and their spoiled son are now the owners of Deverill Castle but Bridie feels as out of place as ever, not comfortable as the great lady of the manor but no longer Bridie the cook's daughter either. Kitty Deverill and her husband Robert still live in Ballinakelly with their daughter and JP, Kitty's half brother whom Kitty has raised since infancy. Kitty is terribly distraught by Bridie's ownership of the family home and the two formerly close friends remain completely estranged. But that isn't the worst of it for Kitty, as she discovers when Jack O'Leary, the man she has loved her whole life, moves back to Ballinakelly with his wife Emer and their three children. As the shadow of WWII draws closer and then through the war and out the other side, mistakes will be made, hearts will be broken, relationships will be revisited and reclaimed for good or for ill, and a tangle of lies and deceit will unravel.

Montefiore does wrap up all the story lines from the previous two books here in this final work of the trilogy. Readers who are coming to this after the other two books will not be surprised by any of the resolutions but readers who are picking this up without reading the other two books are likely to be a bit confused by the history they are missing.  So this is probably best read only after books one and two. As in the other books, love and family are terribly important but here the theme of forgiveness is tantamount. And to be sure, there's a lot of forgiveness that needs to be given here! The paranormal elements of the story line and acknowledgment and importance of the family curse are still here but they are quite minimized despite framing the rest of the story. All story lines are tidily resolved, characters get what they deserve and things end up the way they've always needed to end, if a bit easily at that. There's less of an Irish feel to this story than to the previous two, perhaps because it relies so much less on important events of Irish history and more on the individual characters and their feelings. The novel is a bit predictable but over all a satisfying conclusion to an engrossing summer read.

For more information about Santa Montefiore and the book, check out her webpage, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for sending me a copy of the book for review.

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