A castle in a forest inspires the stories of three women, scattered across centuries. Adeline is engaged to a Duke in 18th century France, though her opinions are more aligned with the “rabble” than the wealthy aristocracy to which she will belong. But when the Duke’s castle is burned by angry serfs, and Adeline as well, on the night of her engagement party, she must hide and find a new identity until her fiance returns.
Viola was witness to a bombing at her office in London during WWII and has also decided to also subvert conventionalities and the expectations for women and join with Allied forces in France to stop the Germans from taking over. She is a linguist who will summon her deepest courage, and meet the most unfathomable man, and carry a story with her to the brink of Alzheimer’s for her granddaughter to find.
Ellie has no one left but her Grandmother, Lady Vi, and is shocked to discover she knows little about the most dominant and enchanting period of her life. Ellie flies to a French chateau beside a winery, where she meets a delightfully obstinate old man, his amazing cook of a wife, and their Irish grandson, who will, often reluctantly, help her unravel the secrets of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the brazen women who brought it back to life. The Lost Castle is part historical drama, part women’s empowerment, part love story, surrounding a fairy-tale castle where “the stories were written in generations of weathered stone.”
Vi huddled on the floor of a chapel, surrounded by crates of Anjou pears and a burlap bag of walnuts. The pear and “the old chapel had become her unwitting saviors.” From the flavor of the pear, she was able to tear away from the fearful memories of all she’d been through, “the sweet combination of honey and tart pulling her back to the present” moments before she would meet Julian. To combine all these, I created a recipe for
Pear and Walnut Mini Tarts drizzled with Honey
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- cold salted butter
- ice water
- room temperature water
- Anjou pears, peeled and diced small
- walnuts, chopped into small pieces
- honey, for drizzling
For the rest of the recipe and instructions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/The-Lost-Castle-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe.
- Aveline wondered how luxuries of the heart such as love, marriage, and alliances could survive “when death remained such a cruel provocateur.” Who was able to find love despite war or death, and how?
- What was the connection between “La belle au bois dormant” the Sleeping Beauty legend (both the actual fairy tale and the story circulating about the real woman), the castle and Aveline (and even the woodcutter’s cottage)?
For the rest of the discussion questions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/The-Lost-Castle-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe.
Other books by Kristy Cambron include The Butterfly and the Violin (book one of the Hidden Masterpiece series), The Ringmaster’s Wife, A Sparrow in Terezin, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, and she is currently working on the next book in this Lost Castle Series.
Other similar Christian historical fiction romantic novels are Redeeming Love or Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers, The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin, Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain #1) by Joanne Bischof, and The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd.
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson is also set in France in a lavender field with an abandoned house being restored, and a new couple in love.
Divine Interruption by Amy Lyon is about new beginnings and new love despite difficult circumstances, including an ailing mother with Alzheimer’s.
“There was a princess once who’d been lost somewhere out in the fairy-tale wood. She disappeared. Never came back, and the castle was named for her—The Sleeping Beauty, because she wouldn’t tell her secrets. Just like the ruins.”
“The woods always have the same feel. The same smells and sounds. They never go away once they’re burned in our memory. I may not set eyes on the grove any longer, but it is still with me.”
“There’s a story there. Waiting for me. I can feel it. I can’t explain why; it’s just there in the silence.”
“I pray that God would never allow me to go back to who I was before—even to those few weeks ago. I must move forward. I don’t care if there’s no risk, all risk, or something in between. I still desire peace, and an end to this war. But sometimes, peace must be earned with the sacrifices of those willing to run into the fight, not away from it.”
“They’d been tossed together by a story and would be separated the same way.”
“She also loved in this place, and even if it was only for a short time, that time forever changed her. And if it’s succeeded, isn’t that what a story should do? Change us in some way?”
“The story we’re writing in this life, day by day, it’s a gift from God and we can’t afford to waste a moment of it.”