REVIEW: Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab

Castle of the Wolf by Sandra SchwabCastle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab, copyright 2007. Castle of the Wolf has a lot going for it without opening the cover: It’s set in Germany and it’s a historical romance with a gothic feel to it without nary a vampire around. This is my first time reading Ms. Schwab but it won’t be the last. FWIW, this is her second novel. I have Lilly Brand in my TBR pile.

Celia Fussell is a 27 year old spinster living with her brother the Baron and his shrewish wife, Dorinda. Celia learns upon her father’s death that she has inherited a castle…and maybe it’s owner.  Her father didn’t have the money to give Cissy the proper London Season she needed to find a husband, so off to Baden, Germany she goes to start a new life with possibly a new husband. However, things don’t go as planned. Cissy’s journey from spinster to wife presents her with quite a few challenges of their own.

First, she inherits a castle that is old, decrepit and already occupied. That occupant is Fenris von Wolfenbach. Fenris is a recluse whose lived alone in his castle, deep in the Black Forests of Germany.  He has his share of demons to battle since joining the British army at age 19, to battle Napoleon that resulted in his family’s financial ruin and social downfall.  Needless to say he is quite angered at this new intrusion into his life and home. It’s a sore spot as to why the Wolfenbach’s lost their home to Celia’s father. Fenris especially feels ashamed to have been the culprit behind this transaction that took place years ago. The two meet and develop a healthy dislike for each other. Celia refuses to leave and Fenris refuses to welcome her into his home or his heart. There you have most of the conflict as Fenris spends more than half the book avoiding her. In time each reassess the other and delve beneath the surface to discover that there is more to it than meets the eye. Can the princess gentle the beast? You’ll have to read the book to find out.  Meanwhile, a third party threatens to take the Wolfenbach property if the stipulation of the will is not met within four months. So there you have it.

Enough about the plot, here are my thoughts on the story: I liked it. I think this author has a very interesting voice that would contribute well to the romance genre. The atmosphere of the story was well done and played a significant role in the story. The fairy-tale aspect of the story was charming. Interspersed throughout the story we see Celia reading romantic poetry. The setting was nicely done and different. How many historical romances are set in Germany? You can feel this otherworldly presence that seemed to have envelope and permeate the castle and it’s inhabitants, thereby, providing for it’s dark tone.  Along with decent characterizations with a somewhat, predictable and familiar plot made this a decent read for me . My grade, B.

About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade B Reviews, Romance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to REVIEW: Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab

  1. Kristie(J) says:

    I’m still waiting for this one to come out around here and it’s an April release! If it doesn’t appear on the shelves soon, it’s going to go on the order on-line list. The only reason it isn’t on there yet is that I just got a whole bunch and I have to get through some of them first. Glad to see you liked this one! I’ve read mixed reviews but I still want to read it.

  2. Thanks for reading and reviewing Castle of the Wolf, Keishon. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the journey into the Black Forest!

    Reading your review, I realized I’ve never explained what the Altertumsverein is supposed to be, have I? :blush: Duh. Definitely one of the pitfalls of inserting snippets from my mother tongue when writing in a second language …

    Anyways, I’m glad you liked Castle!

    Kristie, it’s a May release, actually, but still, it should be on the bookshelves by now. Hmmm. Will need to contact my editor about this. — It’s certainly been interesting to see that the novel got such mixed reviews (especially when I thought that I should be on the safe side this time: after all there are no evil stepmothers, no torture and no branding of the hero in this one! *g*).

  3. Nikky James says:

    I need to stop reading your blog. I swear you’re killing my wishlist. :silly:

    *adds another book to the list*

  4. Avid Reader says:

    Hey Kristie, hope you like it as much as I did.

    Hi Ms. Schwab, just what *is* Altertumsverein? :ermm: I loved the mix of German language in the story.

    Hey Nikky, welcome and hope you like it!

  5. An Altertumsverein is a history society. They were founded in all parts of Germany by people who became interested in local history and who wanted to preserve the knowledge about old costums, etc. The efforts of several societies eventually led to the founding of museums of local history. I took some liberties with the founding date of the Altertumsverein of Kirchwalden, as most of these societies came into being later in the century.

    But people in the early 19th century weren’t only interested in history, they were also interested in mythology and folk literature, which finds its expression in Castle of the Wolf in all these allusions to fairy tales and the fact that the fathers of the protagonists love medieval literature and mythology.

  6. jaq says:

    Kristie, I think you’re a Cannuck like me. It’s not in any of the Chapters-Indigo stores in the Toronto area. After scoping out several branches, I checked on availability through the in-store kiosk terminal. YOu’ll have to order it online.

    Keishon, off topic here, but I’ve ranked the Karen Rose books for you (finally. ::shame:: )

  7. Avid Reader says:

    Thanks Ms. Schwab for the info!

    Kristie, Jaq, I know how it feels to wait for books to show up in bookstores. Fustrating. Hope you both get your hands on it soon and let us know how you liked it.

  8. Tara Marie says:

    I read this over the weekend and blogged about it today. It was a nice Gothic romance, very entertaining, and really what more can we ask for?

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