Castle 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.