Castle on the Rise (A Lost Castle Novel)

Written by Kristy Cambron
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Castle on the Rise follows three women in Ireland in different time periods. In 1797, Maeve, from English Protestant land-owning nobility, discovers an injured Irish pirate on her family’s land. While her father grieves the deaths of her mother and brother, Maeve heals, hires and falls in love with the rebel. In 1915, English protestant Issy takes her camera into the Easter Uprising in Dublin, joining the Irish insurgents who include her brother and the man she loves. In the present day, American Laine attends her best friend’s wedding and stays in Ireland to help her friend’s brother-in-law uncover the mysteries in the castle he has newly inherited.

Cambron has chosen settings of fascinating political, religious, and social conflict, yet the stories do not provide enough background or explanation of the complexities of the situations. The characters are interesting on the surface, but do not seem culturally or religiously realistic to their settings, making it difficult (for me) to understand why Protestant English landowners side with the Irish rebellion, without seeming to understand what that means to their landowning status. And why do the Irish rebels accept them—and their land-owning status? Still, there is much that could please fans of Cambron’s Lost Castle novels. Moving between the time periods keeps the action steady. The three stories are enlivened with conflict, sweetened with romance, and sprinkled with discussions of faith. This novel succeeds as a historical Christian romance but fails as a serious novel about the Irish struggle for independence.