Daughters of Castle Deverill

Written by Santa Montefiore
Review by Joanna Galloway

This is the second novel in the Deverill Chronicles trilogy and the follow-up to the bestselling Songs of Love and War. Set at ruined Castle Deverill in the west of Ireland and the Deverill family homes in England, the novel picks up the story in 1925. The war is over, but turmoil continues for the family so that even the ghosts are worried.

Celia remembers with great affection, childhood summers spent at the castle. With her husband, she buys it from her uncle in order to restore its former glory. Yet she wants it to be far better than it was and needs a never ending supply of money, at a time when the financial markets are beginning to shake.

Her cousins Kitty and Harry have their own problems: Kitty is bringing up her father’s illegitimate son, and her whole world is threatened when his mother Bridie wants him back. Harry’s secret love affair may cost him not only his wife and family, but also his reputation. Woven through the story of the Deverill family are the lives of their childhood friends: siblings Bridget and Michael Doyle, who are now their bitter enemies, and Jack O’Leary, who carries Kitty’s heart.

Through the many tragedies and tribulations that beset the family, through the revelations of dark secrets, the plot touches upon many significant issues of the time. This is no bodice-ripper, and the characters are more nuanced than the simplistic good and evil sometimes found in romantic fiction. It is an entertaining read, easy to get lost in on a wet afternoon. Montefiore carries the reader with skill through thirteen painful yet endearing years, towards an ending which is satisfying but gives sufficient hints of the next instalment to whet the appetite. I look forward to it.