- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Glenapp Castle is an enthralling tale of intrigue and suspense. Set against the stunning backdrop of Scotland's craggy southwestern coast, this is a story of a love lost and found, a truth kept and revealed, and a house long forgotten but suddenly brought back to life.
Posted April 4, 2010
What better setting for a ghostly tale of love, loss and murder than a Victorian Castle on Scotland's shore? Glenapp Castle is told from several points of view, particularly those of Tom Hutcheson and Andrew and Eva Campbell. As the story opens, Eva and Andrew have purchased the run-down, dilapidated, burned-out ruin of a castle with plans for refurbishing it and opening a hotel there. They hire a reluctant Tom Hutcheson to revive the castle gardens with no knowledge of the history of Glenapp Castle. or Tom's role in that history. With each chapter, the story shifts between narrators. and between past and present. slowly unveiling the grim history of Glenapp as it relates to the present day and the ghosts therein. In the hands of a lesser writer, this round-robin approach to the narrative would very likely have resulted in a choppy and disjointed story line. But Rosenberg masterfully blends points of view with past and present so seamlessly that I barely noticed the transitions.
The best character in this novel by far is Tom Hutcheson. The reader follows Tom as he grows up in the servant's quarters at Glenapp (the son of a former maid), falls in love, wins a curling championship, endures tragedy, and witnesses the crimes of the castle's utterly soulless previous owner, Sir John McPhee. Tom's story is at once heartbreaking and enthralling. and it is through his eyes that we learn the history of evil at Glenapp: events that ultimately lead to murder.
In the present, Eva and Andrew Campbell renovate and revive Glenapp Castle in every way. Unable to bear children of their own, they find themselves legal guardians of Issie, a vivacious little girl whose mother (Andrew's cousin) is killed in a car crash. Andrew, a skeptic, is shocked to learn that people in this modern day and age actually believe that Glenapp Castle is haunted. Their story largely follows Andrew's unwilling transition from skeptic to believer as well as Eva's awkward transition from a life with no hope of children to that of unexpected motherhood. All are startled to learn that even Issie's biological father has shadowy ties to Glenapp's past. As the Campbell's interest in their castle's history grows, their story merges with Tom's to paint a complete picture of Glenapp Castle and it's inhabitants. both living and dead. Toss in a colorful cast of supporting characters (my favorite amongst those being Andrew's clairvoyant mother) and you've got one heck of a supernatural page-turner! Rosenberg also does an admirable job of weaving traditional Scottish folklore into the story. (Never, EVER build your home in the path of a fairy trail!)
For all of its extraordinary strengths, Glenapp Castle does have a few weaknesses. Some of the characters who play large parts in the castle's initial story of betrayal and murder just sort of get dropped from the ranks without much explanation for what becomes of them. The resolution of the ghost story within the story is disappointingly anti-climactic. The story's villain, Sir John McPhee, is so completely depraved and disgusting a human being that he comes off a bit one-dimensional. And for all my admiration of Rosenberg and her efforts here, I must admit that she lost me a little when one of the later chapters was narrated by the family dog. All of that aside, I can readily forgive those little flaws in exchange for a ripping good read. I can unhesitatingly recommend this book to my friends.
Posted March 23, 2010
Glenapp Castle: A Scottish Intrigue is a book I didn't want to put down. The characters are engaging and the plot is a page-turner. Tina Rosenberg writes like an artist painting a scene. Her descriptions of the castle gardens and Scottish landscape are poetic. And, I learned all about Curling - a fascinating sport. I've already recommended it to my two book clubs and writing group. A great read - can't wait for the sequel!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.