on 18 December 2002
This is definitely a change from Ms. Shinn's infamous angelic trilogy. It is much lighter and easier to read, filled with adventure and "fantasy creatures" known as 'aliora'. And of course,her usual touch of romance. Written through the eyes of a young girl, Corie, we witness her development from a young naive fourteen year old to an intellectual young lady. Her inner spirit and fire, as well her constant battles with conformity of the society, keep the story most enjoyable and pleasant. And not to forget her developing romance with a certain "king".
This story made me feel all warm-hearted, believing in the one true love each person is destined to find. It is definitely a good book to read when you want to relax, kick-back and dive into another world; to escape from cold reality...
on 23 December 2005
Having read some of Shinn's other novels (Wrapt in Crystal and two of the angelic series), I was expecting another of the same- a novel which is what I would describe as 'mind candy' (pleasant but insubstantial). What a nice surprise to find that this heroine is not the cookie cutter 'proud and independant woman who melts unwillingly' which has been Shinn's mainstay in other stories. The heroine is utterly believable, and very sympathetic. Only one thing stands between this book and five stars; the aliora. They themselves are not hugely well realised (here I am probably being a little harsh), and the way in which the main character's opinions of them change feels a little contrived. Other than that, it's a very diverting read.
I've been a fan of Sharon Shinn since I discovered her Samaria trilogy. She has a way of weaving a plot that it is utterly engrossing and full of surprises. Her characters are strong, her writing well described (but never overly done) and her plots interesting and involving.
Whenever I read a Sharon Shinn book, I tend to read with the expectation that I am going to enjoy myself. Therefore, I had no doubts about Summers at Castle Auburn - although I must confess that the book description was somewhat poor and didn't make the story sound terribly interesting.
It's difficult to summarize the plot of Summers at Castle Auburn, as to say much would be to spoil things. At its heart, it's a sort of romance meets coming of age story. The main character, Corie, tells of her summer visits to castle auburn. These initially are described as pleasant and enjoyable visits, but as Corie gets older and begins to lose her childhood innocence, she begins to see things and people in a different light.
Although there's not an incredible amount of conflict or action (though there is some towards the last 100 pages), I enjoyed reading Summers at Castle Auburn a great deal. The characters are very believable and it soon became easy to care about what happened to them.
There were some nice twists at the end, some of which made me really admire Sharon Shinn's storytelling. Some reviewers have commented that the aliora were not very well realized, and although this is true, I think their story is something that needs to be explored in another book.
If you're a fan of Sharon Shinn's other work, you'll certainly enjoy this one. I definitely recommend it.
on 7 June 2013
I could not help but love the heroine, and loved the gentle storytelling with some great twists and surprises, and the subtle romance. Not a fantasy book full of end-of-the-world-doom, or slaying, adventures or even magic, but very real characters in a realistic setting.