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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining story set in the Black Forest in the early 1800s, 5 Mar. 2007
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Castle of the Wolf (Mass Market Paperback)
This story is a hugely enjoyable historical romance with a paranormal touch set in the Black Forest in Germany in the early 1800s. Woven through with references to fairy tales and with evocative writing about the surroundings of Castle of Wolfenbach, this is different from the usual historical romance of gowns, balls and peerages.

Celia Fussell's father Baron Hailstone has died and her life is going badly downhill. Her father was a noted academic and shared his interests with his daughter, but now that he is dead Celia looks likely to become a spinster sister to her brother and his awful wife. But then her father's Will is read and Celia discovers that she is now the owner of the Castle of Wolfenbach in the Black Forest - but only if she weds the former master of the castle within four months.

Celia, although initially seeming rather quiet and mousy, has an intrepid side and decides to go and claim her inheritance. After all, her father was good friends with the Graf von Wolfenbach, father of the man she is supposed to marry, and he's a very good man; surely his son will also be a worthy male? Celia has a long journey to her Castle, accompanied by a kindly widow Mrs Chisholm, but as she arrives she discovers that the castle has a bad reputation. It's falling into disrepair and her welcome is hardly warm. When she meets her intended, Fenris von Wolfenbach, he is a rude, dark and mysterious man and he does his best to drive her and Mrs Chisholm away. Why is he so bad-tempered and what caused the injury to give him a wooden leg?

When Fenris's brother Leo arrives things seem considerably brighter. He's a charming, friendly, open man, the complete opposite of his brother. But Celia is learning that things aren't always what they seem, that there is more going on in this family relationship than she originally thought, and that her life and the life of Fenris might be in danger. But can she help Fenris to thaw enough to work out how they can live together?

"Castle Of The Wolf" was an excellent read from start to finish. It was a real change to read a historical romance set in Germany rather than England and with such a shadowy hero - Fenris spends large parts of the book avoiding Celia. Celia is an excellent heroine as she finds her niche in life, becomes courageous and tries her best to help those around her. She has spent her youth reading fairy stories and some of these are woven into the story in a charming way. As in most good novels the characters learn more about themselves and each other and help each other to grow and put behind them bad experiences from the past; this is mainly happening to Fenris with Celia's help - Celia herself seems to have made the decision to grow up and take charge of her life at the beginning of the story and she then works at it with great success. She's a charming heroine who will appeal to most readers.

The story is strong on description, setting and the feel of a different country in a different time. The plot is simple and there's no real doubt as to who is the 'baddie' in this story, the fun is finding out how everything plays out and how our heroine and hero end up happy ever after.

Copyright © 2007 Helen Hancox for Curled Up With A Good Book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story original and bringing back childhood memories., 26 April 2009
This review is from: Castle of the Wolf (Mass Market Paperback)
The story is original and very funny in places, touching in others. Typical romance formula with a flawed hero, and a heroine who turns him around and saves him from himself. The way he tried to run her off is just hilarious and her responses even funnier. Finding out why he is the way he is, is touching. The Gothic element is the castle itself that has some spooky habits in defending itself and its inhabitants. Having grown up in the roots of the Ardennes, I can relate to the backdrop of the forest (black forest in this case) and the story reeks of the fairy tales we were brought up on before Disney got hold of them. Dark and Gothic. I loved the story but am not going to go into it too much as that would give too much away. It brought for me memories back, my move to the UK took me away from the Ardennes and I do miss it. I thought miss Schwab story telling was wonderful, the story flows without getting boring or predictable. I owned Miss Schwabs other books and when I saw this one I just had to have it and she does not disappoint.
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Castle of the Wolf
Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab (Mass Market Paperback - 1 May 2007)
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