Master of Castle Glen, by Ana Seymour

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Master of Castle Glen
is the first book I've read by author Ana Seymour.

In 1885 Scotland, a brash American is willed an ancient castle-and perhaps a chance at a love for the ages.

1885, Scotland. Duncan Campbell had never been to Scotland, but an obscure clause in a centuries-old will has been named master of Castle Glen. There, in the tiny highland hamlet of Glencolly, the brash American plans to modernize the castle's outdated ways--much to the dismay of Fionna MacLennan, the young widow of the castle's former owner.

Determined to find a way of overturning the will and returning the Castle Glen to her stepson, Fiona was unprepared for Duncan's bold attraction and the way he makes her feel. Duncan claimed that modernization was the only way to help the village of Glencolly, but can the clash between modern times and ancient traditions lead to a passion for the ages?
Master of Castle Glen was a pleasant, low-key read, but not particularly engaging, I'm afraid, which meant I put the book down way too many times. A C+.

I liked the characters well enough, especially Duncan. He's very much a businessman, not used to the life that he has to lead at the castle (there are some pretty funny scenes when he starts trying to ride a horse). And Fiona was ok, though I thought the most interesting thing about her was her somewhat ambivalent feelings about her late husband. Unfortunately, these two didn't really capture my imagination. I didn't get pissed off while reading about them (always good), but, on the other hand, they didn't provoke any strong feelings in the opposite direction, either. They're just... pleasant. And that's it.

I did like how the villains were not evil people out to do anything (anything, I tell you) to get their way. They're just men who are not averse to a little manipulation to get their way, but they're reasonable enough. The other important secondary character, Robby, however, didn't really work very well for me. He really felt at least 6 or 7 years younger than the 13 he was supposed to be.

The setup is interesting. There's nothing terribly new or unheard of here, but having the hero be the outsider who goes to Scotland is not the norm, and neither is having the book set in Victorian Scotland. One of the best things about this is the theme of the conflict between old ways and new, how a very traditional place is having to adapt to the modern world arriving. That was pretty well done. Fiona is, of course, completely against anything that would change the old ways, just as a good heroine always is, bleating on and on about how some jobs will be lost, even after Duncan explains that it's either lose some jobs or the mill going bankrupt and losing ALL the jobs, but at least I didn't get the feeling that the author was preaching some stupid simplistic philosophy. And the solution Duncan arrived to made sense.

Oh, I should mention the whole business about the ghost was pointless. I didn't think it really added anything to the story.


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