Nine year old Kitty Deverill sees ghosts, specifically her cursed ancestor, Burton Deverill. Unwanted and unloved by her mother, Kitty passes her days under the guidance of a stern governess, and takes great joy in her friendship with the cook’s daughter, Bridie Doyle, and their friend, Jack, son of the local veterinarian. Years pass and World War I begins, changing Kitty’s family and day to day life in many ways. Things will never be the same, but Kitty has yet to discover that.
The War ends, but the conflict between Ireland and England escalates, putting Kitty’s British family at the center of anti-British sentiments. Kitty’s strength and resolve are sorely tested, but her love for Ireland, her home, remains the foundation of her life, the core of her existence. In the meantime, Bridie’s life takes a drastic turn, then yet another, taking her far away from her beloved home and those she loves most. Jack is swept up in the Irish Independence movement, an involvement that will change the course of his life, and Kitty’s as well.
Years pass and life goes on. Kitty and Bridie have both been away from the land they call home, and as each woman makes her way back to Ireland, they learn the fate of those they love and care for, including Jack. Kitty’s family has experienced great loss, while Bridie’s fortunes have changed quite dramatically. “You can’t go home again” could well be the phrase that describes the post-war years for the childhood friends, yet their roots extend deep, grounding them firmly in the hills of Ireland.
The Girl in the Castle is the first in author Santa Montefiore’s series “The Deverril Chronicles.” Part historical romance, part family saga, the story doesn’t quite settle into either niche, but that’s okay—the cast of characters is broad and interesting, and the location and timeframe couldn’t be any better. Irish history is rich and compelling, and the Deverill family brings that history to life on the page, from prosperity to poverty, the fight for Ireland’s independence from England, and the changing social norms of post-World War I Europe and America. Many ends are left dangling, promising lots to come in this absolutely delicious series!