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Castle Barebane

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  96 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
As Val searches for her brother in nineteenth-century London and Scotland, she encounters danger, terror, and tragedy beyond anything she had expected.
Published (first published January 1st 1978)
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I've given this excellent novel 4 and 1/2 stars.

Joan Aiken is a master of creating a gothic atmosphere for her heroine in much distress as she deftly negotiates her way through many dangers and drama - a whole lot of drama if you're in that kind of mood.

Joan and her sister,Jane Aiken Hodge were popular authors back in the 1960's and 70's and I devoured every one of their books I could get my hands on. Sadly, after the advent of the racy, bodice ripper during the 70's the sister's books went ou
Clover White
Jun 23, 2011 Clover White rated it really liked it
This novel was much more complex than the typical Gothic romance. Once I really got into the book, it was hard to stop. I don't know exactly when this novel is set, but I think the late 1800s. It follows a NYC woman journalist who goes to London to care for her half-brother's children, whom she has never met. When she arrives in London, she cannot find the family. Her search for them, and her subsequent time spent in Scotland, makes for interesting reading. This book does NOT tie up all the loos ...more
Christine Honsinger
I just loved this book...Joan Aiken's writing style is superb, and sometimes I would just stop and re-read entire paragraphs or sentences over and over and jot them down in my journal...wonderful prose. I think this novel is really a step above the normal gothic suspense book in many ways, including the fact that it ended more realistically than most, which, truthfully, I was sorry for, because I love me a big happy ending, lol. Ah well, as a story teller, Aiken is right up there, and I will con ...more
Apr 23, 2009 Rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on the shelf in the library, in so fragile a condition that they may retire it when I bring it back.

Joan Aiken's novels always make me smile. This one starts in Victorian New York (but apparently will soon move over to London). Our heroine, Val Montgomery, is a modern thinker, an idealist, a professional journalist (freelance, I think), and engaged to be married to a New York gentleman of society. I smell trouble from her in-laws-to-be, they are already pressuring her to give u
Jul 29, 2011 Booklady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first of Aiken's books that I've read. I liked it! She hails from a family of writers and tells an interviewer in one account that coming from a family of writers is why she if she has no choice about the matter. This is a gothic romance and I discovered after I'd read it that it was indeed a Harlequin or something like that, but well done, at any rate. It tells of a young woman journalist, a rarity in mid-nineteenth century history and that makes it all the more interes ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Aiken does an update on the Jane Eyre trope here, and does it very well. A clever story set in 1880s New York and Scotland, with a strong-willed, plain heroine who makes her living as a journalist. She ends up caring for her ne'er do well brother's children in a crumbling castle in Scotland, where tragedy, menace and gloom abound. Aiken offers a most unusual solution to the Ripper murders here - I won't give it away, but the final scenes of the novel are horrifying and come as a total surpr ...more
Dec 29, 2009 Anne rated it did not like it
I had a strange sense of de ja vu upon realizing that I'd read this book before, but then and even stranger feeling when I only recognized the first couple pages. I'm afraid that it wasn't worth a second read. I've read other works by Joan Aiken and enjoyed them, but this read too much like a paperback romance.
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, abandoned
Well-written opening, as a newly engaged girl realises how unfitted she is to be part of her fiancé's family. An urgent message takes her to the UK... and it becomes clear that the book is going to take an unpleasant turn, so I read the final chapter and was glad I hadn't bothered with the rest.
Katie Boggs
Jul 18, 2011 Katie Boggs rated it liked it
An entertaining story, despite its tendency to meander through far too many sub-plots and details. The conclusion was too contrived to match the rest of the story...but overall, it kept me engaged and turning pages!
Oct 25, 2010 scarlettraces rated it really liked it
possibly not Aiken's best, but her prose style can't be beat. it's also interesting, given the revolting adults who populate her children's books, to read a heroine who doesn't much like her young charges--not to mention what happens to Janny.
Dec 15, 2007 rivka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I definitely read it. I may even own it.

I have a vague memory that it was ok but not great, but can't really remember it.
Bea Alden
Jul 16, 2008 Bea Alden rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic-romance
Creepy (n a good way) adventure story set in New York, London and Scotland in the 1880's.
Aug 26, 2013 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, england
What a great story! Part thriller, part mystery. Excellent prose and style as is to be expected from Aiken. Not actualy gothic as some have said. Way too recent yall!
Dec 30, 2009 Dana rated it really liked it
Good historical fiction & thriller combined!
Lisa Greer
May 29, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it did not like it
Shelves: gothic-mystery
In my quest to read more gothics, I'm trying this one out. I enjoyed one of Aiken's works in the past, but I don't know how this one will pan out.
Zarina Silverman
Zarina Silverman rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2015
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Oct 12, 2011
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Nov 09, 2013
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Nov 02, 2012
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Feb 21, 2017
Mary rated it liked it
Jan 30, 2015
Roswitha rated it it was ok
Jan 21, 2013
Sabrina rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2016
KLMeri rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2013
Erin rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2011
Lee rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2007
Rosie rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2010
catastrophegirl rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2008
Katherine rated it it was ok
Nov 02, 2016
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
NEW COLLECTION 2016 - The People in The Castle https://www.goodread
More about Joan Aiken...

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