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Castle Barebane

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  16 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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Clover White
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Katie Boggs
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!
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!
Lisa Greer
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.
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
Creepy (n a good way) adventure story set in New York, London and Scotland in the 1880's.
Another fun Joan Aiken read. Not my favorite, but I'm still a fan.
Good historical fiction & thriller combined!
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Joan Delano 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 celebrating its 50th Anniversary with the publication of three brand new editions of the book and a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza.


More about Joan Aiken...
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1) Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2) Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3) Jane Fairfax Arabel's Raven (Arabel and Mortimer, #1)

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