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Keys to the Castle

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  650 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
The author of the Ladybug Farm series delivers an exhilarating new novel of a middle-aged woman who follows her heart to love and happiness.
When a dashing French poet swept forty-something workaholic Sara Graves off her feet, she did something completely unexpected: She married him. Then three weeks later he died, leaving her a house she can't afford to keep in a country
ebook, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Berkley Books (first published October 28th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,297)
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Nov 24, 2011 Katie(babs) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m dismayed there aren’t more romances written with an older main couple. It seems most love stories with a man and a woman over forty are delegated to second story status. What grabbed me about Donna Ball's Keys to the Castle is that the hero and heroine are over forty-five. Also, Donna, known as Donna Boyd, who wrote The Passion, (one of my favorite all-time books) is an excellent story teller. This is proven perfectly with Keys to the Castle, an endearing romance that has a nice chick-lit bu ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)

Keys to the Castle is a modern fairy tale complete with happily every after. Donna Ball has written a fun story featuring a middle aged heroin.

Sara Graves met and married Daniel, a dashing French poet, only to have him die three weeks later. A year later Sara must travel to France to settle Daniel’s estate. When she arrives she finds that the broken down castle Daniel talked about is in reality a estate. Chateau Rondelais, the castle, needs a lot of work but is Sara is soon charmed with the loc
Jan 02, 2011 Bookaholics rated it really liked it
Keys to the Castle by Donna Ball
Contemporary Romance - Jan 4th, 2011
4 stars

Sara Graves is widowed three weeks after her whirlwind marriage to the charming, romantic Daniel Orsay. After his death, she realized that she barely knew anything about him or his life back in France. The only thing he left her is an estate in Loire Valley. Sara travels to France, hoping to sell the house, only to realize that it is a real-life chateaux that comes complete with a huge amount of overdue property tax and e
Nov 08, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Keys to the Castle is the newest contemporary romance novel by Donna Ball, who is not only prolific under this pseudonym but under several others as well including Donna Boyd, Donna Carlisle, Rebecca Flanders and more.

Keys to the Castle is about two of what I call "hoity-toity" middle-aged aristocratic characters who unexpectedly find love under the most unusual and melodramatic circumstances. Sara Graves is the recent widow of an artistic, bohemian French-man who leaves behind a magnificent (an
CoffeeTimeRomance andMore
This story really was one I could identify with. Sara is a middle-aged workaholic who suddenly needs to change her life. She has spent her life taking care of her family and is now trying to take care of herself after losing what she thought was the love of her life. She goes to France just wanting to get rid of her legacy and ends up embracing it. The author has done a phenomenal job of telling Sara and Ash’s story. Her descriptions of Chateau Rondelais and the book’s characters are beautifully ...more
Feb 15, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far fetched, frivolous and FUN! It reads a bit like a Lifetime movie script, only better written. It is predictable with some surprising twists; just enough to keep you guessing a little. This is most girl's dream....unexpectedly inherit a castle in France, fall in love with a wealthy, handsome English man and live happily ever after. It was just what I needed in the dead of winter. Not good literature, but a great escape. "Calgon, take me away!"
Jan 28, 2014 Micki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Being transported to the French countryside. A great love story.. Just a great book.
Apr 03, 2015 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Keys to the Castle had an intriguing story line, but there were a few hiccups:

1) I found the bad language unnecessary and off putting. It detracted from the characters and the story.

2) There were a couple typos that interrupted the flow of the novel as I tried to figure out what the author was communicating.

3) The author presents some big heavy stuff, then sweeps it under the rug and presents a too perfect and completely unrealistic fairy tale ending wrapped in a sparkly bow.

Otherwise it was an
Bookworm LLC
Jul 19, 2013 Bookworm LLC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judy-bookshelf
Here's a great escape from the winter blues. Take a vacation in France without getting out of your armchair.
Ann Keller
Oct 14, 2012 Ann Keller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Sara Graves is still struggling to come to terms with the death of her new husband, when an invitation arrives for her to go to France to settle her husband’s estate. Daniel was a talented poet, but she never realized he was also part owner of a 400-year-old crumbling castle in the beautiful Loire Valley!

Sara is intrigued by the secrets of Chateau Rondelais. Its immense polished marble halls and magnificent chandeliers hide the tarnished silver ornamentation and faded wallpaper well. The gardens
Judy Iliff
Aug 02, 2011 Judy Iliff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Keys to the Castle is by the same author of the Ladybug Farms books. While I enjoyed Keys, I didn't think it was as good as LBF, and maybe because Keys was really more of a romance (but not the bodice-ripping kind) than a story of friendship. Bell does have a definite talent for writing descriptions. It was easy to get lost in the description of the chalet and French countryside.

At an age when she thought she'd accomplished all her goals, Sara Graves meets a poet from France. She is literally sw
Sara Graves was a forty-something year old workaholic when she met Daniel, a French poet. They married at settled on St. John Island, North Carolina. I want to go there; I'm in love with islands. Back to the book. Sara is deeply in love with Daniel, but three weeks after their marriage he dies in a tragic accident. He leaves her a 400 year old castle in the Loire Valley. I also want to go there. It's in France the estate is called Chateau Rondelais. Sara falls in love with it, and with the Danie ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Athena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Sara Graves, recently widowed, is at a crossroads in her life. She inherits property in France from her husband and travels to see the property and what her options are. She gets along well with Ash Lindeman, the attorney handling her inheritance, and later on finds that her husband was not completely honest with her during their brief marriage.

I was going to give this book 2 stars because the actual dialogue between the characters, got annoying, but the author described France, the castle, an
Jan 24, 2013 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2012 Phair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
3.5 stars. A sweet, engrossing book. Main characters are slightly older which I like and the descriptions of the French countryside and the chateau were vivid. I am currently finishing up an audio book of a contemporary romance [why?? I keep asking myself- because it was there- and once begun I see it through] which has 7 discs. The couple were "at it" by disc one and once or twice with increasing anatomical play-by-play on every disc thereafter. Give it a rest!! This book was refreshingly "dis ...more
May 10, 2011 Lizz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I reaaaaaly hate to give a book a 2 star rating... I really do. This book, while totally fanciful in nature, isn't a bad book.... I just absolutely HATED the male lead. Hard to really enjoy a book when what you really want to do is thwonk the leading man upside his head with said book. I don't find workaholics at all charming. I am married to one. I know all too well about the phone always glued to the ear, the reading of e-mails while ostensibly talking to you, the lack of ability to e ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Guna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Another great book by Donna Ball. A high-powered executive marries a dashing Frenchman, and is deliriously happy for 3 weeks. Then he dies. Sara needs to travel to France to settle his affairs, and finds more than she expected.
Nina Afremov
This very much reminded me of Nicholas Sparks, only more cheesy. What I loved about, though, is it was a feel good book and the ending left me with this wonderful feeling of realization and love.
Nicole Prestin
Aug 10, 2011 Nicole Prestin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Cute, mindless and completely disposable fluff that was competently written and didn't make me roll my eyes or toss the book over my shoulder in disgust, as a lot of books in this genre do. It does get a bit too saccharine by the end though. And while I thought it was cool that the romantic pair was a woman in her late forties and a man in his early fifties, I was sort of dismayed that this novel followed the standard, formulaic path of having a kid (in this case adopted) to moon over will give ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable, quick read. A love story on many different levels.
Amy Siegfried
Nice romance story. A bit of a fairy tale but sometimes that is what is needed in life.
Jan 30, 2011 Sheri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about unrealistic!! But , that was mainly its charm. A real to life fairy tale when a woman married only a few weeks when her husband dies in an accident, inherits a castle (yes, I said castle) in France. Of course, it's hundreds of years old and partly falling down, but if it wasn't, then the book would be boring, right? She gets along, not one iota, with the executer of the castle...and you know where it goes from there. Just a little too predictable, but a fun read and cute and a great ...more
Pattye Nicolls
Really a 2.5. Nice escapism
May 15, 2016 Belita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Beach read
Dec 10, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
light, fun fiction!
Jun 27, 2011 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
Cute, sweet summer chick-lit read. Along the same lines as the author's Ladybug Farm series. Recently widowed after a whirlwind courtship and marriage to a French poet, Sara is stunned to find she owns most of a crumbling "castle" chateau in France but soon finds herself enchanted by the place and wanting to restiore it. Complicating things is her attraction to her late husband's lawyer and best friend and a her growing devotion young girl that may be her late-husband's illegitimate daughter.
Jul 03, 2011 Mackenzie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought this would be such a predictable story. But actually it was quite different from what I expected. I thought it was a charming story about an American woman who didn't seem to have her life together. She married a man for 3 weeks until he was killed in a car crash. The story starts after the crash when she hurries to France to find out her husband was not only poor but had a "castle." Next enters his lawyer, and a precious child. This story has many twists and turns. Loved it!
Donna Jo Atwood
What a fun romance--the hero and heroine are in their forties. He English,she's American, but is the widow of a French poet, who died after three weeks of marriage, leaving her the family chateau. Quelle shock!
This had some charming and amusing characters, some unreal situations, and some places requiring leaps of faith, but it was worth it. Donna Ball wrote the perfect book for me to read this afternoon.
American widow inherits castle in France, verbal sparring and then romance with dead husband's best friend, an English lawyer. Romance, Castles & France, a pretty good combination. This was a quick, easily predictable, enjoyable read. Good for an airplane trip. I did have a hard time believing the main characters were in their late 40s. They just didn't come across that way for me.
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