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The Curiosity Cabinet

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  199 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
When Alys revisits the beautiful Hebridean island of Garve after an absence of twenty five years, she is captivated by the embroidered casket on display in her hotel. She discovers that it belongs to Donal, her childhood playmate, and soon they resume their old friendship. Interwoven with the story of their growing love, is the darker tale of Henrietta Dalrymple, kidnapped ...more
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published August 7th 2011 by Wordarts
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I would rate this 4.5 stars if I could. It was a lovely story, well two lovely stories, actually, equally well-told. The first is the story of Alys, a divorced mother from Edinburgh who revisits the small island Garve, off the Scottish highland coast where she summered as a child. There she encounters Donal, a man she had known when they were both children.

It is also the story of Henrietta, a 17th century woman, kidnapped and held captive on Garve.

Two of my friends have mentioned how much they
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On a cold, dark winter evening, it was lovely to be swept away, to a Hebridean island that Catherine Czerkawska named Garve:

"The island is full of flowers. Ashore, Alys knows that honeysuckle will clutter the hedgerows like clotted cream, weaving a dense tapestry with marching lines of purple foxgloves. Earlier in the year there would have been clumps of thrift, a wild rock garden defining all the bays. Later, meadowsweet will fill the hedges and ditches. But now there will be pink roses and ye

Valerie Laws
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally go for romance novels per se, but this one is a wonderful read. It entwines two love stories three hundred years apart, with events which seem to reflect each other as the narrative switches from one to the other story. In both, the characters are well drawn - not stereotypical romantic heroes and heroines who are boringly bland, but flawed human beings with strong feelings and life histories. Many reviews I've read use immages about tapestry, jewels, weaving, and this feeling o ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
ETA - This is my more considered review:

I need to come back with a more considered review, perhaps - all I can say at this stage is that I've had this on my Kindle app for a little while, I started reading it on a short train journey this morning, and found it so captivating that I couldn't wait for the journey home to read it some more. Then, since I've got home I've neglected my domestic duties to read it to the end. I just couldn't put it down.

The Curiosity Cabinet - C. Czerkawska
audio performance by Carolyn Bonnyman
4 stars

The cabinet of the title is a 300 year old embroidered chest. From the description, it sounded like an exquisitely decorated sewing basket with some equally fascinating contents. The basket serves as a loose link to the stories of two women on a fictional Hebridean island. There are two, parallel, love stories, one contemporary and one historical. A few circumstantial similarities link the two female protagonists,
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Romance novels are not my genre but while this could be called an historical romance novel I found it to be much more. The story centers on two women who live 300 years apart but whose daily lives, and family values and issues are intertwined despite the differences in their surroundings. The historical aspects of Henrietta's life on a desolate Scottish island is fascinating as is the modern day description of the same. The small doses of romance are there but the emotional climate of the charac ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Catherine Czerkawska's tale of a recent widow and her mysterious connection to a 17th-century portrait of a young girl.

With Grace Glover, Mary Riggans, John Sheddon and Stella Forge.
Kris McCracken
A good little read, billed as a 'romance', but more a period piece with romantic interludes. It's a gentle novel, and a worthwhile distraction.
Kathleen Jones
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like well-written romantic fiction with a happy ending, hunky heroes, spectacular scenery and a historical backdrop, then you can’t do better than Catherine Czerkawska’s Curiosity Cabinet.

The cabinet in question is on display in a hotel on Garve - one of Scotland’s more remote islands where Gaelic is still spoken and the distant past still feels relatively recent. No one knows where the cabinet and its intriguing contents have come from, but Alys - desperately looking for tranquility whil
Jo Barton
May 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Alys returns to the Hebridean island of Garve she feels comforted by the strength of her childhood memories, of holidays spent exploring rock pools, and the feel of the silvery white sand between her toes. Re-discovering fragments of herself, she sets out to search for the secret of a beautiful embroidered cabinet which is on display in her hotel. Her curiosity is encouraged by the deepening friendship with her childhood friend, Donal, who has remained on the island, and who is the guardian ...more
Chris Longmuir
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I can honestly say this is the best book I have read this year, which is somewhat surprising as my reading preferences are dark crime, and this certainly didn't fit into that category. I loved the intertwined love stories, one set in the present and the other in the seventeenth century. Alys returns to the island of Garve where she holidayed as a child, and immediately falls under it's spell as well as that of Donal her childhood friend. While Henrietta is kidnapped and taken to the isla ...more
Elizabeth Krall
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this novel over one weekend in Sydney, and was transported from a wet and windy Australian winter to the turquoise waters and wildflower scents of the Hebrides. It caught my attention because, like my own novel, this is a love story set primarily on one of the Hebridean Islands; or rather, it is two love stories, for Cabinet of Curiosities is a novel of dual storylines. It’s one of the rare good ones in which you become so absorbed in one story that you have forgotten the other, and feel ...more
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, Two love stories set centuries apart on the island of Garve, connected by an unusual embroidered box full of treasures gathered from the island and carried down the years by the McNeills the clan belonging to the place.
The story is fairly gentle to start with, but as you get to know Alys and Henrietta and their situations it all of a sudden comes to life!
A heartwarming, gentle story abut two completely different women and their experiences of the island.
It finished fa
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A nice dual timelined story weaving old and modern stories of island life in the Scottish highlands. It was extremely predictable but this didn't detract from the tale. An easy read, good escapist stuff and a counter-relief to the highbrow literary fiction I read just before this. Not for everyone and possibly might not have read it if it hadn't been free recently.

A good read, nothing like some old fashioned historical fiction to recover from a heavy going previous read! On that basis 4*, kept m
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a dam good read. The setting is well described and I personally know the places! Many words and events evoked discussion with my spouse which both of us did not really care for! This remark is about the 'hero's' background as described in book!
We have done the tatties years ago and it is backbreaking!
Fabulous love story best I have read in a long time!
I swear I could smell the smells in the book
Kathy Hall
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me away to Scotland and the mystical island of Garve through a historical perspective and a modern day romance. Catherine Czerkawska weaves the two stories together so that they are intimately connected and so is the reader.

I love the way Czerkawska puts a sentence together. I was stuck several times by the sheer beauty of her writing. I would deem this a must-read for anyone who loves both historical romance and adventure in faraway places.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Lesson #1: before downloading a free book, always read the description carefully, it will save you some precious time.

After reading the first few chapters I realized this book really wasn't for me. It is not badly written at all and the characters were all right, it's just that I don't enjoy reading books such as this one.

I was about to give the book one star but since it's a mistake on my part (for picking up the book in the first place) I think I will give it a two-star rating;)
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A bittersweet story

This well written novel contains dual stories about two very different couples tied together by a single place. Both contemporary and historical, the scene is (mostly) set on one of Scotland's sparsely populated outer islands. This is not one of your run-of-the-mill Scottish highlander romances, with poorly written brogue dialect passing as dialogue; rather it contains bits of Gaelic poetry that sings. Read this book. I think you will be enthralled.
My first encounter with this author and I hope it won't be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed The Curiosity Cabinet which combined two love stories set 300 years apart with some mild intrigue and beautifully described scenery. I loved all the characters and loved the synchronicity between the present day story and the past.
Aunty Janet
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Two stories run in parallel, one in a past time and one modern. Both stories are set on the same Scottish island and both stories weave around unconventional romances; the cabinet features in both stories, linking the two.
I enjoyed the characters and enjoyed the descriptions of the setting. The ending has no big surprises, but is satisfying none the less.
Jenny Housley
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story beautifully written. This is the first book I have read by this author and I am really impressed. Catherine really knows how to create a setting. I was sad to finish this book and leave the characters and wonderful setting but next day I had moved on to another of her books which is very different but just as good.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book, it's my favorite kind of past and present story lines happening within one story. I was loving the book until the end. I so wanted a very profound culmination between the cabinet and the love stories of the couples in the book, but for me it just was lacking in that way. It was a nice story to read though, just not as compelling as I was hoping.
Diane Challenor
Abandoned! I abandoned this book because it was not a genre that I appreciate. I didn't give it much of a chance, only about six chapters. It was shaping up to be a romantic tale, and not for me. Too many other books waiting for me.
Cath Smith
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this one down. The two love stories, three centuries apart but inextricably intertwined, are captivating. The writing is beautifully descriptive and transports one to the island upon which the majority of the book is set. It made me want to go there!
Catherine Byrne
I enjoyed this. An easy read for bedtime, though at times I couldn't unserstand the heroin's motives. I would have preferred a little more insight into her thoughts and feelings. Otherwise i would recommend it.
Alternating stories of past and present coming together at the end make this a nice, light read.
Strange thing is that I felt like I've read this book. It was published in 2005, so it's hard to believe I would so completely forget about it, but the story was so familiar it was a bit odd reading it.
✿Claire✿ (Tiny Owl)
I found this slow going for the first chapter or so and then suddenly, it picked up pace and I was swept along. I particularly enjoyed the story of Henrietta, more so than Alys and I loved the descriptions of the islands and the people.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel set on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Two stories which are entwined, one set in the 17th century and the present day.This novel is well written and the characters are superb. 5*
Ozone-nut/ Zoe
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved it, I was transported to the island, both the present and past stories were magical and believable. Took me ages to read as I had the kindle version on my iPad and don't resort to e-reading unless there is no alternative. If I'd had the paper version I probably would have read it in a day.
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I’m an award winning novelist, non-fiction and short story writer and an experienced professional playwright. I write warm, intelligent and very grown-up stories - some historical, some contemporary and some a mixture of both. I have more than 100 hours of BBC radio drama to my name as well as many theatre productions.

My recent fiction includes The Physic Garden, a Scottish historical novel about
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