Tag Archives: castles

Review of The Darkling Bride

Lately, I’ve been thinking I should change the title of this blog to “In Love with the British Isles.” I do love England (isn’t it obvious?), of course, but I love so much more! In the past, I’ve tried to narrow down my topics to England, but I’ve decided to turn to Ireland a bit more recently, as a couple of delightful Irish books have come my way for review.

I just finished The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen. My life (like yours, I’m sure) has been busy and complicated, and finding time to read outside of my studies has been challenging. But I’m so glad I’ve had The Darkling Bride to turn to in my spare moments the past couple weeks, needing an escape from the neverending winter of Michigan.

book cover for The Darkling Bride

The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

First, let me ask, do you like myths, murder mysteries, family secrets, historical fiction, libraries, ghosts, and Irish castles with a side of romance? This fast-paced novel has all of that. With its multiple perspectives and multiple timeframes, you never feel stuck in this book; you’re just excited to read what happens next.

There’s quite a few interesting characters in the book: Carragh Ryan, the archivist from Boston; Aidan Gallagher, the conflicted heir to the Deeprath Castle and estate; Sibéal McKenna, the police detective trying to prove herself in a new department. And these are just the characters in the current timeframe. We also get to time travel back to the 1800s to learn the stories of Jenny Gallagher, whose secrets and tragic end still haunt the castle battlements, and of Aidan’s own parents, who were mysteriously killed when he was just a child.

And of course, we can’t forget the castle itself. This structure comes alive in the novel, with its many additions and renovations from across the centuries; it feels like another character, acting its own will on the people living within the stone walls. I especially loved reading about the library which was built into an ancient chapel. I imagined shelves upon shelves of dusty tomes lining the stained-glass bay windows, containing a millenium of stories—and secrets, as it turns out.

I also appreciated the theme of identity in the novel. Carragh, an Asian-American, was adopted into an Irish-American family living in Boston; she inherits her grandmother’s home in Ireland and is the only one in her family who really wants to hold onto this piece of history. Aidan, on the other hand, struggles to accept his family inheritance, wanting to escape his family identity. It makes for an interesting contrast in the book, providing additional tension to the already tense unfolding of the family mystery.

I would consider this a fun, need-to-escape-int0-a-story-without-having-to-think-too-hard kind of mystery book. I would definitely recommend it if you need a mental escape to an Irish castle with a badass library.  

Thanks to Ballantine and Random House for providing a copy of The Darkling Bride for review.

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Why Great Britain Is Great Infographic

There’s a reason why it’s called GREAT Britain: in my opinion, it should be called Fantastic Britain, but maybe I’m getting carried away. If you don’t believe me when I say there are millions of reasons to love the UK, then check out this awesome infographic from the CityBase Apartments blog. This lists only twenty reasons, but they’re some of the best! You can check out the original post here. Let me know in the comment section why YOU love Great Britain!

20 Reasons Why Great Britain Is Great

20 Reasons Why Great Britain Is Great

Original post on CityBase Apartments

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Top 25 Reasons to Love England

The reasons to love England seem limitless to me. I could go on and on about crumpets and Peter Rabbit and Harrod’s and Cranford and Fanny Price. I’ve discovered that many of my fellow Americans are Anglophiles just like me, and they have their lists of reasons why they love all things British as well. Over time, I’ve compiled the top 25 reasons why Americans love England. You can read the original articles here and here. In fact, the first article is what inspired this blog. So enjoy, and let me know what your favorite things about England are in the comments below!

25) the Royal Guard

What’s black, white, and red all over?

24) Afternoon Tea

Sugar and a splash of cream, please.

23) Castles

Who wouldn’t want to live in a stone-walled, tapestry-lined fortress with straw for carpets and a drawbridge for a driveway?

22) Gardens

The English Garden is apparently a place to be proposed to, to ramble aimlessly on dull afternoons, to escape from unwanted suitors…

21)Double Decker Buses

Let’s just hope they aren’t too top-heavy…

20) Oxford

Second oldest university in the world – quite inspiring.

19) Pubs

They come in pints?

18) Royal Weddings

Occasions for gravity-defying hats and bell-ringing celebration, brought to you live on the BBC.

17) Rain and Fog

The perfect backdrop to the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes or the ramblings of drunken Dickens characters.

16) London

The center of Anglophilia! Everything your heart has ever desired can be found along the banks of the Thames…

15) the Accent

When I get to England, I will wander the streets, talking to random strangers just to hear their accents.

14) the Queen

Revolution or no, Americans still hold a tiny love of royalty.

13) Prince William

No longer on the singles list…

12) History

From ancient stone henge to William the Conqueror to Henry VIII to the knights of the round table…

11) the Way of Life

Rolling countryside, church steeples, knitting by the fireplace, making fresh butter… (apparently, this isn’t true anymore, and I’m living in a dream world)

10) Food 

Bubble and squeak? Hot toddy? Bangers and mash?

9) the Thatched Roof

pure cuteness!

8) the Cars

I wouldn’t mind driving around in a Mini Cooper.

7) the Red Telephone Booth

We don’t even have telephone booths in America… just phones nailed to the concrete.

6) Bond, James Bond

Classy, smooth, debonaire… Sean Connery.

5) Humor

The British have this subtle sense of humor that Americans just don’t have, and often don’t get.

4) Simon 

Simon, television sucks without you.

3) Drama

The BBC has the answers to everything.

2) Music

Perhaps it’s the accent, but I think that Brits can simply sing better than Americans.

1) Literature

Number one! English literature is one of the best gifts to mankind from mankind. Shakespeare, Jane Austen, John Keats, Tennyson, C.S. Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro, etc. etc.

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