Firstly, I must thank F. C. Malby for her patience as she sent me a copy of her first novel ‘Take Me to the Castle’ several months ago and I have only just got round to reviewing it. Set in the Czech Republic in the aftermath of the collapse of communism, ‘Take Me to the Castle’ tells the story of a young woman called Jana and how the tumultuous political changes in her home country are affecting her life following the recent death of her dissident father. Much of the story also focuses on a love triangle between Jana and her two potential suitors, Milos and Lukas.
I personally don’t know a great deal about the recent history of the Czech Republic so I really enjoyed how the author’s extensive knowledge of the country brought the characters to life and made their experiences convincing. In particular, the sense of fear and uncertainty following the Velvet Revolution was very believable. The story jumps back and forth in time a lot in the beginning but overall, it is very well structured and quite pacy particularly in the second half. However, while I found the ending surprising, I also thought it was a little too convenient and sudden. Given that Jana is such a strong character, it would have been more satisfying to see her in a situation where she was able to make her own choices and not have decisions made for her.
Overall, ‘Take Me to the Castle’ is a compelling novel with a strong sense of setting. You can find out more about F. C. Malby and her work on her website.