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No Castle of Dreams by Marjorie McEvoy
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If you want to read a real Gothic and not just one advertised as a Gothic, then don't bother opening this book.  Outside of the fact that the Gothic elements are minimal, at best, the writing was poor (I can't say "outright atrocious" because I have read worse).

The synopsis: "A new job brought Christine the man of her dreams, but a closer look brought her a seemingly endless struggle for the real love of her life."

This was written in 1960 and the setting was in Cornwall so I expected so much better.  It is hard for me to comment on the accuracy of life's little details back then but I felt the plot was so contrived.

Why was this classified as a Gothic? Is it because of the castle located on an isolated island off the coast of Cornwall? If so, most of the story should have taken place there. Once the story moved away from this, it seemed to lose its direction.  Perhaps, the author had meant something different when she started out and the story just veered off out of her control.

Christine goes to the castle to nurse an elderly lady. While there, she meets and falls in love with the grandson, Neal, who is a musician.  His wife, Ann, an artist, "apparently" died somewhere.  Neal and Christine hastily fall in love and marry.  After the honeymoon, Christine discovers an old diary of Ann's, in which she describes the "madness" in the family and how she was desperate to get away, as well as some artwork. It was difficult to gauge Christine's reaction to what she read because it seemed to have little impact on her memory.  The author states that she was "feeling like Bluebeard's wife leaving the chamber of horrors".  I had to laugh because the descriptions of madness were: Neal has a fight with his manager and vows never to perform publicly again, his mother is in a nursing home with what sounds like dementia, and his grandmother is desperate to see a great grandchild before she dies. Oooh, that's so scary! Right after this, the couple have their first argument because Christine has another admirer. Neal then decides that he wants to suddenly take a trip, so he takes Christine to Paris, where she runs into a couple of artists and guess what? That's right, she meets Neal's "late" wife.  Of course, she doesn't realize any of this despite the fact that she is selling artwork with her initials on it and it matches the ones Christine found in the cellars of the castle.  Christine buys the artwork to surprise Neal and he throws a fit when he sees who the artist is.  Then he has to admit to Christine that his wife never died and he is in a bigamous marriage.  He refuses to release her because it would create a scandal for him and he had planned to start performing again.  Despite this, Christine manages to run away from him and tries to connect with her other admirer.  What a ridiculous plot.
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