Monday, 24 November 2014

The Chateau - Karen Aldous

About the book...
Can young hearts ease a restless spirit?

On the shores of stunning Lake Geneva, Gina Remy is celebrating her brother’s wedding – when the figure of a woman appears hovering above the water, beckoning to her. Ghostly visitations do not happen to Gina - a self-confessed control freak with her own successful property business, she prides herself on being level-headed. But as she is tormented by dreams and visions, her perfect life begins to unravel, and she knows she needs to help this ghost find peace if she’s to get any of her own!

Enter Ollie Martin, an Anglo-Swiss property developer who’s sexy as hell and knows it. His arrogance annoys Gina, but he’s the only one who will take her seriously… and the closer they come to understanding the quest the ghost has set for them, the closer they get to one another…

About the author...
Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland and Italy would be her favourite. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Karen's publisher Carina UK in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  I had previously read Karen's debut novel The Vineyard and loved everything about it from the cover, to the characters, plot and location - it truly was an indulgent read that merged reality with escapism in equal measures.  I loved it that much I couldn't wait to read Karen's next offering.

The Chateau is Karen's second book, another beautiful cover, so inviting it is impossible to resist.  I was sure that The Chateau would live up to my expectations and I wasn't disappointed - it was even better!

The Chateau is a story that has melded contemporary women's fiction with a mystery.  Gina is in Switzerland for her brothers wedding and finds herself having two unwelcome encounters.  The first from the arrogant, loud mouthed Ollie - cousin to the bride and the second in the form of a ghostly vision seen on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Far from having a relaxing few days in Switzerland, enjoying time with her family and her brother's wedding, Gina finds herself emotionally drained.  She begins to have vivid, dreams, well more like nightmares and is convinced that they are as a result of the vision she saw at the lake. A women who she feels is trying to tell her something and begins to lead her on a mysterious journey.  Then there was Ollie, who is loud, brash and embarrassing - yet Gina can't help but be drawn to him.  She knows she shouldn't get too close and uses her long term relationship with Max as a shield to hide behind whilst observing him from afar.  But, without meaning to, she finds him walking with her, side by side whilst she pursues 'the vision from the lake', just at a time when she needs a reliable, trustworthy friend.

The Vineyard was a fast paced novel that I found difficult to put down.  Each and every character necessary to the plot and wove between several threads with the story based in England, Switzerland and latterly Italy.  Karen's descriptions are so very vivid, I could clearly see and imagine the numerous locations, from the bright, airy, modern villas to the cold,dank chateau on the lake and the hotels in Venice.  Added to this Karen has developed characters that evoked feelings both good and bad, about characters I ended up really caring about. Even Max who is seemingly allergic to commitment and quite quickly things between him and Gina come to a head.  Though, nothing could prepare Gina for the ultimate showdown that sees Max in all his true colours.  He doesn't tell Gina lies as such, he just doesn't tell the truth, burying himself in his charity work to avoid the inevitable confrontation.  

This book demonstrates the power of love, trust, commitment and faith.  It emphasis the necessity for strong relationships in our life both with family and friends and sometimes it's right to go with our gut feelings, casting aside doubt to take a chance, allowing inner courage and faith to guide the way. I truly loved everything about this book and cannot wait for my next 'Karen Aldous' read.

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