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Castle on the Rhine by Caroline Farr

Castle on the Rhine

by Caroline Farr

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Castle on the Rhine
by Caroline Farr
Signet, 1979
ISBN 0-451-08615-5 (paperback), 170 p.

Review date: Apr 2016

Last fall, I happened across a Signet double gothic, which contained two works by Caroline Farr. I read and reviewed both works in my entry for that book, giving the collection a whole 1½ stars. I wrote at the end that "I'd like to give the Caroline Farr line of gothics another try or two at some point, just to increase my sample size, but they're not anything I'm going to go out of my way to get my hands on." Well, I recently happened across more of Farr's work and decided to see if it was any better than either of the two I'd already read. It wasn't.

1977's Castle on the Rhine is really more of a political spy thriller than a gothic romance. Yes, it has a castle, and yes it has a damsel in distress—but she spends only one night there, a prisoner of a small cabal who mistakenly believe she knows about their plans. Yes, it even has something that one might call romance—proclamations of love between the heroine and her dinner date turned fellow captive—but that happens after only a few hours of knowing each other, and I prefer to chalk it up to the adrenaline rush of their captivity and attempts to escape.

A slim volume of 50,000 words that rush by quickly, Castle on the Rhine is about the same length as many of the original James Bond books, and is a fine bit of mindless reading on a lazy afternoon, but even as a political spy thriller, it's just too short and simple—at least for today's audiences, with their expectations of probably twice the word count and definitely more character development. In comparison to the other Caroline Farr books I've read, though, it seems on par, similar to The Secret of the Chateau (1967), and deserving of the same 1½ stars.



1½ stars: Points for effort, but the work is less than satisfactory. There may be serious technical errors (spelling, punctuation, grammar, typography, layout, etc). Fiction and poetry conventions may be seriously flawed. For nonfiction, information may be poorly presented or incorrect. A 1½-star work has many of the problems of works rated with only one star, but wasn't quite as bad as many of those one-star works—yet it certainly wasn't deserving of two-star status. On a school scale, this would be a 'C–' grade, or slightly below average. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Apr 27, 2016 |
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