Book Review: Castle on the Rise

For more than 800 years, the relationship between England and Ireland was held in a tenuous balance. The English Parliament and Crown felt that Ireland could not and should not be independent of England:

Ireland is too great to be unconnected with us, and too near us to be dependent on a foreign state, and too little to be independent. ~C.T. Grenville, the Duke of Rutland, 3 December 1784.

However, many Irish citizens thought differently. Starting in 1534, the Irish began opposing English claims on their land and demanding sovereignty. Conflicts continued for more than 250 years.

Then, 14 years after the Duke of Rutland uttered his condescending words, the Irish Rebellion of 1798 erupted. Inspired by both the American Revolution and the French Revolution, the Society of United Irishmen, dedicated to the pursuit of a republican form of government in a separate and independent Ireland, took up arms against their English oppressors. The rebellion lasted from 24 May-12 October 1798. When all was said and done, approximately 30,000 Irish were dead.

Fast forward about 125 years to 1916. With England heavily engaged in World War I, members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Citizen Army, and Irish Volunteers rose up against English rule in Ireland, demanding an independent Irish Republic. Dubbed the Easter Rising because it occurred during Easter week (24–29 April 1916), it was the most significant Irish uprising since the rebellion of 1798. About 2,600 people were wounded, including at least 2,200 civilians, and more than half of the 485 people killed in the Easter Rising were civilians.

Both the 1798 Rebellion and the 1916 Easter Rising are highlighted in the book, Castle on the Rise, by Kristy Cambron. This split-story novel, the second in the Lost Castles Series, follows the lives of three different women: 21st century American Laine Forrester, early 20th century Irish woman Lady Isolde Byrne, and late 18th century English woman Lady Maeve Ashford.

Maeve runs her father’s home, Ashford Manor. On the manor grounds are the Castle Caryn ruins, overlooking the Irish Sea. Maeve soon discovers that these ruins are being used by rebels, led by a man named Eoin O’Byrne. Soon, the people of Ashford Manor and the surrounding area are caught up in the 1798 Rebellion.

Isolde, nicknamed Issy, is an amateur photographer, who turns her back on her parents’ expectations in support of Irish independence. She soon finds herself in the heart of Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising. Through the lens of her camera, Issy risks everything to document the horror of war and the people caught its snare.

Laine, a lover of antiques, travels overseas for her best friend’s wedding. After the nuptials, she agrees to go to Dublin with her friend and the new in-laws to sort out family rifts and a recently inherited estate: Ashford Manor and the Castle Caryn ruins. While staying at the estate, Laine uncovers the stories of the previous owners and finds connections between their lives and her own.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise views two tumultuous times in Ireland’s past through the perspectives of three women, two living during the turmoil and one observing with objective eyes, years removed. As a lover of history, I enjoyed learning more about these moments in Irish history, although I found the story sometimes lacking in details. What events led up to these uprisings and why? (So, being who I am, I did some research on my own, as evidenced by my introductory paragraphs.)

And as a genealogist, I appreciated how these women’s stories, which at first seemed unrelated to one another, were in fact connected by family ties, antiques and ruins, and shared emotions. However, because this connection is not immediately apparent, the novel reads like three books instead of one.

Switching back and forth between eras chapter by chapter, the transitions are not always smooth. As a result, I found myself stopping and starting, stopping and starting Castle on the Rise instead of reading straight through as I have done with other books. Yes, it did take me much longer to read this novel than I would have liked, but I appreciated the author’s way with words and admired the story’s strong women.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Books through Booklook Bloggers. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Post navigation

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Castle on the Rise

  1. Reblogged this on Jude's Threshold and commented:

    An insightful book review! I always like it when history and genealogy inform one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the review! I’m also a genealogist who just moved to Ireland (embracing some of my Irish blood). Thanks to your review, I can’t wait to read this book. Excited to learn more about the dynamics and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Sheila's Archive

A Family History

Anna's Musings & Writings

A Catholic and Aspiring Contemplative's Journey, Genealogy, Odds and Ends . . .

Rhos Helyg Family History Services

Follow my family history adventures and more

Personal Prologue: Family Roots and Personal Branches

Copyright©2021, Margo Lee Williams, All Rights Reserved

Once Upon A Lifetime: Tales And Vignettes Of My Ancestors

MaryAnne Slabik-Haffner, Family History Author

Rhyme Schemes and Daydreams

Things That Interest Me

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Every Family has a story to tell..........Welcome to mine

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

Delving into the past

Here you shall find, my writings, about my family research, and general research into murders, and other people's ancestry, where I dig deep, and find all kinds of information about my family, whether it is good or bad, and my life itself in general, there are some sad, informative, facts here, which I hope, will get you guys blogging, so what are you waiting for? Get reading!

A Pennsylvania Dutch Genealogy

the genealogy & family research site of Kris Hocker

The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

Discovering Yesterday

Preserving the history of ordinary people

Barb's GeNealogy Life

Combining two of my favorite addictive pastimes - family history and writing.

Skeletons In The Closet

The Writing Blog of P.D.Blake

Past Presence

A site for genealogists and family historians

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Blog of Brass Oak Genealogy

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Sharing musings, insights, resources and strategies as I discover my family history.

Its good to be crazy Sometimes

A view from the inside of going through the minefield of the British benefit system if you are disabled and the ups and downs of coping with mental illness

WORD!

Words of wisdom, inspiration, feeling

Rants, Rambles, Revelations, Remembrances

Because the voice in my head won't stay silent...

Genealogy for Children

How to engage children in genealogy and family history

Brumley Family Branches

A Genealogy Blog

GenTraveling

Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Kindred Stories

Everyone has a story

OurGreatAncestors

Where Distant Family Become Close

Jill's Garden

Garden of Life

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Gary A Wilson Stories

10 Minute Adventures, Fiction and Coffee Breaks

Shaking The Branches

Sharing Stories From My Family Tree

Decoding the Family Tree

solving family history one branch at a time.

Bespoke Genealogy

UK and Ireland: Genealogy, History and Travel

The Letters

Louise Mabey

From Ballachulish to South Mississippi

Mississippi family history letters

Myricopia

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Aquila's Place

An Eccentric Mix of Literature and Opinions

The Women Who Made Me

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

F Yeah History

History...but better

Amanda Bradburn

Author | Editor | Genealogist | Bookstagrammer

Winter-Maker

Actor, Writer, and Embroidery Artist seeking beauty and humour.

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

Empty Branches on the Family Tree

Genealogy Tips & Family History

Dusty Roots & Forgotten Treasures

Researching, Preserving, and Sharing Genealogical Information For Future Generations

%d bloggers like this: