Monday, November 22, 2010

Keys to the Castle-Donna Ball

Keys to the Castle
Donna Ball
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425239308

Forty-six year old Sara Graves is excellent at selling things people do not want. Sara grieves the loss of her husband of three weeks, Daniel Orsay, but leaves her sister’s North Carolina home for Paris to handle her late spouse’s estate.

Daniel’s best friend lawyer Ash Lindeman flies home to London from Hong King; but though exhausted, he goes on to Rondelais, France to meet Daniel’s widow. Ash’s ex-wife Michele wants his help to insure she gets Rondelais Chateau as Daniel’s only living relative. Ash informs her he will take care of his client Sara’s interest.

Ash owns a portion of the estate and Sara the rest. He suggests they sell or lease to a hotelier. Michele arrives with five years old girl Alyssa who she insists is Daniel’s child. Irate Ash tells her to leave before he has arrested for taking her out of school without his permission as Alyssa’s guardian. He tells Sara, a woman insisted Daniel was Alyssa’s father, but Daniel denied it and committed suicide. Later Sara is awakened by a crying abandoned Alyssa. Irate at Michele and Ash she cares for the child. Sara rips Ash’s head off and decides to put the castle in trust for Alyssa. As they argue, the two adults fall in love, but he believes he is not worthy of her.

The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as her late beloved was his best friend. Alyssa is a solid support character as is much of the rest of the cast who play minor roles. The ethics displayed by Ash and a lawyer from his firm is refreshing. Although the final resolution of the lead couple’s conflict seems too easy for such as complicated relationship drama, readers will appreciate Donna Ball’s character driven contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

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