Castle of Dreams is an intriguing story about two sisters who fall in love with the same American soldier during WW2 against the backdrop of a tropical rainforest of a northern Queensland castle. That was more than enough enticement to make me read this book. Coupled with family secrets, regret, loss and lies, Castle of Dreams is a fast paced and enjoyable story which spans the 1930’s to 2009.
Using split time lines, Elise McCune’s descriptive writing transports the reader to the Castle in Northern Queensland which is known by Australians as Paronella Park. I remember driving past it a few years ago wondering how and why it was there. A castle plonked in the middle of the rainforest seems so incredibly out of place. Yet Elise McCune builds a story around it and its history. Additionally, the historical facts around American soldiers who were stationed in Northern Queensland during the war and the animosity by the Australian servicemen was well portrayed.
The mysterious family secret unravels slowly and when you think you know what it is, a twist takes you on an unexpected path. The mainly female characters are well drawn and the portrayal of unwed mothers in the two timelines is contrasted well.
Overall, very satisfying and if you’re looking for a holiday read or one to transport you to another time and place then grab this one.