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Summers at Castle Auburn Perfect Paperback – February 1, 2008

108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest enchantment from Crawford Award winner Shinn (The Shape Changer's Wife and the Samaria trilogy) combines romantic spice, a dash of faerie and a pinch of intrigue to create a hybrid souffl‚ that is delicious, if not filling. Lowborn Corie, the impressionable young heroine, spends her summers with her highborn sister, Elisandra, at Castle Auburn and the rest of the year in a village apprenticed to a "wise woman" witch/herbalist called Grandmother. Corie accompanies her Uncle Jaxon on a hunt for the Aliora, faerielike creatures who serve as unwilling slaves to the humans inhabiting this quasi-medieval world. Also along for the ride is Elisandra's future husband, Prince Bryan of Auburn, a vain 16-year-old adored by most girls (including Corie) and loathed by most men. As Corie ages, she gets over her crush on the increasingly narcissistic and self-indulgent young prince. The relationship between the sisters deepens along with the plot lines revolving around Jaxon's obsession with the Aliora and their queen, Rowena, whose flickering presence suggests other, darker story lines that Shinn might have investigated to produce a less predictable confection. The love story between the hunter and the hunted is more electrifying than the sisters' romances. What makes Bryan change is never explored fully, just as his constant bad-boy image is never explained. While the story moves quickly in Shinn's seasoned hands, her fans may be left hungry for more substantive fare.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

As the illegitimate daughter of a royal lord, young Corie has the best of two worlds. She spends idyllic summers at Castle Auburn, home of her father's family, and the rest of the year with her maternal grandmother, learning the healer's craft. At the castle, Corie is groomed by her uncle for an eventual political alliance through marriage, though she is too dazzled by her handsome cousin Bryan, heir to the throne, to notice. As the summers pass, however, Bryan shows his true colors. The brash, arrogant youth matures into a cruel and self-centered man; a man unfit to be king, some say. At the same time, Corie's eyes open to the misery of the magical aliora, whom she loves, but who are hunted for sport and enslaved by the nobility. Thus, at 17, amid a hotbed of family and political unrest, Corie comes of age, risking all that she loves for what she believes in her heart to be right. Her choices, and the woman she becomes, will change Castle Auburn forever. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756918936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756918934
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,524,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
An adult fairy-tale is hard to come by, but Sharon Shinn manages a beautiful one in rare style. It's hard to find the collection of magic, castles, princes and princesses, alongside a hard-hitting plot and strong characters; however, this book fulfils them.
Coriel is the ... daughter of a nobleman and a wise woman (who seduced him with magic) who spends nine months out of every year with her healer grandmother, learning how to be a wise woman as well. But every summer she travels to beautiful Castle Auburn, to be with her uncle Jaxom and lovely half-sister Elisandra. She rapidly falls in crush with the handsome Prince Bryan, unable to yet see what a self-absorbed bratling he is.
A few years pass, and as Cory ages and matures, she sees that all is not sweet and peaceful at Castle Auburn. The elven aliora (who are sweet, gentle, kind, etc) are enslaved by the noblemen as servants, tied to the human world rather than their unspeakably beautiful otherworld. And Bryan is not the wonderful prince she was infatuated with — he is cruel, irresponsible, narcissistic, arrogant, and sires at least one illegitimate baby over the course of the book.
Surrounding Bryan are more mature noblemen who don't want to be ruled by a brat prince, but are not ready to do anything. Jaxom takes sudden and unexpected actions. Elisandra must choose between happiness and duty, and Cory must consult her heart and morals after Bryan takes horrifying action against an aliora servant. Love, death, treachery and political intrigue lace the beautiful prose and entrancing background of "Castle Auburn."
I liked Coriel. Rarely do books have genuinely human heroines, and her overwrought teen thoughts (such as her melodramatic statement when Bryan kisses her forehead) are in tune with infatuation.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Smoker VINE VOICE on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful story with a fairy tale feel and a bit of romance, this has become one of my favorite books. This tale tells the story of a young woman, Coriel, the bastard child of a now dead nobleman, who is torn between the world of riches and power in the Regent's court and a simple life as the trainee of her grandmother, a small village healer. Every summer she lives as a noble at Castle Auburn with her beautiful and loving half sister, Elisandra, who is affianced to Prince Bryan, the most adored young men in the Kingdom. Bryan, the young orphan prince, is just getting his first tastes of power, and likes it very much.
The story opens with most of the main characters embarking on a hunt for Aliora, a kind of very gentle and kind fairy folk who are used as slaves by the nobles. Coriel is a young 14-year old tomboy suffering from her first hopeless crush--on Bryan, the reckless and dashing young prince. The Prince's cousin, slim and serious Kent, keeps a watchful eye on Corie, and tries to curb his cousin's recklessness. Corie's Uncle Jaxon, the greatest Aliora hunter in the kingdom, herds the youngsters along, and Roderick, a young, handsome guardsman provides security. Only beautiful Elisandra is kept at home by her mother Greta, in order to avoid scandal.
The story follows these innocent children as they change and grow into adults. Some learn wisdom, some fall in love, one learns evil, and one will die, before the tale is told. And we see all this through Corie's eyes, overshadowed by her innocence until the blinders are removed and she finally grows up and sees the reality of life in Castle Auburn.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ellen close on September 17, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book reminded me of Jane Austen's heroines, and Lothlorian elves. The uncertainty of romantic feelings brought back memories of "I Capture the Castle," and there is a sense of a disillusioned Cinderella too. As the first book I have read by Sharon Shinn, I am anxious to read more of her work. SO... the tale covers about 5 years of Coriel's life, between summers spent at the royal castle, and the rest of the year in a small village as an apprentice wise woman and healer. Coriel finds she is growing increasingly uncomfortable with both venues as she approaches womanhood. Her enjoyment of castle life dims as she realizes that the fairy tale marriage of her beloved half-sister to the prince is a loveless match. The prince that she has always adored displays increasingly rash behavior that alienates the nobility and threatens to set in motion the dissolution of the kingdom into rival territories.

As the illegitimate daughter of a high ranking nobleman, Coriel always felt insulated from royal intrigues, but as the coronation approaches, she too becomes a pawn in the game to shore up the kingdom. I won't tell you where the elves fit in; you'll have to crack the cover yourself to figure that out. This is a delightful book, with tangible characters and complex loyalties. Highly recommended.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Shinn moves no mountains with this tale; don't expect an exotically original setting, as her science fiction novels tend toward, or even especially nontraditional characters. Coriel, the protagonist, is the illegitimate child of a nobleman, and consequently is always seeking a firm foothold in both the court (where she spends her summers) and her village. Shinn no doubt knows that the latter would hold little interest--even though it is there that Coriel has an active role as healer and herbalist--and the story concentrates on Coriel's life with the nobility.
She begins as a girl on a hunt for fey-like creatures: aliora, who are utterly benign even when captured and forced to serve humans. Although the tragedy of their slavery is addressed, it is the men with whom she rides that _Summers at Castle Auburn_ is truly about. She adores Prince Bryan, although he is betrothed to her beloved half-sister, but comes to realize ugly truths about him later on. But her relationships with Kent, the son of the regent, and Roderick, a guardsman, only grow with time.
The story moves fairly predictably toward a satisfactory but uninspiring happy ending. At heart, this book is a court romance, and those who need something more, like the mystery in _Wrapt in Crystal_ or the world-shaking tensions of the Samaria trilogy probably shouldn't seek this one out. It is, however, more complex than _The Shape-changer's Wife_.
Shinn captures the voice of Coriel both as a girl and a woman with her usual deft writing, which is this book's strongest recommendation. I did enjoy reading the rich prose, but those expecting the depth of her other books may be somewhat disappointed. Pick it up in a serene mood, and you'll end in the same.
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