Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle (Christmas in the Castle)

Jennifer Ivy

Gabrielle has just returned from Paris at her father, the king’s, bidding. He suspects he is dying and wishes to see her wed before he passes. He has one offer for her; Robert Cauchon, le Marquis de Nantes, wishes her to wed his son, Ugolin. Gabrielle is repulsed. She wishes to marry Sir Bastien, but Bastien is a poor knight with no noble title and no lands, so he is ineligible to wed the princess. A joust is planned, and the winner wins the hand of Gabrielle. She is displeased because only nobility can participate. Bastien has loved Gabrielle for years, but cannot tell her. He loathes the idea of her being in another man’s arms. Ugolin will stop at nothing to wed Gabrielle so he can control the borders of France. Surely there is a way for Bastien to be Gabrielle’s champion!

Jennifer Ivy Walker’s ingenuity is delightfully showcased in her historical novel, “Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle”. Several storylines play out simultaneously: the king’s mysterious illness, the romance between Gabrielle and Bastien, and Ugolin’s plot. The character development throughout this story is incredible! The character interactions are amazing, however, Bastien acts implausibly when his courtly love turns physical. There are several anachronisms which can jar the reader out of the otherwise outstanding story. Repetition runs rampant throughout the tale, which drags down the pace of this wonderful adventurous account. Nevertheless, the plotlines are cleverly woven together, drawing the reader in. Descriptions of the characters, cave, and jousting arena make this magical story come to life. An interesting read!

Belinda Wilson