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Castle of Dreams - Elise McCune

Paperback Published: 27th April 2016
ISBN: 9781760291846
Number Of Pages: 368

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A ruined castle deep in the rainforest holds a secret that unites three generations of women: two sisters who find themselves in love with the same man as the Second World War rages and, decades later, a young woman determined to uncover the secrets in her grandmother's hidden past.

Growing up together in a mysterious castle in northern Queensland, Rose and Vivien Blake are very close sisters. But during the Second World War their relationship becomes strained when they each fall in love with the same dashing but enigmatic American soldier.

Rose’s daughter, Linda, has long sensed a secret in her mother’s past, but Rose has always resisted Linda’s questions, preferring to focus on the present.

Years later Rose’s granddaughter, Stella, also becomes fascinated by the shroud of secrecy surrounding her grandmother’s life. Intent on unravelling the truth, she visits the now-ruined castle where Rose and Vivien grew up to see if she can find out more.

Captivating and compelling, Castle of Dreams is about love, secrets, lies – and the perils of delving into the past . . .

About the Author

Elise McCune was born in Sydney. In 1973, she moved to Perth, where she raised her two children, Lisa and Brett. Elise now lives by the bay in Melbourne.

A beautiful mystery


This lovely book is an evocative and compelling page-turner. There is an immediacy to the writing; the reader is transported easily between past and present, and between the lush Queensland rainforest and wartime Brisbane. The historical elements are well researched, the characters are convincing and the plot, about love and deeply hidden family secrets, is intriguing and moving. Most of all, I loved the mysterious ruined Spanish castle, half swallowed by the forest. What an amazing place to set a story, and even better to know that it's real!

South Gippsland, Victoria




I have always loved novels which reflect history in some way and it was both refreshing and enlightening to read a novel set in Australia during the Second World War. Not only did the author give us an intriguing love story, she also compassionately handled the very sensitive issue of post traumatic stress disorder which ultimately led to domestic violence, issues which are finally being acknowledged and addressed today. Back in the '50s, however, both topics would have been 'off limits', much like extra marital affairs, which meant that none of the 'victims' would have been able to receive the help they required, but rather relied on friends and family for support; a weight not everyone was strong enough, or willing to share. McCune's characters show both strength and vulnerability and truly reflect the prevailing times, as does the language she used to bring them and their surroundings to life. The author's meticulous research enabled her to accurately transport the reader between generations, environments and emotions and I am sure she is more than capable of telling any story, of any genre, set in any era and I very much look forward to reading them all.





I adored reading Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune. The pretty cover depicts the story that lies inside; a historical novel partially set during World War 11 in Australia's tropical north Queensland. A beautiful rainforest castle, provides the perfect, almost magical, setting for this delightful narrative to unfold. The reader is introduced to two young sisters, Vivien and Rose who grew up in the castle. The plot then flashes forward to modern day Stella (Rose's granddaughter), a photographer, who senses that her family history is somewhat mysterious. Stella has many questions about her enigmatic family, but her mother Linda is a "closed archive"and prefers to focus her attention on the present. Against her mother's wishes, Stella finds the intrigue too enticing, and instigates a journey to hunt for the answers she seeks. Stella discovers Rose and Vivien's lives had many captivating twists and turns incorporating romance, shocking secrets, lies, and experiences of horror and heartbreak from living in a world at war. The beautiful and expressive language brings to life the charm and romance of the 1940s era, and demonstrates that the experiences and decisions of our ancestors can influence the family of future generations. Whilst family tree research can provide a context in which to better construct one's sense of identity, the novel touches on the ethical dilemma that it can be either joyful, or distressing to those it impacts. I loved Castle of Dreams so much so, that I will be buying copies as gifts for my mum, and my partner's mum for Mother's Day.

Perth, AU


Castle of Dreams

5.0 3


ISBN: 9781760291846
ISBN-10: 1760291846
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 27th April 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.45