Title: The Chateau
Author: Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year: Hartwick Publishing 10/27/20
Length: 299 Pages
Series: The Chateau #1
There’s a fine line between right and wrong.
And Magnus is on both sides of it.
I don’t know much about him, but he’s the only reason I’m still alive. I’ve been taken by a group of heartless men and forced into a labor camp, and even though there’s no way out, I still have hope.
I have hope because of him.
He’s the only reason I’ll escape this place.
Even though he’s the villain who works in this camp, he’s my hero.
And I know he’ll be the hero to everyone else too.
Because that’s the price to be with me–and he’ll pay any price to be with me.
I’m a huge huge huge fan of Penelope Sky and just about every series that i’ve read and this one continues on that same path. We’re in a completely different world unrelated at all to the Italy stories that it’s a welcome change. In the end of this story – our author tells us about how she’s poured so much of herself into this series in a way that’s new from the others, and it’s really clear to me as I read it.
We start off a moment in the past where a boy goes home after a night out with friends only to discover that someone’s in his house, murdering his family. He’s not able to save his mom or 2 of his siblings, but he’s able to get his brother out of the house only to see that the killer is his father. they run, and that’s all we learn about them.
Then we find ourselves in Paris, with our leading lady Raven who’s American and is studying in France. She’s always been responsible for her younger sister so going to Paris was a chance to get away, and yet we find ourselves with her sister visiting. When one day Raven notices a man watching her apartment and watching her sister, she gets on edge, and at a night out she sees the same man talking to Melanie. She’s not comfortable with this and all for good reason because her sister decides that she needs to go with him and his friends, and she of course has to follow. They end up drugged and kidnapped and that’s how our story evolves.
They’re not trafficked but instead brought to a camp in the Alps where there’s a cocaine operation that kidnaps women to pack and process the drug for distribution all across Europe. Raven is confident that she’ll find a way to escape with her sister, but quickly learns that it’s all but impossible. They are so remote that there’s no real chance of getting to a village. It’s the dead of winter so they won’t survive the weather, and the guards there will hunt them down faster than even imaginable. Raven tries anyway, and fails.
The only reason she’s still alive is Magnus. The guard that’s been assigned to her. He’s frightening of course and powerful, but he clearly has a different sort of power and authority in the camp because he has freedoms and access that the others don’t have. We never quite get it but we know that there’s something interesting there. Magnus protects her as much as he can, brings her things to make her time there more comfortable and we see an odd sort of friendship develop between them. Every time Raven is almost hung, or beaten, or accused of doing something that she’s likely done, he gets in the middle in order to save her.
One day ‘the boss’ shows up and takes interest in Melanie – which is no surprise to Raven given that she’s beautiful and has always gotten attention. Raven’s scared for her safety since we all know what’s likely to happen to her, and that’s even more motivation for Raven to find a way out.
A few failed attempts later, Magnus realizes that staying in the camp means death for Raven and he offers all the help he can to get her out. He tells her how to escape gives her resources an a map and a location to go to so that she can wait for him to come and get her, and we realize that their relationship could mean something more. There are emotions and chemistry between them and it’s intense given that they are both in incredibly unconventional phases of their lives.
From that point on in the story, Raven’s eyes are opened up. She realizes that there’s more to Magnus than she realized, specifically in money and power. She also learns something interesting about the boss and what that relationship is. What she doesn’t learn though is how to keep her feelings in check and not give too much of herself to Magnus since that’s a relationship that’s going to be 1000000% impossible.
She’s free now, as is her sister, but that’s not enough. She insists on freeing all the other women in the camp so she sets out to do that. The problem though is that when she goes there, she’s destroys everything that could have been good and when Magnus sees her, he wants to kill her. So, we’re left on a cliff and sadly I have to wait until the end of January to see who falls and who’s still alive. I have such high hopes for where this story will go and to see how the past brings itself to the present.
We have complex and engaging characters. We have romance and chemistry that sizzles. We have a story that’s unique and all that together makes for an amazing book 1. Enjoy!