Happily, Patrice Kindl’s A School for Brides fit the bill quite nicely (although it’s more of a cross between a sequel and a companion novel, if you want to get technical). Characters from Keeping the Castle play important supporting roles, but the story focuses on the young ladies of the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy, who are being trained to attract husbands in a town with virtually no eligible men. (Except for Mr. Godalming. He’s still single.) Add one broken leg, several visitors, a couple of confinements, a nefarious governess, and an unprepossessing canine with a heart of gold, and you end up with an ensemble comedy that keeps you entertained to the very end. The large cast of characters necessitates more emphasis on plot and a bit less on character development, but it works. Rather than an Austen/fairy tale blend, School feels more like Jane channeling bits of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Which is another win-win combo, at least on my blog!
Bottom line? If you liked Keeping the Castle, don’t miss A School for Brides. What’s not to love about ‘a story of maidens, mystery, and matrimony’?