When you read Sharon Shinn, you know what you’re getting – light, magical romance (even when it’s technically SF), done well. That’s certainly the case for Summers at Castle Auburn – there are no startling swerves, no radically changed characters. Very little here will surprise you, whether it’s the traditional gender roles or the twisting relationships. The one thing that caught me off guard was how juvenile (not in a judgmental sense) the story initially seemed, but it gets gradually more adult, mirroring the central character, so perhaps that’s just an indication of Shinn’s skill.
And skill Shinn definitely has. While predictable, Castle Auburn is a very smooth, quick, pleasant read. It’s comforting, in that it doesn’t challenge your preconceptions (whether that’s good or bad depends on your mood and what you’re looking for). It’s also uplifting; within the world’s tight structure, and rosy-toned society, many of the people make good choices, and it ends happily – very fairy tale romance.
It’s not a demanding book by a long shot, but I liked it, as I’ve liked most of Shinn’s work, and I finished it quickly, unlike the drier, more complex book I read before it. Castle Auburn is unabashedly what it is, and it’s a style that Shinn handles very well. If happy, fairy tale romance is what you’re looking for, this is it.