Ashes to Ashes by Lillian Stewart Carl Book Review

Ashes to Ashes

Book Review by Debbie Winkler

Author: Lillian Stewart Carl
Publisher: IUniverse (June 2000)
ISBN: 0595094481, EAN: 9780595094486
Page Count: 352 pages
Format: paperback

Target Age Group: adults
My Rating:5/5 stars, Within the Castle, the Spirits of the Past Live On…


When historian Rebecca Reid heard about the chance to help catalog Dun Iain’s treasures, she jumped at the chance. After all, how often does a historian get to visit an exact replica of an ancient Scottish castle in the middle of Ohio? She knew that James Forbes, the castle’s owner who had just passed away, owned the Erskine letter – a letter which just might prove that Mary, Queen of Scots’ son was switched at birth for another woman’s. It was just what she needed for her Ph.D. dissertation. It also gave Rebecca a chance to get away from Ray, her cloying fiance, whom Rebecca was slowly falling out of love with.

When Rebecca arrived at Dun Iain, she immediately was embroiled in old feuds and shadows of the past. Nothing could have prepared her for the ghostly presences that stalked the halls clunking loudly up and down the stairs, throwing dishes in the kitchen, turning on and off lights in rooms, moving crystal bottles from floor to floor. And nothing could have prepared her for the living people at Dun Iain: Michael Campbell, the Scottish professor sent from the museum to separate out the Forbes’ family treasures and decide what would go home to Scotland and what would stay with the historical society; Eric Adler, the charming, handsome executor of the Forbes estate; Dorothy, the eavesdropping busybody of a housekeeper who had been cleaning Dun Iain for thirty years or more; Steve Pruitt and his girlfriend, Heather, who always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; James Forbes, who, even after death refused to leave his beloved castle and stumped up and down the corridors and stairways; and Elspeth, James’ beautiful mother, who threw herself from the 5th story window when she lost her daughter…

When priceless treasures turn up missing and Rebecca and Michael keep getting involved in mysterious “accidents”, Rebecca is forced to admit that the ghosts aren’t the only spooky things at Dun Iain. Eric is quite charming and she does enjoy their evenings together, but there is something holding her back from going all the way. Michael alternates between exasperating and loveable, but he may be stealing valuables to fund his own schemes. She wants to believe the best of everyone, but she knows that her time is running out…


This was a great book by Lillian Stewart Carl, full of romance and intrigue and priceless treasures lost and found. It is an updated version of a Gothic romance, with the heroine feeling lost and alone and plenty of handsome men around to choose from. All of the characters were well drawn and absolutely fascinating, whether hero or villain, all of them had shades of gray in their characters. I am looking forward to reading the sequel – Dust to Dust. Definitely worth your time to check out this author!


This is romantic mystery has more a Gothic feel than a contemporary romance so the romance elements are pretty tame and not explicit. Appropriate for readers ages 14 and up.

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Filed under Mystery Books, Romance Books

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