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review 2017-08-11 19:19
Book Review: Edenbrooke
Edenbrooke - Julianne Donaldson

Book: Edenbrooke


Author: Julianne Donaldson


Genre: Fiction/Historical Romance


Summary: Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to reign in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke. - Shadow Mountain, 2012.

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review 2016-10-30 06:20
Book Review: Blackmoore
Blackmoore - Julianne Donaldson

Book: Blackmoore


Author: Julianne Donaldson


Genre: Historical Romance


Summary: Kate Worthington knows she can never marry the man she loves, so she plans to travel to India instead - if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured - and rejected - three proposals. Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore, determined to fulfill her end of the bargain. There she enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. In the wild, windswept countryside near the coast of northern England, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free? Set in the 1820s, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the captivating story of a young woman struggling to learn to follow her heart. - Shadow Mountain, 2013.


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review 2016-01-04 02:48
Clean romance
Edenbrooke - Julianne Donaldson

A charming romantic story, set in Regency England, this novel has a banner ‘Proper Romance’. I guess it means romance without sex, which is what it was, and the lack of sex scenes actually enhanced the tale for me.

The heroine Marianne is young, naive, and very proper. The hero Philip is charismatic and masculine, a rescuing knight to the heroine’s damsel in distress. Both are vulnerable, while the bad guy is suitably evil. Of course, there is a misunderstanding between our lovebirds, and each is unsure of the other’s affection, but in the end, love triumphs and villainy is punished.

It sounds banal, and it is, in a way, but the banality of the protagonists, both sweet and flawless and utterly lovable, is overset by the high quality of writing. Both Marianne and Philip seem alive. I knew the story was mawkish and still I sympathized with its characters. I wanted them to trust their hearts. I cheered for them. What more does one need for a love story?    

The novel reminded me of Georgette Heyer’s stories. It has similar subtle humor and delightful lightness, although the plotline is much less original than most Heyer’s novels. No serious themes were discussed in the book and no social issues intruded, but sometimes, it feels restful and enjoyable to read without thinking.

Some readers might find this book sentimental, with the level of mushiness higher than good taste dictates, but maybe it is not so bad either. With the density of dark and gritty in modern fiction, a dash of fluffy melodrama is more than welcome.

A couple things bothered me about this book. One – playing fast and loose with historical accuracy. The action takes place in 1816, and the hero, Philip mentions his Grand Tour of Europe once or twice in the narrative. I don’t remember his exact age, but I think he is somewhere in his twenties. The Grand Tours custom stopped during Napoleonic wars, which according to wikipedia started in 1803, but the military actions rocked Europe years before that, and the traveling would’ve been unsafe throughout 1790s. Napoleon was banished to St Helena in 1815, the year of Waterloo. So when did Philip go to his Grand Tour, and how old was he then? Something doesn’t entirely add up there.

The other thing I disliked about this book – I mean disliked so much I feel compelled to mention it in a review – is its cover. It doesn’t invoke the sense of romance at all. When you look at it, you see a dull piece of historical fiction or maybe non-fiction. And the woman on the cover wears a modern dress. There is nothing there to suggest Regency at all. In fact, the cover is so vapid, I had to force myself to open the book. I’m glad I did.

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review 2015-12-23 00:00
Blackmoore - Julianne Donaldson Can't get into it right now. I'll probably revisit it later.
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review 2014-06-22 05:44
Review: Blackmoore
Blackmoore - Julianne Donaldson

Kate wanted to go to India with her Aunt and she made a deal with her mother. The only way she was able to make it was with the help of a childhood friend Henry.

I really loved her last book. I even bought multiple copies and gave them to people. I think that might be why I had high expectations for this book. I also think that might be why my rating isn't higher.

I really liked Kate, Henry and the maid Alice. They were the only characters I did like. The rest were mean, cross, or flat. I have a hard time seeing parents purposely being mean to their children. I know it happens in the real world, but I think it is overall the exception or at least not consciously done. At least I would hope so. In this book it seems as if the mothers are actually out to get their children.

One of the main images in the book is a bird in a cage and how it isn't free. I began to feel like I was also in a cage and hemmed in. I could see this as good imagery in the writing, but I also did not enjoy the sensation.

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