Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Historical Fiction, Regency Romance (clean)
Publication Date: 12 March, 2012
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 she be able to rein 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.
My heart would obey me, I was certain. I simply needed to be strict with it.
-Marianne, Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Knocked this one out in under 8 hours! Yeah, it's that good...also a little predictable, maybe a bit cheesy, but very fun and worthwhile. I honestly had fun reading Edenbrooke.
It's a hard book to put down, mainly because it's such a sweet, sweet romance. It's the kind that makes you sigh wistfully--multiple times. Donaldson gives us a lovely picture of the Regency time period (handsome gentlemen included), and keeps hearts racing with her perfectly paced romance. And if that weren't enough, there's the added drama of a mysterious man who threatens to tear it all apart...which would be devastating, because these are characters you will root for! They are bright and funny, have noble ambitions, and frequently carry on conversations that are uniquely entertaining.
I really like that Donaldson focuses on the relationships between the characters. Marianne is struggling to renew her relationship with her sister and father after their mother's death, but doesn't know where they all stand. Their subtle change in perspectives throughout the book is compelling. Philip is also struggling to find his place in a world that has suddenly changed for him. He and Marianne both begin to help each other out, and now I'm audibly sighing because Philip *le sigh* and Marianne together just melts. my. heart! It's is just a very solid and clean romance.
The inevitable comparison:
I know you're curious, so yes, It does compare to Pride & Prejudice (or any Jane Austen novel, really)...in the sense that you get those same happy, feel-good, twirling feelings from this story. It's one that makes you feel in love with...love. It's one of the good ones! And yet it doesn't try to be P&P at all. It has a very different story to tell. I think people who both love and hate P&P will enjoy this book for that very reason. For one thing, it's a little more daring--according to the standards of the time period. It's also more adventurous, I think; less social commentary.
But enough P&P comparisons. This book stands on its own! It's not perfect. But it is very much worth reading, and I can't recommend it enough.
...you like love stories and want to be swept off your feet by a