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.
In hindsight, I should’ve known that the summary was giving away some of the major plot points. I don’t blame Donaldson for this - it’s usually the publisher who writes the summaries. I have mixed feelings about this book, as I wanted to enjoy it, but, in the end, I could only just plug along and finish it as quickly as I could.
As always, spoilers will be kept to a minimum.
If you are a hardcore Jane Austen fan and/or purist, I would not read this book. By the time I got to the middle of the book, I realized that many of Donaldson’s plot points and characters are basically a mixture of Austen novels. Kate’s family is 95% Elizabeth Bennett’s family/5% Evil (Step)Mother and Evil (Step)Sisters. Kate and Henry’s relationship is that of Emma and Mr. Knightley’s. Kate and Henry are Catherine and Henry Tilney from Northhanger Abbey. Blackmoore is heavily reminiscent of Northhanger Abbey, only Kate is more practical than Catherine. The connections are too obvious to ignore once you recognize them. It soured the experience and I’m nervous to read Donaldson’s other book that I bought now - I hope it isn’t the same way.
In spite of this, it’s a decent book. I wish the publisher didn’t include the line of “Because she can’t marry the man she loves” because it juxtaposes Kate’s personality for three-quarters of the book. She’s very stubborn and determined to get to her goal, regardless of her mother’s schemes. The reason for her being unable to marry the man she loves is a slight twist and it ennobles her. I liked Kate’s character overall - I just didn’t like how much she cried. She’s upheld as this strong-willed, fierce woman most of the time, but there are also one too many melodramatic moments where she dissolves into tears and cries for an entire scene. It makes me question the consistency of her character. That doesn’t stop the reader from sympathizing with her or her problems.
Henry is the dreamboat guy every girl dreams of - smart, witty, kind, handsome, in tune with his emotions, and a secret romantic. He’s a great friend to Kate and the only person who truly cares for her welfare. His only flaw is that he’s unaware of how perfect he is. I have to admit, he made my heart flutter at times too.
The plot is interesting enough and it can keep you suitably entertained for a few hours. I won’t say anymore about it since the plot summary provides the most non-spoiling paragraph you can make about the book. I’d recommend this book as one to read at the beach or on a rainy day.
Overall, it’s an easy read with vivid characters and a compelling story. As I said before, hardcore Austen fans should stay away from this book.
I give Blackmoore a B.
Please support the author by buying the book or borrowing it from a friend or your local library.
Thanks for reading!