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.
After having a bad experience with Blackmoore, I was cautious going into this book. This story is technically Donaldson's first, so I was also curious to see how the story would be in comparison with her second. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the story a lot more than I thought I would.
Spoilers will be kept to a minimum.
Marianne as a character was witty and bright - very fun to observe as she goes through the events of the story. I wasn't a big fan of the constant blushing she did, but I could forgive it. She was her own heroine and I liked her overall.
All of the characters were enjoyable in their own ways and they each were memorable so no one felt like a typical archetype of a historical romance. I could see some Jane Austen influences here and there, but they weren't as prominent in this story as in Donaldson's second.
The romance was really good. It was sweet and full of heartache as the reader wonders whether or not Marianne will end up with the man she's always around. Philip was a great romantic hero and I loved his character especially.
The plot wasn't quite predictable in all respects, but I do have to say that the climax felt a tad forced. Something had to be done in order to force the characters to reach their respective resolutions and the timing was a little late and didn't have much time to development before the moment of conflict.
Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and I'm just disappointed that the second book Donaldson wrote could be so different from her first. Edenbrooke is definitely much better than Blackmoore.
I give Edenbrooke an A+.
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