BOOK BLURB: 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 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.
REVIEW: Marianne Daventry is staying with her grandmother in Bath while her father is spending time in France as he grieves the loss of his wife. She is bored as her grandmother is always trying to match her up with some man.
The candidates so far have appalled and Marianne longs to flee. Marianne’s twin sister Cecily has been lucky enough to be invited to spend time at the beautiful estate of Edenbrooke, home of her good friend, Louisa Wyndham. Marianne receives a letter from her sister, who is in London taking in the sights with Louisa, to join them at Edenbrooke, she is overjoyed and cannot wait to get there.
Along the way, Marriane’s carriage is beset upon by a highwayman where she loses her treasured locket left to her by her mother and her driver is shot. However, she and her maid are rescued by a kind man who helps them to find lodging at an inn and to get medical care for her driver. His kindness to her helps her to relax, laugh and joke with him.
When she arrives at Edenbrook, she is amazed to find that the kind man is none other than Sir Philip Wyndham, Lord of Edenbrooke. Marianne is mortified to find that the man with whom she was being so friendly is “the” Sir Philip! Their friendship deepens and they spend lots of time together getting to know one another.
When Cecily and Louisa return to Edenbrooke, it is quickly noted that Cecily has eyes for Philip and wants Marianne to know this. These two young women treat Marianne abominably and do not include her in their friendship. In addition, Marianne finds out some rather unsavory things about her sister. Trying to respect her sister’s desire to stay away from Philip, Marianne strives to distance herself from him while her heart is breaking.
The tenderness of budding love is so very well demonstrated by the author. Her descriptions and sensitivity to the feelings of the characters is touching.
This is the début novel of Julianne Donaldson and I look forward to reading her next novel, ‘Blackmoore’.
BOOK BLURB: Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to marry. Her plan is 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 marriage proposals.
Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain sooner rather than later and 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. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, 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 Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart.
REVIEW: Kate Worthington grew up next door to Henry Delafield. She had always been great friends with him and his sister, Sylvia. Her mother’s goal is to marry her off as soon as she has other daughters to find husbands for. The prospective husbands her mother selects for her are either boring or repulsive to Kate and thus, she vows never to marry.
Ignoring Kate’s wishes, her cruel mother insists that she will marry. She received an invitation from her unmarried Aunt Charlotte to go with her on a long voyage to India where they can explore and learn all about the country and enjoy what it has to offer. She finally bargains with her mother that if she is offered three proposals and she turns them down, then she can go with her aunt.
In the meantime, Kate receives an invitation from Henry Delafield to visit to Blackmoore for a month. It is the summer home of her friends, Henry and Sylvia Delafield. It is in the remote northern coast of England sandwiched between vast moors and the rugged coastline. When the invitation for her to go is finally issued, Kate is ecstatic to be getting away from her mother and her constant embarrassing and disgusting flirtations with men. Even her father has little to do with his wife and is repulsed by her behavior.
Upon arrived at Blackmoore, Kate immediately falls in love with the remoteness and rugged beauty of the structure and of the area. However, Henry’s mother is surprised and unhappy to see that Kate has been invited. She does not care for Kate’s mother and her shameful actions. In addition, she is concerned that Kate and Henry are getting too close and she has plans for her son to marry the lovely Juliet St. Claire. Thus, she ensures that Kate is kept away from the group as much as possible.
Feeling the hurt of this rejection, she is determined to enjoy this longed-for visit to Blackmoore. Knowing she must receive and turn down three proposals, she sets out to find a way to do this so she will be free to go to India. However, the friendship and affection she has always had for Henry begins to blossom into a beautiful love that she finds is reciprocated. When she finds that Henry’s mother, like her own mother will stop at nothing to decide the outcome of their children’s lives, she realizes she must choose Henry’s happiness or flee.
Once again, Julianne Donaldson has captured the rough gothic beauty of this story along with the gentle and fragile essence of young love.
This is her second novel after ‘Edenbrook’. I am so glad to have had the pleasure of reading these two books and recommend them highly. Ms. Donaldson has an amazing talent and I eagerly await her next novel.
Connie for b2b *Books provided by my local library.
AUTHOR BIO: Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle.
After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and four children.