Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Release Date: March 2012
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
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.
The Short of It: While the start was a bit slow, once it got started it sucked me in. I finished it in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. My only recommendation would be not to start it before bed, else you’ll be up until 5:30am like I did.
Plot: The plot reminded me a lot of a Jane Austen novel, but without the classic dryness. I’ve been saying it’s a bit of a Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey and while this isn’t fully accurate, it’s the best comparison I can come up with. Honestly, it’s a classic romance full of silliness, aggravation, and wistful sighs. While some things felt a bit convenient, especially at the end, I wasn’t too bothered by it. (Of course, I used to be an avid romance reading and this was a very common trait among the genre.) Edenbrooke reminded me how a good, classic romance read should go, especially after spending so long being immersed in YA lit. I finished with a big smile and a deep want to return to this world over and over again.
Characters: Never before have I wanted to both strangle and cheer for a character more than I have Marianne. Well, at least not since I’ve met Elizabeth Bennett or Mary (sorry, the similarities really are uncanny.) I loved that she was more of a country girl than one London scene one. I also loved that she stayed true to herself, unwilling to fully change who she was just to please other people. She was a bit, shall we say, naive, but it was also something that gave her a lot of charm, even if it was infuriating at times. All in all, she was a very lovable character.
Romance: This is the type of romance that is one step forward and two steps back almost the entire time. The type that when they finally make it you can’t help but cheer very loudly. I love how they both bring out the best in each other. Marianne is able to bring the old Philip back out while he allows her to be who she is. Neither one of them expect the other to change, but simply love them for who they are. That is what makes a true romance. Edenbrooke nails it on the head without the need for any unnecessary bodice ripping action. Seriously, while Marianne and Philip may not be a Lizzie/Mr. Darcy or Mary/Matthew they come pretty darn close and are certain to remain one of my favorite couples for some time.
Writing: Donaldson’s style is spot on. She creates her world beautiful and makes it easy to envision. I will admit that the first twenty pages were a little rough for me, but they were necessary to set up the plot. Once I was past that first little spot, the pages simply flew by. The pacing, descriptions, and tone were perfect for this novel. I can’t wait to see what else Donaldson has in store with her future models.
Librarian-Mode: If you couldn’t guess I would put this one in the hands of those who like Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey. While this is an adult book, teens who love this era will find Edenbrooke has high appeal. Other pairings to consider would be I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend and The Luxe series.
So, now that you know what I think, you have an opportunity to find out how good it is for yourself. I have one extra copy to give away to a lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment tell me why you want to read Edenbrooke. Be sure to leave your email address so I know how to contact you!
Other stops on the blog tour:
March 19th: http://ya-sisterhood.blogspot.com/
March 20th www.theallureofbooks.com
March 21st http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com
March 22nd http://chicklitreviewsandnews.com/
March 23rd http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/
March 24th http://bookblather.net
March 25th http://hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
March 26th http://bookchelle.com
March 27th http://www.brazenbookworm.com
March 28th oliviahennis.wordpress.com
March 29th http://aliseonlife.blogspot.com
March 30th http://trippingbooks.wordpress.com
March 31st http://harmonyradiantreads.blogspot.com
April 1st http://kbgbabbles.blogspot.com/
April 2nd http://moonlightlacemayhem.blogspot.com/
April 3rd http://ireadtorelax.blogspot.com
April 4th http://awordsworth.blogspot.com
April 5th www.novelthoughtsblog.com
April 6th http://www.readitseeit.net/
April 7th http://dreaminginbooks.blogspot.com/