Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Edenbrooke - Julianne Donaldson

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 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.  (Summary and Image from www.goodreads.com) - Book given free for an honest review)


My Review:  Hold on.  Before we start the review, stop and admire this book cover for a second.   I think it’s gorgeous!  It makes me think of lazy summer days, romance, and Mr. Darcy.  When I saw this book, my plan for the day became:  Read this book in the warm sunshine and then maybe take a nap.  Okay, on we go…

I was so pleased to get my mitts on this book.  Personally, I’d rather read a sweet romance, filled with gallantry, flirting, and a little making out, than read a novel concerned primarily with, say, the highly unrealistic sex life of the Scottish Highlander.  Edenbrooke, is touted as a proper romance and “everything a romantic novel should be, without all that other stuff…”.  In the copy I received, the publisher described the book as “a love story that has the Regency flavor of Jane Austen, the heart-tugging romance of Cinderella, and the page-turning allure of Twilight – without the vampires.”  Honestly, they had me at Jane Austen but they clinched it with the lack of vampires. 
Like many romance novels, Edenbrooke is far from perfect in a literary sense.   The narration was in first-person, past tense (which led to a lot of “I” statements), the story was rather predictable, the writing lacked complexity, and the main character was rather dense* when it came to recognizing her own feelings or understanding the motivations of others.   However, once I really got a chance to dedicate myself to the story, I stopped noticing the little imperfections and quirks (or rather, I forgave them) and was pleasantly swept away by the romance. 

I don’t want to give away much of the plot, but I will say that the “intrigue” aspect of this book wasn’t as intriguing as the blossoming romance between Marianne and a certain character. Oh, I’ll just say it. Philip. Oh, Philip. He was the perfect gentleman, an incorrigible flirt, and my favorite character. I was rooting for the young lovers right away, delighted in a few of their more entertaining misunderstandings, and wanted to scratch out the eyes of any and all of Marianne’s competition. I would also be remiss if I didn’t talk about the kiss. It was a niiiice kiss – I’m thrilled to say there was a bookcase involved. *Sigh* 
Overall, I thought this story was charming, romantic and a fun way to spend the afternoon.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take that nap.

*I really can’t fault that character trait, since it’s fairly standard in romance novels.  After all, if any of the characters were to actually communicate with each other about how they were feeling then the story would be over in a matter of chapters.
My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Have at it.
Sum it up: A sweet and simple romance – perfect for those searching for a little light, blush-free, romantic reading.


Monica said...

I'm so glad I found this review because this is now one of my favorite books that I will no doubt read and reread. I thought it was fabulous!

Sally T. said...

Just read this book for myself - I'm so glad I read it BEFORE I read the review, or I might not have done so. I do agree that Marianne is a little thick - but I can forgive that thanks to Philip. I really found the plot enchanting and it was a quick read - meant more for a rainy day than a serious study, and easier to read in big chunks than to come and go from it. Great book!


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