Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson + Book Club Report
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Originally Published: 2012
Format I Read: Paperback
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Uh. Wow. While I collect my thoughts, I give you the 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.
Here’s what you really need to know about my Edenbrooke experience. I read it in one evening in one sitting. The next morning, I reread a delightful scene near the beginning and ended up rereading the entire book. I. Have. Never. Done. That. Here’s part of the delightful scene:
I walked to him as quickly as my weak legs could carry me.
“I need help in the yard. At once.” I sounded authoritative to the point of rudeness, but I was so anxious about James’s state that I did not care.
The gentleman raised one eyebrow as his gaze swept over me, from my disheveled hair (where had I left my bonnet?) to my muddy boots. “I am afraid you have mistaken my identity.” His words were clipped, his tone cool. “I believe you will find the innkeeper in the kitchen.”
I blushed at his disdainful look, and then my nerves, strung so taut with everything that had happened, suddenly snapped. How dare he speak to me like that? Anger flared hard in my chest and pride reared its head. In that moment I felt as strong and haughty as Grandmother.
I lifted my chin and said, “Pardon me. I was under the impression that I was addressing a gentleman. I can see that I was, as you said, mistaken.” (24)
This is a great romantic book. It has a strong heroine. It has nuanced characters. It will give you the ending you crave. Please read it. I think I’ll go re-reread it.
Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson [rating:5]
Book Club Report
Every member of my book club (that read the book) enjoyed this one. The consensus was that it was fast-paced, romantic, happy, layered, well-peopled, and refreshing.
My book club choose to read this book before I knew that Julianne Donaldson is a Utah author. Then, when I found out she is, in fact, a Utah author, I recruited her for a Utah Book Month author interview. I also asked if she would be willing to Skype with my book group for a few minutes at our meeting. She graciously agreed (and she will try to do the same for you). She was as delightful as her book. My favorite moment was when we asked about her philosophy on writing books with happy endings, she responded with this quote from Jane Austen: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”