Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain 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. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.
5 out of 5 stars
I loved Edenbrooke, and am super excited to have a chance to review Blackmoore. This book proved even better than Donaldson's first. It is full of romance, creepy old manors, ghost stories and villains who would stop a young lady from achieving her dreams.
Kate has been friends with Henry and Sylvia Delafield since they were all children. Every year she envied the time when they would disappear to the mysterious Blackmoore estate that rested between the wild moors and the ocean she desperately wished to see. Now, at long last, Kate has been granted the ability to visit. She thrills in the freedom she's sure to find at this place of haunted wings and secret passages. But her arrival soon shatters all her childhood illusions. The moors are ugly, Henry is prepared to propose to the lovely Miss St. Claire, and his mother is as awful as always. Kate soon realizes she has merely traded the cage of her mother and sister's shameful behavior and her father's derision for an equally stifling cage of broken friendships, bargains with the devil, and lost love. The only thing that keeps her from going mad is the seemingly impossible dream of fleeing to India with her beloved aunt. But how can she fly free when her heart is still tied to Blackmoore?
The love story between Henry and Kate is sweet and full of heartache, dangerous secrets and vindictive mothers who threaten to separate them forever. Their story is shown through present day interactions, and flashbacks to their shared childhood. Donaldson handled the flashbacks in a way that enhanced the story, and made the transitions smooth and seamless to avoid reader confusion. I personally don't mind flashbacks, and found the episodes offered great insight into Kate's and Henry's characters, and her refusal to get married. It also allowed the reader to experience key moments in the past, rather than just be told about them. Very well done, in my opinion.
What I didn't like. I found Oliver's presence in the beginning very confusing. Kate claimed this young boy was her brother, but he seemed more like a servant. He slept in the kitchen and was raised by the cook. I wanted to know a bit more about Oliver and why he didn't live or interact with the rest of the family, except Kate. But that is just my curious nature being overactive again. Overall, a great love story about a girl who must learn to make her own happiness and freedom despite the cages others would attempt to construct around her.
About Julianne Donaldson
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.
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