Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF NOVEL: Traditional Regency Romance
SETTING: Bath and Kent, England 1816
MAIN CHARACTERS: Marianne Daventry (country-loving, artless, fond of twirling, and not an elegant lady) and Philip Wyndham (charming, flirtatious, devastatingly handsome and full of secrets)
SYNOPSIS: Marianne and her twin sister, Cecily, receive invitations to a beautiful estate called Edenbrooke. While Marianne, who finds Bath dull and suffocating, is simply excited to spend some time in the country amongst nature, Cecily is sure this trip will lead to a marriage proposal from Lord Wyndham, heir to Edenbrooke, whom she’s met in London. Marianne first couple of days at Edenbrooke are ones of blissful happiness and budding friendship. But when Cecily arrives and the truth unravels, Marianne desperately wishes to leave paradise known as Edenbrooke.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Emotionally Invested: This story had me spell-bound – I read it one day (and thought about it all day while at work!). And then I reread my favorite passages almost instantly after I finished it. But aside to being completely riveting, what I loved most was how I became wrapped up in these characters. This is one of the stories where I felt my eyes sting with tears, my breath hitch in my throat, and my heart ache with pain for these characters. Such wonderfully emotive writing!
- Marianne Daventry: Marianne instantly found her way into my heart and earned my unwavering admiration. She has so many praiseworthy qualities – I love that she thinks for herself, has a wry sense of humor, and is in possession of a pure and genuine heart. Her relationship with her sister is complicated – there’s some competitiveness and tension – but when it comes to family, Marianne is selfless and loyal to a fault. She is someone I want to both emulate and have as a best friend.
- Philip Wyndham: *swoon* I think Philip is up there with Darcy, Rochester, and Westley as my all-time favorite romantic heroes! Wow! I love Philip’s quiet intensity, protective nature, and rakishly flirtatious behavior…the combination is pretty sexy and utterly swoon-worthy! For me, the way he ardently falls in love and his consistently honorable actions made him completely irresistible.
- Bits of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer: In the back of the book we learn that Julianne Donaldson is a fan of both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Which didn’t surprise me one bit given the setting, tone, and the fact that the Philip and Marianne share some traits with some of Ms. Austen’s and Ms. Heyer’s beloved hero and heroines. Not to mention Philip’s less than stellar first impression with Marianne… 😉
- How It Unravels: At one point in the story, I smugly thought to myself “I can see the writing on the wall, I know where this is going.” Well, while I was right about some things, this story continued to surprise me all the way to the end. And that was delightful, I love that it wasn’t completely predictable and that the author threw readers a couple of curve balls.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Oh! That I didn’t read this lovely book sooner – shame on me!!!
Am I at the end of my review already? But I am nowhere near done singing this book’s praises! I haven’t mentioned the love letter, the painting, the rescue, or the persistent suitors…ah well, guess you will have to read Edenbrooke yourself to discover all its delightful pleasures! An arrestingly beautifully and exquisitely sincere romance – trust me, if you are a fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, you need to read this book!