Aug 082018

Secrets, Bargains, and Escaping Cages

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Birthday Gift

TYPE OF NOVEL: Traditional Regency Romance

TIME FRAME: Lancashire and Yorkshire England, 1820


  • Kate Worthington: Doesn’t want to marry, would rather travel to India with her unmarried aunt
  • Henry Delafield: Kate’s childhood friend who will one day inherit his Grandfather’s estate, Blackmoore

SYNOPSIS: Every summer Kate’s best friend Sylvia and her older brother Henry travel to Blackmoore for a month-long holiday. For years Kate has been desperate to be invited so she can see the ocean and moors for the first time in her life and discover if there are indeed smugglers and ghosts that haunt the area. Finally when Kate is seventeen, she receives her first invitation to visit Blackmoore. And if Kate has her way, after her sojourn in the north she will meet up with her aunt and travel to India. However, Kate’s mother refuses to consent to her traveling to India unless she proves she is serious about not marrying – by receiving and rejection three marriage proposals. About to embark to Blackmoore and enjoy its pleasures firsthand, Kate now has difficult mission to accomplish…


  • A Spirited Heroine: Poor Kate feels trapped in a cage, and sadly has never felt wanted or loved. But at the same time, Kate is afraid of love because she fears it will put her in a cage and create more heartache. Kate’s sad predicament instantly endeared her to me. Especially when I started to feel that she was in love, yet resigned to the fact that any future would be impossible. In addition, I enjoyed Kate’s thirst for adventure and her passion in music and birds. Like a bird she must be handled gently and longs to fly away.
  • A Romantic Hero: For years now, Henry’s future has been all arranged – he is to inherit Blackmoore and marry Miss St. Claire. And yet, Henry’s heart is leading him in another direction… I absolutely adored Henry! He is playful, sympathetic, and thoughtful. I loved his interactions with Kate, especially their moments along together. He has been such a true and loyal friend to her all these years, and his selflessness and vulnerability made him completely swoon-worthy!
  • A History Unraveled: I love that we learn about significant moments of Kate’s and Henry’s past together through interspersed flashbacks. Not only do we learn why Kate took a vow against marriage and why she no longer wants anyone to call her Kitty, but we also witness some tender and pivotal moments between Kate and Henry. Moments that are achingly beautiful and heart-wrenching.
  • Bargains and Bargains: In order for Kate to accomplish her end of the bargain with her mother she in turn, makes a bargain with Henry! But the stakes are high because if Kate loses the bargain with her mother something much worse than not going to India happens… Oh my! This was an riveting and intense series of events! And at times I truly wasn’t sure how it would all play out.
  • Vivid Landscape: How well Ms. Donaldson can paint a picture with her words! Just like in Edenbrooke, this story takes place at a beautiful estate. And I was completely enchanted by all the lovely scenery – the moors, the beach at moonlight, the ruined abbey. With such detailed descriptions it was easy to picture not only the scenes of the story, but Blackmoore itself.


Absolutely nothing! Although, compared to Edenbrooke this story a little less lighthearted. But since the ending was utterly satisfying, I didn’t mind the more poignant journey.


Blackmoore is a beautifully expressive and exquisitely composed Regency romance that is sure to delight readers who adore stories set in Regency England and hard-won, heart-stopping romances. I highly recommend!

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  13 Responses to “Blackmoore – Julianne Donaldson”


    Excellent review, Meredith! I agree with your points. I did like Edenbrooke a bit more (I think because it was a little more lighthearted), but both are books I didn’t want to put down. I am hoping Julianne Donaldson comes out with another book sometime soon. She really knows how to get the reader absorbed into her stories.


      Thanks, Jakki! I so agree! I read this one in under 24 hours and loved every minute of it! I did see that Julianne Donaldson was supposed to publish a new book last year, but instead might be working on something else for this year. I hope we see some more Regency from her soon!


    Great review Meredith. I read Edenbrooke and enjoyed it so I’ll definitely have to read this. I love atmospheric stories and who doesn’t love stately homes and moonlit gardens!!


    I’m so happy to see you loved this! I haven’t read it yet, but since a couple friends didn’t enjoy it (compared to Edenbrooke) I was a little hesitant. Now I know it will be a good read anyway!


      I did love it!!! And I think it was just as lovely as Edenbrooke! It’s kind of like comparing to Jane Austen works, maybe we have a favorite, but both are wonderful and worthy!! I hope you will give it a try, and I hope you love it as much as I did! 🙂


    Lovely reviews. Just wish I had more time to read and I read so much as it is. Impossible to read all these wonderful stories I find reviewed. Thanks for sharing.


    I picked up both Edenbrooke and Blackmoore after reading this review. I also read “the Heir to Edenbrooke” on my iPad since it was a prequel. What a pleasure to read these books! Thank you for pointing them out and reviewing them. I loved both – Blackmoore was a bit more harsh, but still a wonderful and enchanting book! I wish the author would write more books in this time period someday soon.


    I’ve listened to the last 1/2 hour of this book twice just to see if I missed something. Why, when Henry had to give up Blackmoore, does the book finish with his child calling it “home.”

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