Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: Blackmoore

By Julianne Donaldson
Published: September 10, 2013

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain sooner rather than later 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.

My review:

I had the opportunity to read Edenbrooke earlier this year and I loved it. While Blackmoore is also set during the Regency, the story has a darker tone and less humor. The description of this book on Goodreads compared it to Wuthering Heights and Little Women "with a twist" and the synopsis on Barnes and Noble also compared it to the Bronte sisters. While the setting in in the moors of Northern England, that is where the similarities end.

Like Edenbrooke, Blackmoore also pays homage to Austen without trying to imitate her style. This book particularly reminded me of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park because of the mysterious setting and a few of the plot details. I thought the setting really added to the atmosphere of the book and I appreciated the descriptions of the estate and the ruins.

I really felt for Kate in this book. Her mother and Henry's mother both treat her abominably and her sisters behave like empty headed versions of her mother. It is because of the scandalous behavior of her mom and sister that Kate wants to flee to India though there is another reason that is gradually revealed. Her once close friendship with Henry's sister Sylvia has also been damaged and it is hard to see Kate come to that realization that Sylvia doesn't seem to care for her as much anymore. While I really felt bad for Kate,  I was disappointed by her behavior and decisions at times. She is supposed to be an intelligent character but she doesn't always come across that way. Kate does grow a little by the end of the novel which is good to see. She isn't perfect but I liked her anyway. 

Henry is a nice romantic interest, a decent and likable hero if not one who inspires strong emotions. He reminded me of Austen's Henry Tilney or Edmund Bertram. It is obvious that he has feelings for Kate but he continues to pursue someone else because Kate insists that she will not marry and his mother encourages him to look elsewhere. He is a good friend to Kate and I liked that their romance grew from a friendship. I did wish that Henry would stick up for Kate more. She was made to feel really unwanted at Blackmoore and it would have been nice if he had intervened more.

Overall I really liked Blackmoore though I thought Edenbrooke was a more enjoyable romance because of the humor and chemistry of the couple. If you are a fan of Regency romance and the idea of a "clean" love story appeals to you, then you should definitely check out Julianne Donaldson's novels.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher


  1. This sounds adorable...sometimes a Regency romance is the perfect read; plus, I like that the author doesn't imitate Austen...that's the worst when that happens. I really want to read Edenbrooke, so it seems that I will still stick with that one over Blackmoore. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I've heard that this story is a bit darker, which worries me as someone who loves a good comedy but I still think it will be worth it to read both this and Edenbrooke-they really sound like my kind of books!


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