May 2, 2014

A Proper Review for a Proper Romance
At a very young age, I fell in love with the idea of falling in love. Perhaps it was the nights sprawled beneath my mother's high bed frame, gazing up at her little television and Scarlett O'Hara, or maybe I am just a born romantic. Whatever the reason, I relish a new, exciting relationship with adventure and wit.

As a life-long avid reader, author, and former editor, good books that take me away are hard to find. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice put the stamp on proper yet heart pounding romance, and I'm afraid any other romance novel I read suffers by comparison. Cue hype about Julianne Donaldson's Edenbrooke. First, I love that sweet, clean romance has finally been attached to a stronger label: Proper. Proper romances are stories about meeting, connecting, sharing, and overcoming. They don't rely on salicious details or use intimate activity for shock value. A proper romance is about falling in love hard enough that we must have faith it will come to fruition.

In Edenbrooke, Marianne Daventry is anxious to leave Bath and join her sister in the country at the beautiful estate of Edenbrooke. Much to her surprise, a harrowing escape from harm lands her in the lap of one of its esteemed family members. Her arrival to the estate is quite the event since she's already met its heir, and their budding friendship proceeds with fun, folly and a few misunderstandings.   

Edenbrooke's hero is charming with no sullen mood swings or chauvinistic tendencies that need to be tamed. The storyline is classic but retains its own originality with real and kind everyday personalities.

Ms. Donaldson's writing is a refreshing twist on the standard Regency romance. She swims against
the mainstream current, writing in first person with a fresh, modern voice. While some have criticized this approach, I found it bound me emotionally tighter to the characters, plus I did not miss the usual cliche phrases and avaricious attempts to interject historical vocabulary found in most cookie cutter romance reads. 

Edenbrooke is a Regency romance reader's delight. I heartily recommend it with a heartfelt, Huzzah!

2012 Best Novel by a New Author — Whitney Awards
2012 Book of the Year Award Finalist — Foreword Magazine
2012 Honorable Mention — Great Southwest Book Festival

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