Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Product Details

Rating: ***– 3.5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Romance

BOOK SUMMARY:  Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never 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.

REVIEWER COMMENTS: I absolutely loved this author’s first novel, Edenbrooke, so I was very excited to read this one, which stands on its own, but has a lot of the same elements such as the time period, the location, and the genre. My expectations ran way too high so I was doomed to be disappointed. Maybe if I hadn’t read Edenbrooke first, Blackmoore would have rated higher. It is still wonderfully written but in comparison to the first one, it falls short. I found the main character, Kate, often selfish and annoying. I liked her love interest, Henry. He is sweet, kind,  considerate and with an intelligent wit. The rest of the characters were uninteresting or simply mean. The story was borderline depressing in several places and yet the romance component, while not as strong, managed to keep me turning the pages. The ending is lovely and it sorts of made the whole book for me. As expected, Donaldson stunned me with her perfectly composed regency writing style and her ability to convey such passion while keeping the story clean and proper. 

SEXUAL CONTENT: A few passionate kisses.

*Conclusion: A beautifully written regency romance that I recommend.

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Product Details

 

Rating: *****– 5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Romance

BOOK SUMMARY:  Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

REVIEWER COMMENTS: I read this book twice in a week. Set in England in the early 1800’s, this is regency romance at its best. Donaldson’s writing style satisfies even the most traditional of Jane Austen’s fandom. The main characters, Marianne and Philip, engage in a friendship/relationship which is beautifully paced, and full of deep and witty dialogues that hold the reader hostage until the last page is turned. Marianne is the shy less-than perfectly beautiful character who’s been overlooked all her life, and finds someone way above her station who sees her and appreciates her for who she is. While this concept has been popularly used in fiction, it is still new and fresh in this story. I found Marianne’s humility and cluelessness about the power of her charms endearing, and Philip’s love for her pure and sincere. The romantic element is strong and filled with passion and yet it stays within the lines of propriety of that era. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this book is. You just have to read it yourself!

SEXUAL CONTENT: A few passionate kisses.

*Conclusion: The best regency romance I’ve read so far. Highly recommended!

Love finds you in New Orleans, Louisiana, by Christa Allan

Product Details

Rating: ***– 3.5 Stars

GENRE: Historical Fiction/Romance

BOOK SUMMARY: 1841. Ever since her parents died of yellow fever when she was a child, Charotte LeClerc has lived with her grandparents, who rarely speak of their son and his wife. They are on the verge of negotiating a marriage contract with a suitor, a man Charlotte loathes, when they discover that she enjoys the company of Gabriel Girod, a young Creole man.

Charlotte’s future hangs in the balance as her grandparents consider whether to stop keeping secrets and reveal the truth that they’ve known since before her birth — a truth that will make the difference between a life of obligation and a life of choice for Charlotte.

REVIEWER COMMENTS: I was absolutely in love with this book from the get-go. Since page one, I came to appreciate the descriptive language, the attention to details, and the historical component that filled the pages of this novel. I even took the time to do my own research of the  southern culture in the 1800’s, particularly new Orleans’, and I was hooked. And as I continued along, I was enchanted by the main characters, Gabriel and Charlotte, an exquisite couple, and their devotion, the difficulties they had to overcome, and how masterfully described their innocent forbidden love was.

And then, came the anticlimactic end -to say the least.  After all our favorite couple had to overcome not to be apart, we do not even see a detailed description of their much anticipated reunion. How disappointing! It was like finding a waterfall in the desert, to then discover it was just a mirage. That is how dry the ending was, and we are left with a journal entry that summarizes what Lottie and Gabriel are up to a couple of years later. How did Lottie feel when she realized that she was finally free to marry the man she loved? How was the kiss that sealed it all? What was the proposal like? This is all left to the reader’s imagination, which is not what a romance novel should do..!

SEXUAL CONTENT: A couple of kisses.

ADULT LANGUAGE: While this novel is based on some adult themes that are typical of the culture of the time, nothing is described in detail.

*Conclusion:  3.5 stars for a beautifully written historical romance, which I absolutely recommend with all my heart (even with the lukewarm ending)!

Note: while there is a religious undertone, I would not consider this a Christian novel.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Frederica

Rating: ** –2.5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Fiction

BOOK SUMMARY: When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society. Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising – and altogether entertaining – country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled…

REVIEWER COMMENTS: If you want to be taken to Regency England, then, this is the book for you. Heyer is a master in her narrative style which is like a time machine that transports the reader into the streets of London of over 200 years ago. And that alone, is no small task. That is why I had such a hard time with this review: how can I be objective about a book that I did not enjoy much, but was written masterfully? A novel that is sometime considered as pure literary genius? So while many may disagree, I am just going to tell you how this book affected me: I just did not like the story, nor the characters. I found the dialogues often overdrawn and Frederica herself a bit annoying. The romance also does not take center stage, and while this might not bother some people, it was disappointing for me.

SEXUAL CONTENT: None (only a couple of kisses)

ADULT LANGUAGE: None

*Conclusion: If you are looking for a literary work of fiction that is true to the Regency period, then, you will really enjoy this book. However, if you are looking for a period romance novel, you may be disappointed.

Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer

Product Details

Rating: ***3 Stars

GENRE: Regency Romance

BOOK SUMMARY:  For her, he would do anything…

Plainspoken country gentleman Philip Jettan won’t bother with a powdered wig, high heels, and fashionable lace cuffs, until he discovers that his lovely neighbor is enamored with a sophisticated man-about-town…

But what is it that she really wants?

Cleone Charteris sends her suitor Philip away to get some town polish, and he comes back with powder, patches, and all the manners of a seasoned rake. Does Cleone now have exactly the kind of man she’s always wanted, or was her insistence on Philip’s remarkable transformation a terrible mistake?

REVIEWER COMMENTS: Very fun and humorous regency romance story set in 18th Century England. The writing is as authentic as it comes (you will actually feel as your are reading an Austen or Bronte book) and the characters are interesting and witty. I very much liked Philip and Cleone’s story and how their romance develops but while reading it, I was haunted by this question: why does Philip actually fall in love with Cleone? What is it about her that inspires him to make such a drastic change in himself and his lifestyle?  By the end, I was still confused…

SEXUAL CONTENT: None (only a couple of kisses)

ADULT LANGUAGE: None

*Conclusion: Georgette Heyer is a master regency romance writer. If you are a fan of Austen and Bronte, then you will find yourself engrossed in her narrative of the time period’s lifestyle and dialogues. Enjoy!

An Improper Suitor by Monica Fairview

Product Details

Rating: *** – 3.5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Romance

BOOK SUMMARY: A lady in possession of an independent fortune has no need for a husband. Miss Julia Swifton, secure in that belief, has made no attempt to search for one, even after three seasons in London. That is until her grandmother, an advocate of women’s rights, rises from her deathbed and threatens, of all things, to marry her to a notorious rake, Lord Thorwynn. Shocked into action, Julia launches into a search for an intelligent, scholarly husband who will suit her. On her way she has to rescue a fallen “angel,” save a rake from being forced into marriage, defeat an unscrupulous gamesmaster who needs to seduce her for money, and avert a friend’s disastrous runaway marriage. Fortunately, she does not have to do it alone. Even if her companion, Lord Thorwynn, is the last person she would ever want to marry (Amazon.com Book Description).

REVIEWER COMMENTS: I have loved other novels by Monica Fairview (see my reviews of The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins) but this one lacked a little. The writing was still superb and Fairview managed to offer an entertaining plot and an overall clean romantic tale set in 18th Century England. Thorwynn and Julia’s story was interesting enough, however, I found myself not particularly fond of these main characters, and how their love story comes to its peak at the end.

SEXUAL CONTENT: None (only a couple of kisses) but there are references to premarital relations.

ADULT LANGUAGE: None

*Conclusion: I would still recommend this book if you are looking for a nice historical romance to read over the weekend.

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

The Girl in the Gatehouse

Rating: *** – 3.5 Stars

GENRE: Regency Romance

BOOK SUMMARY: Banished from the only home she’s ever known, Mariah Aubrey hides herself away in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative’s estate. There she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how –by writing novels in secret. When Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate, he is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse. But there are many things he doesn’t know about this beguiling outcast. Will he risk his plans –and his heart – for a woman shadowed by scandal?

REVIEWER COMMENTS: If you are looking for a clean and refreshing historical romance set in 18th Century England, this is it! Mariah’s story is fascinating and while the romance is slow to develop, it does reach a climax that does not disappoint. The author is also inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion in several of the characters and the scenes in the book, which I very much enjoyed. I also loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

SEXUAL CONTENT: None (only a couple of kisses), but there are references to premarital relations.

ADULT LANGUAGE: None

*Conclusion: So why the 3.5 stars? Even though I finished this book in 2 days, I did not love it as much as other novels of the same genre I have read. The chemistry between the main characters and the development of their love story was not as compelling as I would have liked. However, it was definitely worth reading and enjoyable.  

Note: while this may be referred to as a Christian novel, I did not find a strong Christian element in this book aside from a couple of Bible verses and some references to God’s forgiveness.