Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review of Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

I absolutely loved reading Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson! It has so much depth and passion and romance and suspense and mystery all rolled up into one! There is a perfect balance of tragedy intermingled with the sweet love that is thinly veiled within the stubborn heart of a young woman trying to find her place in the world. What Kate’s heart longs for is always obscured beneath what she thinks she wants and what she knows is expected of her. Set in northern England in the 1820’s, Blackmoore is a house, more of a castle, perched precariously between the moors and the ocean. The cold, foreboding nature to the structure is suppressed by Kate’s love for the home she sees in her dreams. But Blackmoore is not all she expected. Having longed to go there all her life, she keeps a romantic notion in her heart of what it will be like. The unenthusiastic welcome she experiences at Blackmoore barely overshadows her excitement. Even as she is mistreated by the haughty guests, she finds solace and excitement by exploring the many rooms and secret passageways just as she had always imagined. What I hadn’t expected about the story was how many layers there were to the characters. Expertly taking the reader deep into the characters’ pasts, Julianne Donaldson gradually shows the reader why Kate behaves the way she does. The reader watches as Kate plunges through experiences she doesn’t want to relive and wishes she could forget. I cried several times while feeling Kate’s pain and struggles. I cringed as she was hurting and felt the passion she slowly allowed to flow between herself and her childhood friend, Henry. The tension is palpable throughout the book as the reader experiences Henry’s unrequited love for Kate. But the story itself is nearly lost in Julianne’s writing. The images she creates with her words are exquisite. I was swept away into Kate’s world for just a few short days since I couldn’t put the book down! I can’t wait to read it again! Have you read Blackmoore? What’s your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Read Julianne Donaldson's other novel Edenbrooke.

Read my book review of Edenbrooke here: Book Review of Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Book Review of Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

In no uncertain terms, I absolutely loved Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson! I read it twice back-to-back! That doesn’t happen to me very often because I almost always have a stack of books waiting for me. I loved the relationship between Marianne and Philip from the first time they met to the final pages. He is the type of guy that every girl dreams to someday meet, and she is vulnerable and stubborn and clumsy and normal. She thinks that she is everything he would never want in a future wife and yet those qualities are what draws him to her. Although the book in and of itself was a little predictable, there were twists in turns in the plot which kept the story interesting. There was also a healthy use of foreshadowing to help the reader piece together what led up to the final harrowing climax. But it didn’t end there as it very well could have. Julianne did a great job of wrapping the ending up with a neat little bow and making the reader feel comforted. It promoted a feeling that love does exist in the world, that chivalry is not far away, and that the good guy can win in the end. There were parts where I was moved nearly to tears, parts where I was afraid for the safety of my favorite characters, and parts where I was drawn in to the romance and was able to lose myself in Marianne’s world. I loved the complexity of Marianne’s relationship with her maid Betsy. It was like Marianne didn’t come to realize how closely she needed Betsy’s friendship until she was rejected by those who she thought she could count on. Even though Betsy annoyed her in the beginning of the story, she came to love her more as a sister and realized that Betsy was one of the only girls who stood by her through all the ups and downs. I loved the way Marianne realized in the end that she was brave and beautiful and confident even though it took breaking through her own insecurities and feelings of inadequacies in order for her to get to that point. I loved the way she concluded that she didn’t have to change who she was in order to find real happiness, and that being a refined young lady wasn’t all that it was seemed on the surface. This is only the second book I’ve read by Julianne Donaldson and I look forward to many years of her future writings. Have you read Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson? What’s your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Read Julianne Donaldson's other novel, Blackmoore:

Read my book review of Blackmoore here: Book Review of Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson.

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer