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on April 20, 2012
Extremely satisfying!

This book was such a pleasant surprise to a reader getting tired of the 'same old thing' with regency romances. I didn't want porn... I wanted a story that could capture my imagination, wouldn't butcher the time period, and had characters you could believe actually fell in love. This was the book to fit all of those criteria! Donaldson created such a wonderful world to escape into with excellent character development and storyline. This is a very well written book that you will find yourself falling in love with! I started re-reading passages immediately after finishing the book because I did not want to leave the story.

Anticipating her next book greatly!

Donaldson writes in a commentary at the end of her book that Georgette Heyer was one of her influences. I adore Heyer's books and Edenbrooke had a very similar feel with the exceptions that it moves a lot quicker and there is more of a love story in Edenbrooke than Heyer put into her longer novels (something I always wished for more of). As stated above, you really feel like these characters could realistically fall in love.

The hero wears his heart on his sleeve while still being masculine and the heroine is daring and unconventional while still being true to the era and social constraints on a female.

Highly recommend this book (one you will want on your shelf and your Kindle)!
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on April 5, 2012
From the moment I began reading Edenbrooke (which was originally lent to me by a neighbor and since purchased for my own collection) I could NOT put it down. I am a huge fan of all things Jane Austen, and I must admit I was sceptical about reading something that I suspected would have too many 21st century ideas mixed into it, or worse, too many barrowed Austen themes. However, I was happily surprised to find that Donaldson did an incredible job of bringing to life every detail of what I love about the Regency period...all while making it identifiable to us in this modern age. Donaldson's language is a bit easier to follow than Austen's books, but without losing the authenticity of the period. And Edenbrooke is a story all in it's own. An original. I was absolutely transported back in time and felt like I was living every moment with Marianne, as if I was right there in the room with her on each page. I felt her every heartbreak and all of her anguish, and also all of her joy and happiness. Her character is so relatable to the "normal" woman with self doubt and insecurities. And even now, after finishing the book two weeks ago, I find that Phillip creeps into my thoughts and I have fallen in love with his character!! This is a MUST READ for any romantic!
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on April 20, 2012
My first review EVER...but I couldn't miss commenting on this one! So far this book has perfect reviews and I still have to add my 5 stars too! Such a wonderful read! Lot's of delicious, but clean, romance...which makes the tension ten times better. Soooo happy! Still smiling after a great read! Can't wait for more books by this author!
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on April 15, 2012
My daughter and I both started this book today on Kindle and it was a race to the finish. We both love Regency era novels and found this one delightful. As a mother of a teenager, I loved that she and I could read a book together that portrayed appropriate love. It was fun to listen to her giggle at parts as we sat next to each other to read. A wonderful debut for Ms. Julianne.
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VINE VOICEon September 9, 2012
Marianne Daventry likes to twirl. But since her mother's death a year ago, she can't remember the last time she has. With her grieving father in France and her social-scheming twin sister Cecily in London, Marianne was sent to live in Bath with her grandmother. The social hub of England was intended to brighten her spirits, but instead she pines for country life and dreads the unwanted attentions of a much older suitor. So when the invitation from Cecily arrives to spend summer at the great estate Edenbrooke, Marianne quickly accepts, grandmother's conditions aside. One highwayman attack, a mysterious gentleman and several failed ladylike attempts later, Marianne's summer couldn't be more exciting or confusing. Will she be able to figure out her own heart before it's too late?

Frankly, I'm still surprised that I picked up Edenbrooke at all. I avoid most Austen readalikes and continuing stories like the plague. Whether squeaky clean or more graphic, I have no desire to read anything Austenesque that is going to be cheesy, fluffy, or pale in comparison to the original source material. It was only when a few of my non-blogging friends started raving about Edenbrooke on GoodReads that I decided to give it a try.

Long story short: I loved Edenbrooke, which did feel somewhat like an Austen romance. Many strictly Austen film adaptation fans will prefer this modern version, which focuses on Marianne's romance and moves at a faster pace without sacrificing characterization or losing its Regency-inspired prose. That said, Julianne Donaldson is heavily inspired, if only superficially, by Austen's best known works, and I couldn't help pointing out every single similarity. Afterall, Marianne Dashwood is similar to Marianne Daventry, and Marianne shares her love of nature and reading with Elizabeth Bennet. There is also the wealthy, single heir, the grand estate, the prettier older sister, love letters, matchmaking and more. Thankfully the main plotline is original, and it's hard to see any of Austen's heroes in Marianne's love interest. Speaking of Wyndham he is an outrageous flirt, which produces plenty of both witty and cheesy dialogue, not to mention awkward situations. The fact that his relationship with Marianne is completely clean doesn't detract from the palpable sexual tension. Believe me, sometimes smoldering stares, longing glances and hand clasping IS hotter. I realize summer in particular calls for light, fun romances, but Edenbrooke is the perfect anytime read. Anytime you're down on reading or real life, it's historical romantic comedy in book form with just enough predictability and fantasy to leave you completely satisfied. I will be returning to it as needed.
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on March 27, 2012
This book was so good! I enjoyed every page in one day, I just couldn't put it down. Normally not one to enjoy, or even read, regency era books I was pleasantly surprised by how I was drawn in by the first page through to the end. Great debut book and I'm looking forward to reading more from her. Read this.....and twirl if you will.
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on March 24, 2012
I could not put this wonderfully romantic book down!!! LOVED IT!! Amazing characters and beautifully written!! I enjoyed the surprising twists and turns the story took. I loved getting caught up in Edenbrooke!!
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on April 11, 2012
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. This is an amazing, romantic book. I started this book last evening and ended up staying up till 2am to finish reading this book. I have read good books recently, but none since 2010, when I finished the Twilight series, that made me sit up and continue reading way past my bedtime. If you like clean, regency novels with great romantic heroes (Phillip....Sigh) than don't miss this book. I am also shocked that this is the author's debut novel. I look forward to more of her books in the future.
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2012
Any fan of Jane Austen will surely love this debut by Julianne Donaldson. I read Edenbrooke in one sitting ( a first for me this year) because it was so good. It's a very sweet tale that will appeal not only to teens but adults as well. I can see Julianne having a great future in the romance genre, specifically historical romance. She's an author to watch, and her writing is very refreshing. Edenbrooke will give you that warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of your stomach, and when you finish, you'll be craving more.

The heroine, Marianne Deventry is staying with her grandmother in Bath, England. Marianne is bored silly. She misses her father and her charming and beautiful twin sister, Cecily. Marianne has been in Bath for fourteen months, ever since her mother died. Her father left Marianna with her grandmother while he went off to France to grieve. Cecily has been with their cousin Edith in London, enjoying the social scene there. Marianne is very different from her sister. She likes to read and paint. She also had this adorable and childish habit of twirling when she's happy. But Marianne hasn't had much to twirl about. She misses her father and wants to go home but can't. She feels rejected and alone. But then word comes from Cecily, inviting her to come stay with Cecily's dear friend Louisa at her family estate of Edenbrooke. Marianne is thrilled because she'll see Cecily again and meet Louisa's older brother who Cecily plans on marrying.

Marianne expects a wonderful adventure, but she gets more than she bargains for when a highway man tries to rob her carriage. He gets away and almost ends up killing her driver. Marianne finds a local inn and asks for help. Whom she first comes in contact at first is incredibly rude. The man is some lofty gentleman who's condescending toward her and doesn't lend a hand. But eventually after her driver is taken care of, the gentleman apologies and through some innocent flirting on his part, Marianne begins to thaw around him. He introduces himself as Philip but won't give her any more information about himself. Finding the entire situation odd, Marianne leaves for Edenbrooke not expecting to see the mysterious Philip again. But she does. Philip was having some fun at her expense. He's Louise's older brother. The same older brother Cecily is in love with and wants to marry.

Out of respect for Cecily's feelings, she'll keep Philip at a distance. Philip wants to make amends for his rudeness and goes out of his way to be Marianne's friend. Marianne thinks he's only being kind toward her because of Cecily who will arrive at Edenbrooke in a few days. But as she and Philip keep each other company, she can't help but start to care for him. But then she finds out a big secret Philip is hiding and her heart is broken in two. Now she must put her guards back up around Philip who she can't help but want as her own regardless of her sister's intentions.

Edenbrooke is a book that had me at hello. Marianne is a beautifully written protagonist. I was enthralled with her from the first page. She has this innocent sweetness to her that you can't help but smile about. You'll also want to hug Marianne because she feels she's limited because of her looks and her simple nature.

Philip at first will give you the same reaction Marianne has toward him. He comes across as a snob, but the moment Marianne arrives at Edenbrooke and spends time with him, you will become smitten with him. Philip is a big flirting rogue where Marianne is concerned, but it's his way of courting her. Marianne is so oblivious to Philip's feelings, which is frustrating because she doesn't tell him how she feels and listens to gossip concerning Philip in a not so nice light. She also overhears something that comes close to destroying her inside. But then again, seeing as how Marianne is a very innocent seventeen year old and the time and setting, it makes sense that Marianne wouldn't admit her thoughts to Philip, especially when she hears different stories from others. Poor Marianne is confused about her feelings for this man and it becomes worse for her because of Cecily who appears to have claimed Philip for her own.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the underlying sensuality to the story, mainly from Philip. His smoldering stares and respectful but almost calculating touches toward Marianne makes this all the more enjoyable. The buildup of wanting between these two leads to a nice awwww worthy ending.

Edenbrooke receives high marks from me. It's a near perfect romance with a heroine who touched my heart, including her love interest who allows her to shine and show the world her inner beauty she hides inside. This is one book I wouldn't pass up. Do yourself a favor and buy Edenbrooke.

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on March 26, 2012
Julianne Donaldson's Edenbrooke was perfect. From the moment that I saw the cover, I knew that this would be one of my favorite reads in 2012. I read blurbs that described Edenbrooke as a love story for Jane Austen and Downton Abbey fans. Funny, it's like the words were speaking to me. Donaldson did not disappoint in this wonderful romance fit for a weekend read.

Separated from her twin after her mother's death, Marianne Daventry lives a lonely life in Bath. Her father will not return home, and her dear sister lives a different life in London. Marianne is accompanied by her grandmother, who is exactly Marianne's ideal companion. She is invited, extended through her sister, to spent time in Edenbrooke. Marianne's grandmother expects her to learn about proper etiquette and her sister expects accompaniment to woo the affection of Edenbrooke's lord. What Marianne doesn't expect to learn is something far more valuable than anything she's ever known.

Marianne Daventry stole my heart when she first appeared on the page. I related to her, regardless of the time that Edenbrooke was set in. Marianne has a kindred spirit, one that I quickly connected with. Marianne twirls! Sure, it gets her in trouble, but what other heroine has enough free spirit and carefree attitude to twirl? None that I've read recently. She is extremely loyal and kind, and I hopelessly wished that she was real to become bosom friends with.

Trying not to spoil anything, I need to talk about the romance factor of Edenbrooke. Donaldson wrote this love story with real affection and an open heart. My heart did many, many fluttering motions while reading about Marianne. I felt the slow blush as she did, and all of the other moments that would make a girl swoon. Trust me readers, you do not want to miss this one!

The world within Bath and the grounds at Edenrbooke was described similar to the cover. The subtle and understated beauty of the garden complimented the rich and lush details of the grand estate itself. From the descriptions of the estate, to the details of the surrounding gardens, everything allowed me to place myself in 1800 England. I was transported into this romantic time, and I was sad when I had to go back.

Donaldson's writing is familiar, comforting me through the words and emotions that she chooses for each page. Marianne's voice is sweet and innocent, fitting for a young lady from Bath. The dialogue between the characters was reminiscent of words from Austen, but with a distinct and individual character. Donaldson has her own style, and it is very evident throughout Edenbrooke.

My heart felt all the warm moments of a great romance. I could not put Edenbrooke down, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Like I said earlier today, this is a must have in your library.
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