“Inspirational publisher Shadow Mountain launches the G-rated Proper Romance line (romance at its 'very best' and at its 'cleanest,' the introduction promises) with this delightful and completely engrossing Heyeresque Regency debut. The newly widowed Mr. Daventry sends his beautiful, elegant daughter Cecily to have a season in London and ships her 'quiet and dull' twin, Marianne, to her grandmother's home in Bath. When Marianne is allowed to visit the beautiful Edenbrooke estate and reunite with Cecily, she is overjoyed, despite her anxiety about the social niceties she abhors. But her journey turns tumultuous and she unexpectedly meets Philip, a devastatingly handsome man with an irresistible sense of humor and a great many secrets. When Philip's true identity is revealed, Marianne must confront her fears as well as her growing affection for him. This beautiful love story will warm (only) the reader's heart.” — Publishers Weekly
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.
Praise for Edenbrooke:
“A heart-pounding love story. I couldn't stop turning the pages until I finished it. A must-read for all romantics!” — Mary Mull, wife of New York Times bestselling author Brandon Mull
“Edenbrooke is so much more than a page-turning tale of love and intrigue. It's the kind of book you read time and time again and recommend to everyone.” — Kodi Wright, wife of New York Times bestselling author Jason F. Wright
“Edenbrooke combines charming characters and a lovely setting for a delightful read. It was hard to put down!” — Lynette Dashner, wife of New York Times bestselling author James Dashner
- 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
- Size: 6 x 9
- Pages: 240
- Released: 03/2012
- Book on CD: Unabridged, 7 discs
- Run Time: Approx. 9 hours
About the Author
Debut novelist Julianne Donaldson is a hopeless romantic. Her degree in English has only fueled her passion to write. She and her husband live in Salt Lake City, Utah, with their four children, but she takes every opportunity she can to travel the English countryside.
I knew my mouth was open, but I could not seem to find the strength to close it. Forty thousand pounds! I had no idea Grandmother was that wealthy.
“Of course,” she continued, “there is no estate attached to it, but hopefully you will marry into one. The least you could do with my fortune is try to achieve a brilliant match.” She stood and walked to her writing desk. “I know the Wyndhams. I will write to Lady Caroline myself and accept the invitation on your behalf. A fortnight will leave us just enough time to have new gowns made for you. We must begin preparations immediately.”
She sat at her desk and pulled a piece of paper toward her. I could not seem to move. The course of my life had just changed, with no warning and no pause.
She glanced up. “Well? What do you have to say?”
I swallowed. “I . . . I don’t know what to say.”
“You might start with thank you.”
I smiled weakly. “Of course I’m grateful, Grandmother. I am only . . . overwhelmed. I’m not sure I am suitable for this responsibility.”
“That is the point of this visit to Edenbrooke—to make yourself suitable. The Wyndhams are a very respected family. You could learn much from being with them. In fact, that is my stipulation. I will have you become a proper young lady, Marianne. You will write to me while you are there and tell me what you are learning, or else I will call you back here and train you myself.”
My thoughts were whirling, and I could hardly grasp onto one long enough to make sense of it.
“You look pale,” Grandmother said. “Go upstairs and lie down. You will find your balance soon enough. But do not mention a word of this inheritance to that maid of yours! It is not the sort of information you want others to know about at this time. If you cannot discourage a simpleton like Mr. Whittles, you will be helpless against other, more cunning men who will be after your fortune. Let me decide when to make this news known. I still have to notify that nephew of mine.”
I shook my head. “Of course I will not tell anyone.” I chewed on my lower lip. “But what about Aunt Amelia’s inheritance? And Cecily’s?”
She waved a hand dismissively. “Amelia’s portion is independent of yours. Don’t worry about her. And Cecily does not need a fortune to make a brilliant match—you do.”
This inheritance was born of pity? Because Grandmother did not think I could marry without it? I felt I should be embarrassed about this revelation, but I felt singularly unmoved, as if an important conduit between my mind and heart had been severed. I walked slowly toward the door. Perhaps I did need to lie down a while.
I opened the door and was nearly bowled over by Mr. Whittles. He must have been leaning on the door, for he stumbled, off-balance, into the room.
“Pardon me!” he exclaimed.
“Mr. Whittles!” I stepped backward quickly so as to avoid contact with him.
“I—I have returned for my poem. So that I might make the changes you suggested.”
I looked beyond him to see Aunt Amelia waiting in the hall. At least that explained his presence in the house. I took his poem from my pocket and handed it to him, being careful not to touch his hand. He bowed and thanked me four times as he backed out of the room and down the hall to the front door. The man was utterly ridiculous.
But at the sight of him, a feeling of excitement rushed through me, bridging the strange gap I had felt between my mind and heart. Never mind the inheritance—I would think on that later. I would soon be able to leave Bath, and hopefully never see Mr. Whittles again. I smiled and turned to run up the stairs. I had a letter to write.
I wrote to Cecily to accept her invitation, but I did not mention the inheritance. Despite Grandmother’s assurances, I could not believe that Cecily would be as indifferent about not inheriting a fortune as Grandmother felt about not leaving her one. I certainly couldn’t keep forty thousand pounds to myself while my twin sister enjoyed only a small dowry. It did not sit comfortably with me to be at such an unfair advantage.
But I decided, after a few days of worrying over it, that there would be plenty of time to work it out with Cecily in the future. After all, the fortune was not even mine at this point. And Grandmother was still spry. It could be years before the money came into my possession. For my part, I would tell no one of it until it actually became a reality.
The following two weeks passed in a blur of frenzied visits to dressmakers and milliners’ shops. I should have enjoyed all of the shopping, but the thought of being on display at Edenbrooke turned my pleasure into anxiety. What if I embarrassed Cecily in front of her future family? Perhaps she would regret inviting me. And could I possibly behave myself with the decorum that my grandmother expected of me? I worried over these matters until it was time to leave Bath.
On the morning of my departure, Grandmother took one look at me over breakfast and declared, “You look positively green, child. Whatever is the matter with you?”
I forced a small smile and said, “I am well. Only a little jittery, I suppose.”
“You had better not eat anything. You look like the type to become sick on long carriage rides.”
I remembered well the ride to Bath. I had been ill three times during the journey, once all over my boots. I definitely did not want to arrive at a strange house in that state.
“Perhaps you’re right,” I said, pushing away my plate. I had no appetite anyway.
“Before you leave, I have something I want to give you,” Grandmother said. She reached a trembling hand under the lace shawl she wore and withdrew a locket, which she handed to me.
I carefully opened the gold locket and caught my breath at what I saw inside. Framed within the delicate oval was a miniature painting of my mother. “Oh, Grandmother,” I breathed. “I’ve never seen this before! How old was she here?”
“Eighteen. It was done right before she married your father.”
So this was what my mother looked like when she was my age. I had no trouble imagining what excitement she must have caused in London, for she was a rare beauty. It was the only picture I had of my mother, as her other portraits still hung in the silent halls of my home in Surrey. I clasped the chain around my neck, feeling the locket settle against my skin with a comforting weight. Immediately my nervousness subsided, and I breathed more easily.
A servant announced that the carriage was ready. I stood, and Grandmother looked me over critically from head to toe before finally nodding her approval.
“Now, I want you to remember what you owe to your family name. Don’t do anything to disgrace me. Remember to wear your bonnet every time you go outside or you will freckle up. And one more thing—” She pointed one gnarled, heavy-knuckled finger at me and wagged it, her face set in a look of absolute seriousness. “Do not ever, ever . . . sing in front of an audience.”
I pressed my lips together and glared at her. “I hardly needed that last bit of advice.”
She chuckled. “No, I did not imagine you would. Who could forget the horror of the last time you performed?”
I felt myself blush in remembered embarrassment. Even though four years had passed since the evening of my first public recital, I still felt mortified every time I thought of it.
I bade good-bye to her and Aunt Amelia, eager to be on my way, but when I stepped outside, a familiar voice called my name. I cringed. Did I really have to endure Mr. Whittles one last time?
He walked toward me quickly, waving a piece of paper in the air. “I have brought you your revised poem. You are not leaving right now, are you?”
“I’m afraid I am. So this is good-bye, Mr. Whittles.”
“But—but my nephew is arriving today and has expressed an interest in meeting you. In fact, he came to Bath for that very purpose.”
I did not care to meet any of Mr. Whittles’s relations. I wanted to leave this place and never see him again.
“I’m sorry.” I gestured at the carriage, where a footman stood, holding the door open for me. “I cannot wait.”
His face fell, and for a moment something like deep disappointment flashed in his eyes. Then he grabbed my hand and lifted it to his mouth. The kiss he bestowed on my hand was so wet it actually left a mark on my glove. I turned away from him to hide my shudder of revulsion. An unfamiliar coachman nodded to me as I climbed inside the carriage, where Betsy awaited me with at least an hour’s worth of gossip, I was sure.
“Where is Grandmother’s coachman?” I asked Betsy.
“He has been laid up this past week with the gout, so your grandmother hired him.” She gestured with her chin toward the front of the carriage. “James is his name.”
I was rather relieved, actually, to see that it was not going to be a frail old man driving the carriage for twelve hours. This coachman looked much more robust, and he would probably get us there faster too. But Betsy pressed her lips together in disapproval.
“What is wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t wish to speak ill of your relations, Miss Marianne, but your grandmother should not have been so tightfisted about this journey. In my opinion, she should have hired another coachman, in addition to this one.”
I shrugged. There was nothing I could do about the arrangement, and as long as we reached our destination in safety, I would be content. After all, we would be traveling through the country, not on one of the main roads where we might anticipate danger.
As the carriage rolled forward through the streets, I looked out the window for a last view of the city. Now that I was leaving, I could grudgingly admit that Bath did have some beauty about it, especially with all the buildings made out of the same golden stone quarried from the nearby hills. The carriage wheels rolled over the cobblestone streets as we passed the early morning bathers who were on their way to try the waters.
Betsy suddenly leaned forward. “Is that Mr. Kellet?”
It was indeed the Nefarious Nephew, strolling past the Pump Room with his languid, devil-may-care attitude. He happened to glance our way as we passed him, and although I drew my head back quickly, he had evidently seen me, for he lifted his hat and smirked in my direction, which was his usual method of greeting me.
Thank heavens he had come today and not yesterday, when I would have had to witness his reaction to my grandmother’s news that she had cut him out of her will. I had escaped just in time. I could not escape Betsy’s conversation, though.
“I can’t tell you how I am looking forward to visiting Edenbrooke! I have heard what a grand estate it is, and I vow I will be happy to leave Bath, for there is nobody worth talking about here, and I daresay we will have a tremendous time in Kent.”
She continued talking in her nonstop fashion as we left Bath and rode through the hilly countryside. I was relieved to know that the secret of my inheritance was evidently still safe, for if Betsy had heard about it, she would have talked about nothing else.
As she chattered about the latest gossip she had acquired and her expectations for this “wonderful adventure,” she occasionally looked at the squab on her right. She paused every time she did, which was such a rare thing for her to do that I idly wondered what it was about that part of the carriage that interested her. But I could not find the energy to question her, because my stomach was in a constant state of upset.
We stopped at an inn around midday, but I still thought it unwise for me to eat. The next leg of our journey took us away from the main road, and as the afternoon progressed, my stomach continued to revolt. Grandmother’s carriage was old and not well-sprung, so I felt every bump and hole in the road.
That afternoon, the weather changed from sunny to overcast, the sky gray like a lid on an iron pot. My mood changed to reflect the weather, and a sense of unease settled over me. I touched my locket, reminding myself not to feel nervous. This was an exciting adventure. And no matter what the Wyndhams were like, Cecily would be there, and so there was nothing to worry about. Betsy’s chatter turned to light snoring as she dozed on the seat across from me. I looked out the window and thought about seeing Cecily again.
Before the accident that had claimed my mother, my life could have been a fairy tale. This is how it would have begun: Once upon a time there were twin girls born to a man and a woman who had longed for a child for years. These girls were the sun and the moon to them.
Cecily was the sun, and I was the moon. Though twins, we only looked as much alike as sisters sometimes do. It was clear, early on, that Cecily had received more than her fair share of beauty, and so she received more than her fair share of attention. And while I sometimes wished for my own light to shine with, I was accustomed to the way things were—to reflecting Cecily’s light. I had grown up being dwarfed by her brightness. And if I did not always relish my role of being the lesser light, at least I knew how to do it well. I knew how to let Cecily shine. I knew my place in my world.
But everything I knew about myself and my place shifted and tilted in the great upheaval following my mother’s death. Cecily went to London after the funeral; she had always wanted to live in Town, and Edith welcomed her with open arms. I would never have left my father. Cecily’s departure felt like nothing less than desertion.
Shortly thereafter, my father had abruptly announced that I would live in Bath with my grandmother. All of my protests were to no avail. He left the country for France and had been there ever since. Our family was broken into pieces. But I hoped that this trip to Edenbrooke might be an opportunity to set everything right. I would be with my sister again, and perhaps between the two of us we could persuade Papa to come home.
I pressed the locket close to my heart and felt a greater surge of hope. Surely my mother’s portrait had magical powers over my heart. Perhaps over my stomach as well, for I soon felt it calm and settle. Soon after, I dozed off myself while the carriage rocked and swayed.
I don’t know how long I slept, but I awoke with a jolt, disoriented for a moment in the dim light. I looked around, trying to discern what had awakened me. Betsy was snoring loudly, but she had been snoring before I fell asleep, so that could not have been what had awakened me. Then I realized the carriage had stopped. I peered out the window, wondering if we had arrived at Edenbrooke. I saw no lights, no grand house, not even an inn. I did notice, however, that the sky had cleared, and a bright full moon illuminated the scene.
A loud shot erupted in the silence. I jumped, startled. A man cried out, and the carriage jerked forward, then stopped again.
Betsy stirred. “What was that?” she mumbled.
I pressed my face to the window. Two eyes stared back at me from behind the glass. I screamed. The carriage door was wrenched open and a large, dark shadow filled the doorway.
“Stand and deliver!” The voice was deep and muffled.
I had heard of highwaymen and knew what I should do. I was supposed to alight from the carriage and hand over all my jewels and money. Yet at the sound of the threatening voice, some instinct warned me that it would be foolish to leave the protection of the carriage.
I fumbled for my reticule and threw it out the open doorway. “There. There is my money. Take it and leave.”
But the masked man ignored the money, grabbing instead at my neck.
I shrieked, pulled away, and heard a snap. I saw a glint of metal chain dangling from the robber’s fingers before he clenched his hand tightly into a fist. My necklace. My locket. My only picture of my mother. I lunged for it, but he held it out of reach, laughing lightly.
And then I saw what he held in his other hand. A pistol.
“Now, step out of the carriage.”
He spoke in a voice so soft it chilled me to the bone. Cold sweat seeped between my shoulder blades. I scrambled backward into the far corner of the carriage. If he wanted me out of the carriage, he would have to drag me out.
He evidently had the same thought. He gripped my ankle, then twisted hard. A pain shot up my leg. I fell on the floor of the carriage, face down, and was pulled backward. I scrabbled at the floor, my fingers grasping for anything to hold onto, and screamed. The scream went on and on—horrible, terrifying. I finally realized it was not me screaming. It was Betsy.
I had forgotten about her, but now her scream filled the night air with a horrific, chilling sound that made my heart race. She sounded like a madwoman. In a flash, I realized that she did not know about the highwayman’s pistol. I opened my mouth to warn her when above my head cracked a sharp, deafening sound.
The screaming changed to gasping, the sound joined by a loud cursing and the neighing of panicked horses. Smoke filled the air. The carriage swayed, and the door swung shut on my ankle. I yelped at the sharp pain and pulled myself up to my knees.
“Betsy! Are you hurt?”
I scrambled to my feet and grabbed her shoulders, struggling to see her clearly. She shook her head, still gasping as she held something toward me. Moonlight shone off the silver pistol clutched in her trembling hand. I gaped at her, then grabbed the pistol and set it down carefully on the seat.
The sound of hoofbeats caught my attention, and I looked out the window to see a man galloping away on a horse. It appeared our highwayman had escaped.
Betsy collapsed on the seat, and I sank down beside her, leaning forward with my head in my hands.
Her gasps turned into hiccups. “Oh, no! I ju-just shot a man. What if I k-killed him? W-what will happen to me?”
My head was spinning. I tried to take a deep breath but choked on the lingering smoke. “No, I am sure you did not kill him. I saw him ride away. But how on earth did you get his pistol from him?”
“I d-did not,” she said, still hiccupping. “I u-used the one h-hidden in the squab.”
I lifted my head at that. “There was a pistol in there? All along? How did you know?”
“I d-discovered it while you were s-speaking with Mr. Whit-Whittles.”
I nearly laughed with relief. Betsy had saved us! I hugged her until her hiccups made our heads hit together. As I pulled away, a thought occurred to me.
“Wait. Where is James? Why did he not come to our rescue?”
I suddenly recalled the sound of the first gunshot right after the carriage had stopped. A man had cried out. My heart filled with dread. I turned, and through the broken window I saw a figure lying on the ground. It was our coachman, James.
Charming, Engaging Read
by Marianne - reviewed on March 05, 2012
Well-crafted book that does exactly what the author desired--includes the charm and romance of the regency era, but moves the story along more quickly without sacrificing the characters or good dialogue. Marianne is an intriguing, admirable, yet conflicted main character whose twin sister Cecily is the complete opposite. Though you only get brief glimpses into Cecily's character, I love the ironies flowing through this relationship and the parallels the author draws between their mother's relationship with Lady Caroline and themselves.
Better Than I Could've Ever Asked For
by Whitney - reviewed on December 04, 2012
This book in phenomenal. For a long time, about seven years, The Secret Journal of Brett Colton was my favorite book. This topped it. That takes a lot. I would LOVE for this to be a movie. Just reading it makes me feel like I've seen it already! So wonderful.
by Tiffany - reviewed on February 06, 2013
Edenbrooke. The most refreshing and deliciously clean romance novel I have read in a while. Couldn't put it down - read it in less than 24 hours. Inspired by such titles as Pride and Prejudice, North and South, and Emma. But a much easier read. By Julianne Donaldson.
Better than Pride and Prejuidice
by Carol-Lynn - reviewed on May 14, 2012
As a grandmother (who works in a middle school library) I have read lots of wonderful romances. This is one of the sweetest. I love the Regency period with the British manners and fashions. It made me smile and held up to my standards of uplifting literature. There was no "it was really good except that one bad part". Read it one day and skimmed over it again the next. Loved it.
If you love Jane Austen, you will LOVE this one!
by Jane - reviewed on January 20, 2012
I just finished reading Edenbrook and I absolutely loved it! As a fan of Jane Austen and romantic period novels, and this is one for the charts! I saw shades of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion all wrapped up in to a captivating, riveting story. And it was incredibly romantic and clean! I was so enthralled with it that I read it in two sittings! This is definitely one that I will recommend to my book club readers. Well done!
Great romantic novel!
by Will - reviewed on February 14, 2012
Ok, so I'm a guy. And this isn't the kind of book I usually pick up to read. However, when I had the chance to read a pre-release copy of EDENBROOKE, I found myself enthralled in a very well-written story packed with great imagery, action, suspense, and . . . . obviously, romance. Knowing that I was on to something, I sent my copy to a daughter in another city. In a few days I received an e-mail from her that read (and this is her real e-mail): "Darn you, dad...I was up until 3:15 in the morning finishing Edenbrooke! I loved, loved, loved it! Thanks for a fast quick really good book. My kids all get mad at me becasue I don't read as much as them and they have all these books that they want me to read. Well for a mom of 5 kids. it's hard to find the time, but I made time for this one! Thanks so much. Love you. Have a wonderful day." I think her note says it all!
by Stephanie - reviewed on February 16, 2012
Move Over Jane Austen! New from Shadow Mountain comes a new novel, a romance, that will make you swoon! Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. Marianne Daventry is far from a proper miss having always lived in the shadow of her beautiful twin sister Cecily. When their father leaves the country Marianne is forced into living a miserable existence with her grouchy grandmother, while Cecily is lucky to be living a life of fun and frolic with their cousin. When the girls are both invited to spend some time at a luxurious estate, Cecily is sure she is there to meet her future husband...while Marianne is hopeful for peace away from her watchful grandmother. After a terrifying encounter with a highwayman, Marianne is thrust into an adventure she didn't plan...and meets the handsome and mysterious Phillip, which was most unplanned. If you enjoy a Regency romance, then you will love this book as much as I did!
by Customer - reviewed on April 03, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would definitiely recommend you read it if you're in the mood for a good, clean romance.
by Erin - reviewed on April 24, 2012
This was a beautiful story. I LOVED this book and cannot wait for her next book. This was a great story from a new writer. This is a must read, and a great one to have in your library. I will plan on buying anything Julianne Donaldson writes.
Fun Jane Austen Spin-off
by Carol - reviewed on September 06, 2012
Fun, enjoyable, delightful, read. You may notice not only scenarios from Jane Austen's works but you may also recognize -right away in the first two pages- a reference to a song from 'Oklahoma'.
Mesmerizing start to finish!!!
by Melissa - reviewed on May 24, 2013
A book that is hard to put down! Very enchanting and beautifully written.
Favorite Part - Whole book!
by Nan - reviewed on April 02, 2012
This is a must read! My favorite part was the whole book! Hopefully we will hear more from Julianne in the near future.
by Regina - reviewed on December 26, 2014
Couldn't put it down and hated to go to work as I had to. Hope there are more to come!
by Joyce - reviewed on March 21, 2012
I loved reading about the beauty that is Edenbrooke, from all of the amazing surroundings to it's wonderful residents and visitors. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down.
A fabulous Regancy!
by Amanda - reviewed on April 26, 2012
I read this book in one day! I could actually see the English country and smell the air! I really enjoyed Annie's journey and cheered at the end!
A Book to add to my repeat-offender list!
by Rachelle - reviewed on June 09, 2012
I absolutely loved this book. Julie incorporated the perfect mix of humor, intrigue, and romance to weave this tale set in the regency era (think Jane Austen). The story is fresh, the characters are beautifully written and I love Marianne Daventry's personality. The hero has great depth and is so much more than a handsome face. I don't usually read a book more than once because there are just too many books! But this one has earned that right and I look forward to reading it again, just as soon as I can get it back--everyone in my family is reading it!
10+ stars! Five stars is too low!
by Nada - reviewed on February 24, 2012
I've read lots of period romance novels such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Lorna Doone, Pride and Prejudice, etc. This one tops them all! Be prepared to NOT sleep and NOT eat as you read this amazingly captivating novel. Believe me, you will carry it everywhere and try to cram in scraps of reading whenever you have a second (yes at the stoplights!). You won't be able to put it down. The plot is spellbinding and the writing is. . . well, marvelous!! If they allowed for bonus review points I would give it a 10+ out of 5. I have four daughters and EACH will soon have this book.
by Joan - reviewed on September 02, 2012
I am halfway through this delightful novel. Donaldson's characters are realistic and developed. She blends suspense and romance superbly. Is she the modern Jane Austen?
Quick fun read
by Customer - reviewed on August 06, 2012
This is not on the same level as Jane Austen (sorry!). However that said, the story was engaging. I re-read it to catch subtle details in the story that were very sweet. There were a few corny parts that kind of distracted from the story for me. It seemed to wind up very quickly at the end, particularly with her sister. Seemed a little too "neat". Again, that said, still a fun, quick, read.
by Teralyn - reviewed on May 15, 2012
I loved it!
This book is Historical Fiction at it's best!
by Sheila - reviewed on July 13, 2012
I LOVED this book! It has one of my favorite romances I have read in a long time! The characters, Marianne and Philip's relationship, reminds me a lot of Mr.Darcy's and Elizabeth's from Pride and Prejudice; except the male protagonist is a lot nicer. His sense of humor drew me to him from the very beginning. I read this book in less than 12 hours. This is fast when you take into account I was also doing laundry, cleaning house, blogging and taking care of my kids. I love a romance with sexual tension (without the sex), intrigue, strong and well written characters, and a beautiful setting as Edenbrooke. This book is Historical Fiction at it's best! I can promise you, once you read this book, you will be recommending it to all of your friends.
delightful diversion from modern life
by Nicole - reviewed on June 05, 2012
Other than a few silly implausible scenes Julianne Donaldson has written an entertaining romance. Phillip is the dashing hero we’d all love to have fall for us. Marianne with her independent strong willed ways torn between family loyalty and a love she wasn’t expecting is a heroin we can admire. I look forward to reading more by Ms. Donaldson.
A Great Love Story!!
by Stephanie - reviewed on March 02, 2012
Wow, I really enjoyed this Jane Austen-esque love story! I loved the main character and really felt like I could relate to her in many ways. I thought she was really well written because she felt real and when she was in pain, I really felt it. I loved Phillip (the love interest) and thought he was a great character. And I loved the setting, I want to live at Edenbrooke! I found myself smiling throughout a lot of the book, and just thought it was a really well done love story. Definitely recommended for those who like a good love story!
by Kyle - reviewed on August 16, 2012
I have done a lot of reading in this genre and I have to say that this is one of the most fabulous work I have picked up. So impressed that this is a debut novel for the writer and I so look forward to more. My heart was pulled back and forth the entire time and I couldn't put it down!!! A must read for any romantic.
by Shauna - reviewed on September 04, 2013
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Regency Romance! They are SO AMAZING! If you have read Sarah Eden's books you will ABSOLUTELY LOVE this debut novel by Julianne Donaldson! That same era! That same genre! That same great talent! That same proper romance with enough to make you smile but not so much to make you blush! Marianne is bored and being hounded by an unwanted suitor. Now she has a chance to get away from it all and find adventure in the English countryside manor of Edenbrooke. On the way you will cross a terrifying run-in with a highwayman, harmless flirtations, and a mysterious stranger. Just the kind of adventures to take away Marianne's boredom. "Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke." An AMAZING READ! Don't plan on doing anything else once you pick up this WONDERFUL STORY for your heart will be captured with each page until you finally read the ending....and even then you will still want more :)
by Monica - reviewed on February 18, 2012
I completely fell head-over-hills for Edenbrooke. Written in the style of a Jane Austin romance, this charming story is sure to sweep you off your feet and leave your heart fluttering. The engaging characters are charismatic and witty; the story is wisked along by the subtle twists in the plot and the promise of a genuine first love. I loved every minute of it and look forward to it being available in the stores!
A "twirling" experience!
by Customer - reviewed on April 13, 2012
If you are a lover of Jane Austen, or just a lover of the Regency period, or if you don't like either one at all, you will love this book. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, serious, mysterious, and so romantic. Three chapters in I knew this was a book I had to own so I could read it over and over again. I felt like I was taken back, walking through Edenbrooke and twirling (you would have to read the book to understand. Absoulutely loved it!
A proper romance for sure!
by Emily - reviewed on February 24, 2012
I definitely classify this alongside Jane Austen. Great characters and unpredictable events make this a fantastic read. I just finished this last night and already want to read it again!
by Tara - reviewed on October 31, 2012
A beautiful story with wonderful characters. The best romance I have ever read. I am sure there are many women now in love with Phillip and I am happy to join their ranks!
Engaging Love Story
by Customer - reviewed on May 13, 2012
Twins, Cecily and Marianne Daventry lost their mother 14 months ago and their father has Miss Cecily stay with Lady Caroline in London while Marianne must reside with her grandmother in Bath. Marianne soon receives an invitation to visit Edenbrooke along with Cecily, who dreams of marrying the heir of Edenbrooke. On her way to the county estate, Marianne finds herself in a few unexpected encounters. Lovely romance story set in the Regency era. The book contains some funny dialogue and very well developed and interesting main characters. The reason for the four stars is that I really didn't care for Cecily and think some secondary characters could have a little more depth to them. Look forward to reading Donaldson's future books!
A book you can't put down until you have finished.
by Jessica - reviewed on July 27, 2012
My husband and I read it together and it was way better than watching a movie together. He even loved it.
A Heart Warming Romance
by Jena - reviewed on January 22, 2013
I love Regency Period stories and when I read Edenbrooke, I was glad to have recieved it as a gift to add to my collection. I love Jane Austen and have all of her books, though I have often felt that her stories needed more conversation and interaction between her main characters. Edenbrooke does that for me. There is plenty of both so that the reader can really feel the connection between the characters falling in love and what they love about each other. It leaves you in anticipation and hope for them. And of course, there is the heart wrenching mis-understanding moment that leaves you aching for the beloved characters. The humor is more than delightful and will leave you laughing out loud. I absolutely loved it and recommend it to all my friends and family.
Philip may replace Mr. Darcy for me!
by Shauna - reviewed on February 25, 2012
I loved this fun, clean romance. It definitely felt Jane Austen-esque and I loved that! I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and can't wait to recommend this book to everyone. This is one to enjoy over and over. Just one of the best, fast reads I've read in a long time. I think it's a winner!
Definitely a keeper!
by melanie - reviewed on July 20, 2012
I absolutely love this book. I read this book in one day! I just couldn't put it down. I haven't found a book worth reading in such a long time, I think I was hungry for something just like this. I have actually read this at least 6 times since I purchased it 2 months ago. It has a beautiful love story, it's written well and has great characters. Love, love, love.
visually beautiful, clever dialog, sweet romance.
by Customer - reviewed on March 17, 2012
Although I am not a true romantic, I enjoyed this fast paced and sweet English romance. If you can overlook the winking and blushing on every other page you will enjoy the clever and natural dialogue, the seemingly familiar characters and the beautiful imagery.
Loved this book
by Mindy - reviewed on May 02, 2012
This book is an absolute delight. I loved everything about it. Especially the twirling. :) I loved Marianne. My heart would break for her at times, but it was all worth it in the end. Phillip is a dream, he was my favorite. He would light up the pages. I laughed out loud at times, and smiled a lot while reading Edenbrooke. Not only is this a great romance story, there is some page-turning suspense as well. The author did an excellent job with the setting, and language of the characters. I felt very regent while reading this. :) 5 out of 5 stars. This is the Julianne's first book, and she did an excellent job. I can't wait to read more from her.
Edenbrooke doesn't sit on my shelf. It changes hands with an eager waiting list.
by Mj - reviewed on May 02, 2012
With a beautiful setting and relatable characters, Donaldson pulls her readers into Edenbrooke with ease. This is a novel for lovers of the Regency period, Jane Austen, or of witty romances. Phillip has permanently replaced Mr. Darcy for me seeing as A)I'm not an Austen fan and B)his humor is addicting and infuriating in a way that suggests that he and Gilbert Blythe would make fast friends. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a clean romance, a fast read, a good laugh, and a book to share with their friends. Buy a second copy. You might not get your first one back.
by Morena - reviewed on June 26, 2012
I coudn't stop reading it untill I finish it.
by Customer - reviewed on June 10, 2012
I bought this book at the recommendation of the salesperson at the store. I took it with me a recent trip to Europe. I set it aside until my flight home from Zurich to DC. It was a long flight and I had been fighting jet lag for days. As I started to read the book, the story unfolded. I couldn't put it down. I fought the urge to fall asleep, due to the jet lag. In fact, I couldn't put it down or fall asleep until I finished reading it. I found the story very well written, interesting and compelling. I recommended it to my teenage daughter as soon as I got home. Well done!
by Customer - reviewed on July 01, 2013
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and when I finally got money, I decided to purchase it! I COULDN'T PUT EDENBROOKE DOWN! I am going to re-read it over again and again! I am making everyone I know read it too! I love it!!!!! Nicely done Julianne Donaldson! :)
by Korree - reviewed on August 22, 2013
This is my favorite book and I highly reccomend it to anyone who loves a great romance:)