Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: Blackmoore

It took a romance set in Northern England in the 1820s to stir me out of my reading torpor.  The novel, Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson caught me up and kept me reading. I'm now eager to seek out her other novel, Edenbrooke.

In this book, we meet the lovely Kate Worthington and her lifelong goal of visiting the estate called Blackmoore, set between the ocean and the moors in North Yorkshire. Her neighbors and best friends, Sylvia and Henry Delafield, have been telling her tales of their summer visits to Blackmoore for years, but Mrs. Delafield has been loathe to invite Kate along for a visit because she fears it will distract Henry from his courtship of Juliet St. Claire (a girl whose match would secure a title for the family).  Finally, Henry has put his foot down and insisted that she come.

Now, the threat shifts to Kate's mother, who is furious because Kate has spurned a marriage proposal by the elderly, diseased Mr. Cooper.  Kate's mother is intent upon marrying Kate off, despite Kate's vow to never marry (she already feels penned in and doesn't want to confine herself even further). Her mother forbids a visit to Blackmoore and the further dream of accompanying her spinster aunt on a trip to India until Kate makes a deal that if she goes to Blackmoore and secures and rejects three proposals, her mother will finally release her from the requirement of marriage.

Because of a previous scandal with her older sister, Kate begins to realize that she will never receive the three proposals she needs to secure. Thus, she begs Henry to make the proposals, promising she will reject each one so that she can earn the right to her longed for trip to India and the freedom it entails.  What she hasn't banked on is her own heart's internal struggle with this process.

I thoroughly enjoyed this light romance. The setting was intriguing, the characters were lively, and the plot moved along nicely. This would make an excellent book club selection as there are study questions at the end of the book to explore.  I'm glad I picked up this lovely, clean romance.

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