Summary from Amazon:
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 she 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.
For any of you that read my blog regularly, I’m sure it comes to no surprise that I like the romance in my books. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite book, after all. So when a blogging friend, Alisa from Picture Me Reading recommended Edenbrooke to me, I immediately looked it up on Goodreads. I could tell immediately upon reading the summary that Edenbrooke was a book for me. I was so excited about it, that even though I placed a hold for the library book, I was too impatient, and ended up purchasing Edenbrooke, as well as Donaldson’s other book Blackmoore, from B&N. It was a billiant decision!
Edenbrooke focuses on Marianne Daventry. Marianne has been living with her grandmother for well over a year, since her mother passed away, her twin sister went off to stay with family friends in London, and her father left to grieve in France. Marianne is not exactly happy staying in Bath with her grandmother, and she misses her sister and father dearly. To make her stay more miserable in Bath, she has an admirer, someone who can seem to take a hint. So, when Marianne is invited to stay at Edenbrooke, an estate in the country (Marianne loves staying in the country, and misses it something fierce) which is home to the family her sister has been staying with in London.
You guys, I was utterly delighted with Marianne. She’s a very intelligent young woman, but she is also suffering from some sever insecurities. Another admirable trait about Marianne, is that she does what has to be done. During her journey to Edenbrooke, she is thrust into a dangerous situation, but she keeps her head, and does what she has to. I love this about her, and I really hope I would act like Marianne in such a situation. Marianne is not perfect, of course, and she is quick to believe what others tell her, without getting the information directly from the source. And, as I mentioned above, her insecurities can get in her way.
Marianne also has a wonderful sense of humor. My favorite scene in the whole book is in the first half of the book, when Marianne and Philip first meet. It is a hilarious scene, but it also shows the personalities of both Marianne, and our hero Philip.
Dashing would be a perfect adjective to describe Philip. He’s the definition of how a gentleman should act. He does not make an good first impression on Marianne when they first meet, but soon they become quite close. It’s adorable, watching Marianne and Philip interacting with each other.
The plot is rather quiet, but I mean that in a good way. It really centers on Marianne’s relationship with Philip, and to a lesser degree, her relationships with her sister, Cecily, and her father. It’s not full of action (although there are some action sequences), but I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what Marianne would do next. I should also mention the setting of this novel. Donaldson’s writing brought to mind this beautiful estate, in the countryside, and I never wanted to leave. I could understand why Marianne loved the country so much, if she lived in a place like this.
I do admit to enjoying the first half of the book more than the second half. The first half is a little lighter, and it’s quite sweet. And although the second half of the novel is also lighter in general, a lot of Marianne’s insecurities did start to vex me a bit. But it was such a small vexation, I assure you.
Edenbrooke is one of the best recommendations I’ve received this year, and I’m so glad that I did follow through with the recommendation. Edenbrooke is a quick read, but it’s filled with adorable main characters, a sweet story, and a wonderful setting. If you enjoy romances, or Jane Austen-style stories, (or both, like myself), you must give Edenbrooke a try.