"Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.
Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?
Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance of a young woman struggling to learn to follow her heart with a delicious must-read twist."
With an intriguing premise, haunting and romantic descriptions, and interesting plot twists, Blackmoore is a lovely and worthy sophomore novel from Julianne Donaldson. There is a lot to enjoy for historical-romance lovers, especially those who favor an atmospheric story full of imagination and sweet romance.
While there were a couple of things that kept Donaldon's debut Edenbrooke from being a complete favorite of mine, I still appreciated how engaging and inviting the story was, and Blackmoore followed suit for me.
Both books heavily emphasize the physical (albeit fictional) places they're named for, touting their merits, although I appreciated that Blackmoore offered a more roundabout journey to the end than Edenbrooke. Blackmoore does have a lot of flashbacks, which was neat in some ways as the scenes were often romantic or insightful, but also came across as a little overdone, at least in the e-ARC I read. And the romance - like the homes the books are named for - is rather idealized/idolized (though not without its drama, especially with such a strong-willed heroine).
While those elements kept me from falling completely head-over-heels in love, I still loved my visit to Blackmoore. The symbolism and emotions are poignant, and Henry - while a bit "too" perfect - is a fitting hero for such a story. Fans of Edenbrooke and respectable romances should be quite pleased with the overall presentation.
*With thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a temporary e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
This book will be available September 2013.