My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Debut novelist Julianne Donaldson has written a proper romance novel. Edenbrooke is the glorious British estate where Marianne Daventry is sent to visit her social butterfly sister, who has been staying with the friend of their deceased mother.
From the very beginning of the novel we understand that Marianne is a head-strong young women. We also understand that the apple did not fall far from the tree when we are introduced to her wealthy and wickedly sharp-witted grandmother. (The letters exchanged between these two ladies will make you laugh aloud.)
What made me love this novel is that Donaldson gave Marianne one very interesting and unusual characteristic, she likes to twirl. You know, where you put your arms out to your side and spin around until you are dizzy. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in Marianne’s life at the moment to make her happy enough to spin. Her mother died. Her grief-stricken father fled to France. Her twin sister was sent to London while she was sent to live with her socially strict grandmother. But then she meets Phillip.
Phillip is a mysterious gentleman who immediately starts flirting with Marianne and organizing her life. She can’t tell whether to be bemused or bothered.
To tell anymore of this story would give away too much of Donaldson’s enjoyable plot. I can tell you that Donaldson’s command of witty dialogue proves that this is one novelist who understands human interaction. In one whispered phrase in Marianne’s ear, she can invoke all the tingly passion that other authors can only inspire with graphic description of lust.
Edenbrooke is a romance story that protective mothers would feel comfortable letting their teenage daughters read, and yet its characters and plot are intricate enough that hardened romance readers will never miss the lack of sex for there is plenty of passion in these pages.