September 13, 2013 9 Comments

‘BLACKMOORE,’ BY JULIANNE DONALDSON. Review of the 2013 novel from Shadow Mountain. All review text © Rissi JC

STORY: Kate Worthington is ready to break free of her trappings. Her mother is a stern woman whose daughter’s follow her appalling public flirtations. Kate’s eldest sister has already sullied her name, and Maria is well on her way to following suit. This leaves Kate, the one daughter who wants nothing more than to escape. The place she wants to go is Blackmoore, the seaside estate of her dearest childhood friends, Henry Delafield and his sister, Sylvia.

When her mother takes back her permission, in desperation Kate strikes a bargain. If she receives and rejects three marriage proposals, Mrs. Worthington will allow Kate’s greatest wish; to travel to India with her aunt. With high expectations, Kate finally arrives at Blackmoore. Things become complicated when her heart realizes she cannot give up everything she knows… and loves.

Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson | Book Review

It’s confession time. This book isn’t really what I would expect. From various conversations, my impression of Blackmoore is something akin to a dash of mystery and maybe even some gothic elements. How wrong I am. Instead of the mystery, the book is really one of a forbidden love and of finding the mettle and self-worth of a person. Kate is an interesting heroine. Her one chance at happiness she gives up out of fear, and she lets lies and logic cloud their relationship. Donaldson does a splendid job paralleling Kate’s restless spirit with that of her love of birds. It’s not only a pretty prose, but also a definitive parallel, offering examples of her need to feel “free” and have control of her life instead of watching her mother continue to give the family a bad rap – one that Kate suffers for.  

I know my heart. It has always been yours […] Always.

‘BLACKMOORE,’ BY JULIANNE DONALDSON #HistoricalFiction #FWarchives Click To Tweet

Early on, there are moments in the book in which repeated works sets up a repeat offense that, in the narrative, doesn’t “click” for me. Fortunately, the prose evens out and sets a kind of stage for a beautiful book! Throughout there is gorgeous, descriptive passages of the area surrounding the titular estate as well as the tours of the home. Seriously, it’s like the cover art comes to life and if you close your eyes, you could be there. On the other hand of this, as a reader who doesn’t like too many details, the book isn’t over-populated with needless specifics, which was nice.  

This also reminiscent of Austen (Kate could relate to Lizzie Bennet) and another fun bit is the cute dialogue (including a sassy scene that is perhaps a bit of a throwback to Colin Firth a-la the pond scene!) and lovely romance. Not every one of the flashbacks is necessary, some do add some interesting dimension. Imperfect in only minimal ways, the novel is written with class and charm. Its visuals thread together poignantly and its protagonist is easily liked. Sweet as it is, I’d like to see a bit more from the epilogue. The story is engaging and I think I can safely say, you won’t regret exploring Blackmoore.

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Julianne Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: 2013
Find the Review Elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads | WordPress
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Hannah Barta September 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    I'm glad you liked it, Rissi! I can't wait to read this one.

    • Rissi September 14, 2013 at 12:13 AM

      Eager for you to read this one, too, Hannah – and for your thoughts on it! :)

  • Ella September 15, 2013 at 4:37 AM

    I am excited to try this one!!

    • Rissi September 17, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      I think you'll like it, Ella; anxious to know what you think when you do read it. :)

  • Birdie September 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I have this one on my Kindle for a while now, but haven't found time to read it yet…. Your review makes me so curious now, should really bump it up my TBR.

    • Rissi September 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      Yay! Hope you like it, Birdie! The concept is sweet as is the prose and I enjoyed all of the characters. :)




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