By Julianne Donaldson
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 sooner rather than later 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?
I was pretty excited for this second novel from Ms. Donaldson, who debuted with “Edenbrooke”, a light-hearted, adventure-esque, clean romance. This second book promised to be more ‘realistic’ and I found myself hopping to get a copy. Now let me start by saying, holy smokes, the writing is beautiful. It was poetry. The imagery and the descriptions were deep with feeling. I was quite taken with this story, the characters were fleshed out and believable, the plot was fun, and I appreciated that the main character was able to figure out her folly in the end. I’ve always been a sucker for the ‘boy next door’ romances. Now on the other hand, the little portion of the book where she goes to the beach and he’s swimming nude made me squirm. That was so harlequin I was irritated. That doesn’t happen in regency romance, and the guy isn’t all debonair if by some strange chance it does. Irritating. Also, the end could’ve used a little more hope, happiness, you know. It let me down for a book I was otherwise in love with. I felt like it was a little too ‘real life’, come on, a little bit of fairy-tale is okay for the ending! That said, it was lovely and I’d like to say well done Ms. Donaldoson, keep them coming!
I give it a 4 out of 5