Joint Review: we love Blackmoore

15795628Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Date: September 9th, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance; Young Adult
Source: NetGalley

Blackmoore marks the inaugural joint review between Stacey and me. For the most part, we have very similar taste in books; however, there are some books we differ in opinion. Happily, Blackmoore is not one of those books. We both loved this one! But there are, of course, different things that we enjoyed about it.

Kate Worthington longs to escape her scandalous family and visit her close friends’ home, Blackmoore. For as long as she has known Henry and his sister, Sylvia Delafield, she has waited for them during the summer when they inhabit Henry’s inheritance, Blackmoore. Henry has promised to bring Kate there, and in July 1820, it seems Kate is finally going to Blackmoore.

Unfortunately for Kate, her manipulative mother decides to revoke her permission for the trip, unless Kate agrees to a bargain. If Kate receives three marriage proposals while at Blackmoore her mother will not only allow her to go, but will also allow her to travel to India with Kate’s aunt. Yet when Kate arrives at Blackmoore, she receives a much colder welcome than expected.

Jaclyn’s Adventure:

Rating: I’d go there again!

I completely adored this “proper romance.” I haven’t read Donaldson’s Edenbrook but you can guarantee that is now going on my reading list.

Kate was a wonderful character. She was so obviously not perfect, but that was what made her such a fantastic character. She was completely trapped in her station in life. She wanted freedom, and you could just feel the cage that was wrapping around her. She was doing the best that she could with the limited options available to her.

And the romance. Seriously, I had no idea that sweet romances could be written in such an engaging and sensual way. I just haven’t come across novels that have been labeled “Christian” or “clean” that have this kind of emotion. The longing between Henry and Kate was so evident, even on Henry’s part, which is difficult considering that the novel is from Kate’s point of view. I loved the fact that both Kate and Henry were willing to make sacrifices for each other’s happiness, although I have to admit I felt they were a little over dramatic, but such is young love.

So why not five stars? I really wanted to give this one a five star review and I would have had the ending been a tad more fleshed out. For the entire book we have this fantastic and drawn out relationship between Kate and Henry. They’re star crossed lovers and it seems that they’ll never get their happily ever after. But, one chapter solves this problem. One chapter! I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I was some what dissatisfied with the quick resolution, and I would have liked to know what happened with Henry and Kate’s mothers, who couldn’t have been more manipulative throughout the story. The resolution just seemed a little quick to me. But, do not let this stop you from reading this because the lead up was so engaging, I could barely put the book down.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic historical romance that I think would also appeal to teens and for those who aren’t fans of the steamy romances in that section of the library. There is great characterization here and a beautiful atmospheric setting that will grab you from the first chapter.

Stacey’s Adventure:

Rating: I’d go there again! Or maybe even Outstanding Adventure

Most of the story is actually told through flashbacks, as Kitty tells her readers about her childhood, and explains why Blackmoore means so much to her. At first, I was exasperated by the flashbacks. In general, I find flashbacks distracting and even as negative techniques, that take away from the drama and speed of the main plot. But the masterful way the author reveals the growing and changing relationships between the three young people (Our protagonist, who in my notes is Kitty, and her friends Henry and Sophia), and especially between Henry and Kitty, soon had me anticipating each flashback.

The romance is sweet and lovely, slow and dramatic. Henry is my favorite kind of hero – patient, kind and subtle but honest with himself about his feelings. Kitty spends most of the novel being oblivious and naive, but she does a lot of growing up over the course of the book. Each character lives in his or her own head, unaware of the other’s feelings. I LOVE how Henry’s feelings for Kitty are slowly revealed to the reader as she remembers the ways that he taken care of her her whole life, and I really enjoyed Kitty’s journey to self-awareness.

The story is very simple, in that the history between the neighboring families is vague and obscure, and Kitty’s desire to travel to India with her aunt is pretty nebulous. The focus is truly on the budding romance between Kitty and Henry. I only vaguely remember the ending being abrupt, I was so pleased with the rest of it. However, the romance makes up for these shortcomings, in my opinion. Like Jaclyn, you can bet all books by Julianne Donaldson are going on my to-read list, starting with Edenbrooke.


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