Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Rating: 2.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "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 that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist."

Review: This is one of those books about which I have very little to say, so this will be short.

Kate Worthington's story was extremely unenjoyable, for me anyway.  No one was kind, or happy.  No one learned anything along the way.  No one became better.  There was a happy-ish ending, so I guess that was nice, but it wasn't enough to save the rest of the book.

I strongly disagree with the comparison to Little Women.  While both have elements of romance, Little Women is foremost a story about friendship between four sisters and their hardworking mother.  Kitty is a bit impetuous and naive, like Jo March, but her family life is nothing like Jo's.  Her growth is nothing like Jo's.  Her friends are nothing like Jo's.  The comparison should not even exist, according to me.

I was so frustrated by Kate's lack of support.  No one liked her, no one cared for her, no one was even very kind to her.  I didn't think she deserved such disdain, and I dearly wished for someone to be a real friend, besides the guy who was crushing on her.  But there is no real friendship anywhere in this book, and that made me sad.  

Kate is full of self pity, and while I did not envy the negative relationships surrounding her, I wished she would take charge of her own life and make it something happy.  I get that this is a Regency era story, and women only had so much power, but Kate was stubborn enough to change her own life, if she really wanted to.  The repeated comparisons to birds in gilded cages got old.  Fast.

I found this book to be surprisingly bereft of anyone to root for, and it left me feeling disgruntled.  I was surprised that this book was penned by the same person who wrote Edenbrooke, which I found to be an extremely delightful Regency era romance.  This book, however, did not make me happy at all.  (With the exception of the last two chapters, which, even if they weren't amazing, at least surprised me.  And it takes a lot for a romance novel to surprise me.)

To be fair, Kate Worthington is about as different from me as it is possible to be.  She is rash, I am cautious.  She is emotive, I am reserved.  She is impulsive, I am deliberate.  I had a very hard time understanding her or relating to her, but perhaps that is because of who I am, not because of who she is.  I've seen other readers whose opinions I value give this book high ratings, which makes me think this is a case of "it's not you, it's me."  Hopefully the next Donaldson book I read will be a better fit. 

Bottom Line:  This book was not a good fit for me, but if you like Regency era romances then you should consider this book, as many others have loved it!


  1. Glad you warned me. I was hoping with all the hopes that this would be like "Edenbrooke" and nearly bought it but then I saw your review. I don't like books where the characters aren't root-for-able.

    1. I know others who loved this book, but I just didn't. I'd still check it out from the library, just to know what all the hubbub is about, but this one is definitely a borrow, not a buy.


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