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Edenbrooke #1


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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2012)
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

264 pages, Paperback

First published March 27, 2012

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About the author

Julianne Donaldson

9 books4,227 followers
Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing. She writes historical romance when she is not busy with her four young children and husband. Edenbrooke is her first novel.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,802 reviews
413 reviews123 followers
December 4, 2013
Update 12/30/12

Readers, please note that this is a negative review and contains negative elements, namely because I despised the book. I have gotten a lot of negative feedback from readers telling me their opinion and what I should or should not write in the review. Please note that I am not going to change a word of this review, and further repetitive comments WILL be deleted, since they all seem to be from the same people, or at least, focused on the same point. I encourage readers who are unhappy with this review to STOP READING, because your telling me what I should or should not write doesn't work -- just as my telling you what to think wouldn't work.

Furthermore, if you don't agree, then please write your own review. There, you can write all your own opinions without having to deal with me.


Wow. WOW.

This book is SO insanely horrible that I had to keep reading, because I couldn't believe that such a horrible book got such a high rating on here and amazon. My list of dislikes and problems with the book kept racking up until at 40% through, I couldn't take it anymore and just had to write a review to get my complaints off my chest. I honestly don't know how this book got such high ratings -- maybe the author has a lot of friends? I mean, there are MEN reading this book, saying they don't read romances and liking this book. WTH?!?

One thing that is for sure: a GIRL who regularly reads Regency romances would have qualms about the realism of this book, much less a man who has never read a romance novel in his life. Therefore, I believe that most of the ratings on here are FAKE and I really despise books and the authors that get their friends to increase ratings.

Why This Book Really Sucked:
(1) It reads like a fanfiction work.

Aside from the cover, I honestly don't know how it got published, because the cover makes the book look professional, AND IT ISN'T.

I understand that this is this author's first book, and as such, I am willing to make allowances. However, not when the rating has been jacked up as to fool honest readers. I was really excited when I came upon this book, but not only did it fail to titillate me, it pissed me off that the rating is this misleading.

The blurb is basically as complicated as the plot gets. The story is just Marianne explaining things to the author about her family, her sibling rivalry with her sister, etc., etc. There are entire chapters where Marianne tells us of her sibling rivalry and her father leaving the family, stories that must be explained more than once.

Furthermore, the scenes where Marianne and Philip have a heart-to-heart conversation and he asks her questions about herself. This would seem romantic if his in-depth questions didn't come out of nowhere, sort of as though the author thought to herself, "okay, enough joking around, now they have to get down to business with some serious soul-sharing." That's about how sudden the conversation shifts from "teasing" to "concern" and then, just as suddenly, to "sudden tears" because "his words pierced her heart so suddenly and so sharply." Exhausting! Not from the in-depth conversations, but just trying to keep track of their sudden emotional changes.

(2) The writing is abysmally juvenile, with inexplicable overreactions to minor things, and endless descriptions.

There are FAR too many descriptions of facial expressions in too little a span of time. We see one scene in which the hero, Philip, has a teasing expression, has a cold and angry expression, is smiling innocently, has a longing look in his eyes -- good grief, can the author stop spelling everything out for the reader? If he longs for the girl, we can understand it from his actions. WE DON'T NEED TO BE PUMMELLED OVER THE HEAD.

The actions of the characters are BIZARRE, as they switch emotions suddenly, as if all the characters have multiple personality syndrome. I don't know if the author was trying to simulate what she thinks was the proper etiquette of the time period, but the scene ends up making no sense at all, with everyone in the scene overreacting to what honestly doesn't seem like much of anything.


(In one scene at the dinner table on Marianne's first night at Edenbrooke, Philip tricks Marianne into promising to sing for them by suggesting it to his mom. Marianne is terrified because apparently she is a terrible singer and there was some incident at the beginning of the book that has not been explained (and in which I have pretty much lost interest) and her grandmother has also extracted a promise from her never to sing in public.)

This was not a joke, and I was going to humiliate myself in front of all these nice people. It was inevitable. There was a reason Grandmother had warned me not to sing. (But WHAT? WHAT'S THE REASON?? It is never explained.)

Terror seized me. I looked at Philip in mute appeal. His lips twitched, then quivered, then his shoulders shook. I glared at him as he gave up the fight, leaned back in his chair, and laughed out loud. Odious man!

“What is wrong?” Philip’s voice was low, and his brow knit with concern.

“Nothing,” I lied. I stared at my plate, trying to breathe slowly, or at least normally. It wasn’t working.

Philip was still watching me. Luckily, no one else seemed to be paying attention. “You’re a terrible liar. What is it?”

My face was burning, my stomach in knots. This was only getting worse. I had to tell him. “I can’t sing,” I whispered.

He looked surprised. “Yes, you can.”

Philip said in a shaky voice, “I’m afraid we have effectively terrified Miss Daventry. She may run away tonight and never come back.”

Lady Caroline’s brow wrinkled in consternation. “Philip, please explain yourself.”

I was surprised at how stern her voice could sound.

“She doesn’t want to sing for us, Mother. I volunteered her without her permission.” He chuckled.

Mrs. Clumpett gasped. Mr. Clumpett rubbed a hand over his mouth, as if to remove a smile, and looked at his plate. Lady Caroline looked horrified.

“Philip. It sounds to me as if you’ve been a terrible host! You have forced our guest into an uncomfortable situation, manipulated us into playing along with your game, and then laughed at her discomfort! And on her first night here!” She glared at him. “I am very disappointed in you.”

All my terror changed to gratification upon hearing him rebuked so thoroughly. Philip at least had the decency to look chagrined, his cheeks faintly flushed as he received his scolding.

Lady Caroline turned her attention to me. “You might suppose, based on my son’s behavior, that we have no sense of how to honor a guest in our home. Please believe me when I say that Philip’s actions do not reflect the values of our family.”

I glanced at Philip and noticed his jaw was clenched and his cheeks ruddy. How humiliating to be so scolded in front of a guest. A small bloom of compassion unfolded within me.

See this scene? It's bizarre and overloaded with emotions and expression. In one swift scene, Philip is teasing, concerned, shaky (with what? laughter? unease? it's not explained), chagined, jaw clenched. I don't understand the need for all this excessive emotion (and in a Regency novel!! Inexplicable!) and frankly, Philip comes off seeming like a psychopath to me. Furthermore, was there the need for Lady Caroline to rip into him like that? With people gasping and looking stunned? I mean, it doesn't even rate as a faux pas. There are exactly 5 people at the dinner table, four of which are family members. You might have concluded that somebody had confessed to necrophilia. But it wasn't anything at all! It was a joke! But you would never know it from the narrative.

The book is littered with excessive descriptions that spoil the entire plot. "I frantically looked away," "she tore her gaze away," cringing and swallowing convulsively and sighing -- this is all from the first chapter, fyi, and by the same character, AND accompanying every single statement she contributes to the conversation.

(3) The characters are unlikable.
Frankly, I hate Marianne, but all the other characters are similarly annoying.

Marianne, our heroine, is supposed to be a free spirit and loves the country and loves twirling. We know she loves twirling because this is mentioned in every single chapter, but specifically the first chapter, in which twirling is mentioned every other page. We know she loves twirling because she cannot stand outside without wanting to twirl. We know she can't see a tree without wanting to twirl. We further know she loves twirling because her grandmother had to WARN her under penalty of withdrawing her inheritance NOT to twirl. WHAT is going on. Do we have a heroine who has twirling spasms? I may enjoy twirling on occasion but I DON'T have a problem with spontaneous twirling in public or on tables or in the middle of the road or at funeral processions. Readers understand twirling. What they fail to get is someone who apparently twirls herself into trouble -- literally! Marianne actually FALLS into a river at one point because of her twirling problem!! This is insane and not normal at all!

Furthermore, in the very first chapter, we see a nice (if not particularly prepossessing) individual come to see Marianne, having dedicated a poem to her blue eyes. While on occasion, I think all girls understand being badgered by a male in whom she has no interest, we DON'T want to see a supposedly kind, nice girl make fun of this man in the very first chapter (the first few pages!) and talk about how ridiculous he was and that "of all his repulsive features, it was his mouth that held my horrified fascination. When he spoke, his lips flapped about so as to create a film of saliva that coated the edges of his lips and pooled in the corners of his mouth," and going on to poke fun at his poetry in a way that he didn't understand but which made Marianne laugh secretly. Is this a nice girl? NO, it is not. I would understand and think it a great beginning if Marianne were described to be spiteful (but later she changed) or something of that sort. But she's not! Then her aunt appears, and she describes her aunt as "having more hair than wit." Couldn't we, the reader, figure this out from the actions of the characters rather than be told by the nice person who's supposed to be our heroine??

So in the beginning of the book, she supposedly has a great relationship where she misses her sister, the more beautiful, charming sister who loves town life, Cecily. There is then at around 39% where she recounts the history of her relationship with her sister, beginning with a doll claimed by Cecily because she's the older twin:

So when it was my turn to hold the doll, I claimed that I didn’t want to touch the ugly thing. No matter how much Cecily held and caressed the doll and talked about how pretty it was, I remained stoically insistent that I did not want to touch it. And I never did. Eleven years passed and I never once touched that doll, not even to feel her hair. A maid once put it on my bed by mistake, but even then I did not touch it. I put a handkerchief over my hand and picked up the doll by the foot and flung it onto Cecily’s bed.

At first it was only possessions we fought over. But as we grew older, the list lengthened—talents, beauty, attention from boys. I applied the lesson of the doll and decided it was better to want something different from Cecily instead of lose to her. I learned to hide my desires, or to change them as soon as learning hers.

Such was my attitude when Cecily and I came of age to be presented to society and enter the marriage mart in London. Cecily dreamed of nothing but town life; I dreamed of nothing but living comfortably in the country. I did not envy Cecily her season, because I had no such ambition. I did not aspire to a brilliant match, because it would be a contest with Cecily and she would win. I never wanted to be an elegant lady, because that was Cecily’s role.

So Marianne NEVER touched the doll for 11 years, just because Cecily claimed it first? Cecily claimed the doll when they were 6, so, until the age of 17, she refused to pick up the doll? That's a bit extreme right? And furthermore, why would the doll matter anymore to a GROWN PERSON? And this is the only reason she didn't want to be an elegant lady?

And that's not getting into the grandmother, who writes a lovely letter, saying:

Dear Marianne,

I imagine you have already started scampering around the countryside like some farmer’s brat, so I am writing to remind you of the conditions of your visit. You are to learn all you can from the Wyndhams about how to behave like an elegant young lady. Write to me and tell me what you are learning. Consider this an assignment. If I do not recognize some signs of improvement in you I will not hesitate to call you home. If you cannot change your ways, I will not hesitate to cut you off without a penny, just as I did to my nephew. I am committed to this plan, and I will see you become all that you can be, both for your own future happiness as well as for what you owe to the family name. Do not disappoint me.

First of all, what an endearing letter to receive from a beloved grandmother. And how reasonable the request is, to send someone away (not to a school, but to a stranger's household!) and expect them to return an elegant young lady. And how was she supposed to learn this from the household, when THERE ARE NO YOUNG LADIES IN ATTENDANCE??? There is Philip's mom, a widow, his aunt -- and that's it!

Philip is so overset with emotional descriptions that he comes off, again, as a psychopath.

(4) The characters are dumb and their actions are, again, bizarre and irrational. The author makes the assumption that the reader cannot infer things from small descriptions alone.

At the beginning of the book, Marianne is attacked on the way to Edenbrooke by a highway robber (basically the only exciting thing to happen in the first half of the book). When she and her maid manages to get to a nearby inn, she tries to solicit help from Philip, who doesn't want to help. The next day, Philip has done a total about-face, probably because she denounced his lack of gentlemanly essence (this comment is one that apparently must be apologized over and discussed at length in following chapters) and asks to help with the shot coachman. She refuses his help, naturally. They introduce themselves (well, she does). He mysteriously refuses to say who he is. In fact, when she makes further inquiries, she happens to find that NOBODY will tell her who he is, even the nurse that happens to show up the next day to care for the coachman. Marianne has NO IDEA who could have hired the nurse and cannot figure it out, even though [HINT!] she ARGUED with a man named Philip the night before about his wanting to help. She thinks about this at LONG and HARD LENGTH because the nurse won't say who hired her, so she is absolutely befuddled about this mysterious benefactor -- who? who could it be? could it be the gentleman she insulted to the degree that she offended his honor? But no, she can't figure it out at ALL. Then a new coach with a coachman shows up to drive Marianne and her maid to their destination, this coachman with instructions, apparently to ABDUCT Marianne forcefully into the coach if she were to refuse this sudden charity. The coachman also does not reveal who hires him, so Marianne STILL does not know. But she fumes a bit and then gets into the carriage (WHY? WHY would you do such a thing if you don't know who hired the coachman??? You were just ROBBED last night, you fool!!).

Eventually, they make their way to Edenbrooke, and she wants to explore the place right away, so goes out and falls into the river twice (because of the twirling, see?) and then encounters Philip, who is, surprise, surprise, in residence.

But see, there is no REASON for Philip to dissemble about his identity! Nothing huge happens between her getting robbed and the next day arriving at Edenbrooke that would even justify him withholding his identity! It makes no SENSE, you see?

(5) There's no history or scene setting to let people know of the relevant time period.

As far as the story reads, it feels like the author saw (and maybe read) Pride and Prejudice and...that's it. Or she might have just read a blurb about Pride and Prejudice. Or she might have seen the DVD cover of the movie version.

I know that most historical fiction (set in the Regency period) are fairly inaccurate and take a lot of license with dialogue, clothing, etc. But you expect it from bodice-ripper books. Not one that's supposedly hailed as being so authentic.

The man calls her Marianne right from the beginning! How's that for accuracy? And they take meals together, alone?? And he goes and fetches the food by himself? Isn't this supposed to be a huge estate? Where are the servants?

See how much I can complain about even though I have only gotten as far as 40% in? Imagine how much I can say if I made it all the way through! That's if I do -- maybe I will, in order to complain some more.

Review 11/20/12
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,052 reviews49.2k followers
March 18, 2020
finally, some good fucking food

what if mr. darcy were more of a flirt & elizabeth was more of a shy anne shirley. that's this book. i adored it.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.3k followers
March 26, 2023
Esto solo se salva de tener dos estrellas porque el climax me tenía bien picada, jajajaja.

No suelo leer libros de este tipo y no sé si sean lo mío, aunque no puedo asegurarlo porque no he leído demasiados. En este la protagonista me pareció insufrible, la típica "not like the other girls". Todo el tiempo repetía que ella no era como las demás, que a ella no le gustaba ir a la ciudad, ni los vestidos, ni los bailes. No. A ella le gustaba montar a caballo, dar vueltas (?) y vivir en el campo. Y luego decía cosas como: "Mis ojos no eran bonitos como los de mi hermana, los de ella eran azules. Los míos eran una extraña combinación entre azul, gris y verde, ni siquiera podía saber de qué color eran". AH, OK.

EN FIN, tuvo sus cosas positivas y estoy intrigada por leer más novelas así. Si tienen recomendaciones estoy abierta, jajaja. Solo tomen en cuenta que busco protagonistas que sean lo opuesto a Marianne, la prota de este libro.

Luego hablaré más a profundidad del libro en el wrap up :).
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,741 reviews5,976 followers
September 30, 2019
Being the clean romance, Jane Austen lover that I am I LOVED Edenbrooke.

What a fabulous way to spend a morning. Edenbrooke was a book I couldn't put down. I picked it up to read just a few pages before getting out of bed but didn't quit reading until I finished the book. While there may never be another Mr. Darcy it is possible that his twin is found roaming the grounds of Edenbrooke.

Squeaky clean, full of romance, humor and great characters this is a book I highly recommend. Perfect for lovers of Jane Austen era romances.

Rating: 5 Stars - I loved it!

Content: Clean

Edited 12/11/15 - Reread this again and absolutely still in love with it!

Source: From Publisher
Profile Image for Rachel.
612 reviews90 followers
April 29, 2022
I will admit that I have an unfair, blanket aversion to "Deseret Book fiction." I'm not sure why or how the stereotypical cringing came to be, but it exists for me, nonetheless. Having acknowledged that, I was already wary at my first introduction to this book, but since I'll try any clean read, more so if it's recommended to me by someone I love, and doubly if there is talk that it is in any way Austen-esque, I curled up ready for...whatever.

I would have to strongly disagree with the general claim that this is written in the style of Jane Austen. Set during the same time period, yes. Hijackings of some of her storylines, character traits, and even names, yes. But, the same style? Not remotely. It lacks the depth, complication and journey to approach the Austen throne. I found myself constantly perturbed by the oblivious denseness of Marianne, who spends the duration of the book, symbolically picking daisies ("He loves me, he loves me not!"), by the authors' insistence at continually telling the reader what to feel or think instead of just fleshing out the story and actually letting us think or feel, and by some of the absurd, contemporary language that was occasionally thrown in.

This ended up being a light and airy read, not unpleasant, but formulaic and for the most part, predictable. The author has promise. She created a storyline that eventually became engaging, a hero that was worthy of swooning, and created it in a clean environment, though sometimes melodramatically. Even with all of my frustrated, literary huffing and puffing, I have to own up to the fact, that after wading through the first bit, it did become a guilty, though breezy, hammock pleasure.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
July 30, 2017
Edenbrooke is a sweet, unabashedly romantic story set in Regency England. Marianne Daventry, age 17, has always felt overshadowed by her more confident, more beautiful twin sister Cecily. While Cecily is enjoying the social life in London, Marianne has been rusticating in Bath with their grandmother for the last fourteen months, since their mother died and their father took himself off to France to grieve alone.

Grandmother makes an unexpected offer to make Marianne her heir, to the tune of 40,000 pounds, if Marianne can learn to "behave like an elegant young lady." Grandmother is fed up with Marianne's running around outdoors and ignoring social rules. Also, Marianne has been invited to go to the Wyndham family's estate, Edenbrooke, to visit their mother's old friend and her family, along with Cecily, who has befriended the daughter, Louisa Wyndham.

On the way to Edenbrooke, a highwayman stops their carriage, ordering Marianne out. They escape after Marianne's maid Betsy takes a shot at the masked man and he disappears, but not before shooting their coachman. They seek help at a nearby inn, where Marianne insults, but then befriends, a handsome young man named Philip ... who turns out to be part of the Wyndham family. But Marianne can't decide if he really likes her or is just flirting, and in any case she's unsure of her own feelings. Other complications ensue, and so the fun begins.

If you like your Regency romances fairly light, squeaky clean and swooningly romantic, and aren't much of a stickler for authenticity, this is a book for you. Marianne is a brave and kindhearted heroine, but she can be a bit of a silly young girl at times. It's a little eye-rolling when she (a) twirls for joy (which luckily only happens two or three times), and (b) is so blind when it comes to relationships that she can't see her nose in front of her face. But she does have her moments; her initial, well-deserved insult to Philip is one.

Philip, though. Handsome, teasing, romantic, dedicated, buff, extremely likeable ... and he has a wicked smile. If I'm making a list of my favorite book boyfriends, he's definitely in the top 10!

Edenbrooke gets four stars from me not because it's great or deep literature but because it's such a fun, sweet read, with some unexpected humor and a romance that really sucked me in, which is all it's trying to be.
Profile Image for Malin.
1,419 reviews71 followers
December 4, 2013
Marianne Daventry is an innocent 17-year-old whose mother died the year before in a riding accident. Her father's scarpered off to France to grieve, her twin sister's in London with family friends enjoying a season, while poor little Marianne is wasting away with boredom at her grandmother's in Bath. Her gran, a cranky and unpleasant old biddy, decides to disinherit her no good scoundrel nephew and bestow her fortune of forty thousand pounds on Marianne, as long as the girl will learn to behave like a proper lady (she likes running about out of doors without a bonnet, and prefers the countryside to town life - dreadful stuff).

Marianne clearly needs role models, and is shipped off to Edenbrooke, the estate where Lady Wyndham, a bosom friend of Marianne's mother lives. Marianne's twin sister is besties with Lady Wyndham's daughter, and the girls are set to return to the estate from London, so Marianne will have some company. On the way to Edenbrooke, Marianne's carriage is set upon by a highwayman, and when her coachman is shot, she has to drive the carriage to the nearest inn by herself (this was one of the few useful and admirable things the girl did in the entire novel). At said inn, she's insulted by a gentleman, because of her dishevelled appearance. Once he realises that she is of good standing, he apologises for his incredible rudeness and instead proceeds to condescendingly take matters completely out of her hands. He insists that they be on first name basis, and refuses to divulge anything about his identity.

Once Marianne arrives at Edenbrooke and promptly falls in the river, twice (because she loves to twirl uncontrollably to express happiness, and apparently never looks where she does this), she discovers that Philip is indeed Lady Wyndham's second oldest son. They two strike up a highly unlikely and inappropriate friendship, and just before Marianne's twin Cecily is about to arrive complications rear their ugly head when it's revealed that Philip's older brother died a few years back, making him the lord of the manor, and the man Cecily has set her sights on as a future husband. As Marianne apparently always gives in if her slightly older sister calls dibs on something, this means she has to give up on Philip. Oh noes! How can this conflict ever be resolved!?!

As this book is currently one of the finalists in the Goodreads Choice 2012 awards, and has a huge number of positive reviews both there and here on Amazon, I decided to give it a try. Many of the reviews compare the writing to that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and all I can say is that both women must be spinning in their graves. Or possibly "twirling" like the heroine in this preposterous story.

It's labelled as a "proper romance", because there aren't any graphic love scenes, but the behaviour of the hero and heroine is deeply improper from the moment they first meet. As the heroine is an inexperienced young girl from the country, her ignorance and foolishness might be explained away, but the so-called "gentleman" hero should know better than to encourage the girl to call him by her first name, flirt inappropriately with her in private and in front of his family. At one point, Philip encourages Marianne to take a nap outside, while he sits around watching her (Edward Cullen alert!), and subsequently claims that "she snores like a big, fat man". If that's the makings of a "proper" romance, give me the kind with sexy times every day of the week.

The first half is full of badly done exposition, the author overuses adjectives, and in pretty much every scene, all the characters seem to feel an excess of emotions from joy to anger to despair, if the descriptions of their feelings and facial expressions is to be believed. The book is wildly melodramatic, and might have been better if it was written in 3rd person - but sadly, it's not.'

Then there's the plot, highwaymen, falling into rivers, inappropriate flirting and banter, dreadfully characterised supporting characters (both Marianne's twin sister Cecily and Philip's younger sister Louisa are total mean girl bitches for most of the story, only to make a total turnaround and become super supportive and helpful "fairy godmothers" in the wrap up of the story), kidnappings, random due (inside in the common room at an inn - how do you even go about that?) - it may sound exciting, but most of the time, it's just dull, and there's a limit to how far I can suspend my disbelief.

I fully understand that readers may be looking for clean, chaste Regency romances - but do yourselves a favour and read something by Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer novel instead. This is simply a very poor excuse for a novel, pretty cover notwithstanding.
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,051 reviews589 followers
May 1, 2020

Each time I read this I seem to fall in love just a little bit more. It really is one of my very favorite regencies. I remember when it first came out I was drawn to its beautiful cover, it really fits the story so well.

Marianne is a likable heroine, a bit blind at times and so modest that she couldn't possibly imagine that anyone would chose her over her beautiful twin Cecily. After the tragic death of her mother, she is separated from her twin and sent to live with her grandmother in Bath. Unlike her sister, she prefers the quiet country life and is unhappy living in a bigger city. Marianne is witty, kind and has an innocence that is endearing.

Philip is the ideal hero, it's no surprise that so many people have added him to their "book boyfriend" list. He is just the kind of regency hero that I adore, a true gentleman. He is kind, charming, full of integrity and he just treats Marianne so well. I really loved everything about him, very swoon-worthy.

Philip and Marianne have an awesome love story, while there is an attraction, I loved that they actually build a friendship first. They're is an easy report between them and you can really feel their connection. Marianne is shy and inexperienced, which I thought was realistic for the time period, and while Philip’s intentions may be obvious to us. Marianne is also loyal to a fault and put others needs ahead of her own, which helps explain why I think she purposefully chooses to ignore what's right in front of her.

I loved the writing, it flowed really well and was written in a way that you’re able to get lost in the story and forget that you’re reading. I also loved the supporting characters, especially Philip’s aunt, uncle and mother. Every time I read this I secretly hope that Cecily will get her own book. She is easily swayed by her friendships and worldly pursuits, I just think there is a lot of potential there to see her grow and mature. While I didn't really like Cecily, there were a few times we see glimpses of a genuine person beneath her sometimes self-centered persona and I think it would be fun to see her get her own book.

Overall, a light and fun regency romance.

Romance: Clean and swoony
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Source: Kindle and paperback

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Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,705 followers
September 10, 2017
3.5 stars

Bff and I have a long and complicated history. We were introduced by our mothers soon after my family had relocated to her hometown. My mother, ever anxious for me to make friends, called me over to point out her new friend's daughter, a girl about my age with long, curling blonde hair, wearing a frilly dress, and . . . twirling.

I was not impressed.

This is a story that's been told many times, and not just b/c we did eventually become the good friends our mothers had hoped we would, but also b/c she grew up to be not in the least way inclined-to-twirl, whereas there are few people who would have a hard time imagining me twirl.


But regardless of whether or not that is an accurate perception (I'll never tell), I have not departed from my original stance far enough to encounter this:

Chapter 1

Bath, England, 1816

It was the oak tree that distracted me. I happened to glance up as I walked beneath its full, green canopy. The wind was tossing it's leaves so that they twirled upon their stems, and at the sight I was struck by the realization that it had been much too long since I had twirled. I paused under the branches and tried to remember the last time I had felt the least need to twirl.

And not have a reaction like this:
However, I was in dire need of a palate cleanser, so instead of tossing EDENBROOKE aside in disgust, I kept reading, which was fortunate, b/c it turned out to be a surprisingly good read.

In fact, it it wasn't for this:

"How do you like her?" Phillip asked, nodding toward Meg.
"She's perfect." And she really was. "Just spirited enough to keep it interesting without being difficult to manage. And so beautiful." I patted her neck and flashed him a smile. "A gentle mare would never have been able to keep up with you."
He smiled too, but as if at a private thought. "You are absolutely right."
I wondered what secret lurked beneath his smile.

Really? B/c it's pretty damn obvious to me that he's comparing you to the horse, you silly ideal of femininity.

Right. So if it wasn't for that, this would have been a solid 4.0 star read.

It was kind of an Austen mashup, including elements from MANSFIELD PARK, EMMA, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but still had enough originality for the familiar parts to not be off-putting. Plus, it was devoid of the long-windedness that so often plagued the literature of that time.

Overall, EDENBROOKE fulfilled the purpose I'd had in mind when I started it, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance or Jane Austen. It's not all twirling and chauvinist comparisons . . . *pinky promises*
Profile Image for Holly.
1,431 reviews989 followers
September 14, 2019
This was delightful. The heroine is very guileless, mainly because she is only 17. But she makes up for it with humor and a strong sense of loyalty. This is a clean romance but it's not what I would consider YA. It had a couple of moments that really hit me in the feels. There were also some moments that I wanted to shake the heroine, but in the end I enjoyed this book overall and read the whole thing in a day.
Profile Image for Amy.
587 reviews28 followers
December 13, 2012
I adore Georgette Heyer and her Regency romances and was excited that I might find a new favorite author in this book. I drove my little Volvo home from the library in a flurry of excitement to get started on this book. This is where the story turns sad. I had to abandon this book and I am a little leery of posting my scathing review here because it was recommended by a friend and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. That said based on the Goodreads reviews LOTS of people loved this book and I’m one of the few that didn’t so let's just assume there's something wrong with me and this is a great book. I'm still going to give you the reasons why I detested it though.

There were four main problems that I could tell in the book – one dimensional character, weak plot line, non-existent setting for being a period piece, and poor writing.

Characters – All of the characters were without personality. I believe the author had a checklist of character traits expected in a Regency romance and randomly assigned a few traits to each character. That makes for boring characters. I think boring is too weak of a word. I actively disliked the characters. I was rooting AGAINST them. Had I been in that family I believe I would have run away and tried to be adopted into the Darcy family.

■Grandmother – an old curmudgeon woman with a heart of gold behind her rough exterior. We know this because we are repeatedly told it.
■Marianne – a plucky untraditional beauty that doesn’t fit society’s norms. Oh but she doesn’t really realize she’s a beauty. And she isn’t shunned by society because she’s likeable. Oh and she’s going to be rich someday.
■Philip – You’ll love this one. Totally original. Handsome, rich, and comes off as arrogant when you first meet him. But really he’s a great guy.
■The sister – Beautiful and charming. She’s trying to marry well. I believe in those two phrases I gave her more personality than the author did.

Plot – I hope I don’t give too much away here. Boy meets girl under harrowing circumstances. Boy behaves badly for about two seconds. Boy and girl proceed to have witty banter for two hundred pages. I think it was supposed to be witty banter. I didn’t find them interesting but it appears they found each other interesting.

Setting – What do you think of when you thing “Regency”? Do you picture beautiful people, interesting locals, society, foppish men, stately manors, and lovely gowns? Well, you’d be wrong if you were looking for it in this book. It could easily have taken place anywhere at any time. You could have changed coach to limo and it could have taken place in the upscale neighborhood down the street from me last year. There were no unique problems anyone had to solve because of the time period. Nothing. For pity’s sake at least give the reader some beautiful dresses and a guy with a stylishly cut suit.

Writing – There is no way I can describe the quality of writing and not come off as a pompous jerk. It was bad. If this was fanfiction I read on the internet then it still would have been bad.

If you read this and loved it then I’m glad. I realize I must be in the wrong because everyone else (EVEN MEN!) love this book. I hated it. I double hated it. I want to give this negative stars.
Profile Image for Chantel.
137 reviews54 followers
February 15, 2017
 photo Edenbrooke_zpsfgpyiuqe.jpg

I hope you do not let anyone else's expectations direct the course of your life.” -Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke

O Edenbrooke, O Edenbrooke!!

There are some books that come along that you know you will instantly love, and Edenbrooke is exactly that for me. Reading this story was equivalent to eating chocolate!!

This book was just delightful! This story had everything you want in a Regency romance; endearing characters, dashing hero's, humorous and quick-witted dialogue, and villains that will leave you seething.

Marianne is such a loveable and fun character in this story! I enjoyed every minute from her point of view, and her struggles to be a "elegant" lady verses being herself (twirls and all). ;-)

I really loved the relationship between Phillip and Marianne .I love seeing the banter between them, and the straight out heart-warming moments between them! There are definitely some swoon-worthy moments in here! This is surely a story I will want to read over and over again.
Profile Image for Lena Targaryen.
993 reviews337 followers
February 17, 2016
Oh, qué bonitoooooo.
Ha sido de las mejores novelas románticas de época que he leído. La autora tiene una delicadeza y sencillez escribiendo que me ha sorprendido muy gratamente, transmitiendo mucha dulzura y picaresca a la vez. Sobre todo por sus personajes, que están muy bien construidos y adecuados a la época. Me fascina ese juego social, tan hipócrita muchas veces, pero divertido y caballeroso al mismo tiempo que se llevaba por aquel entonces :D
Aiss, Marianne y Philip han sido adorables.
Un gran acierto esta novela y autora. Leeré más de ella.
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews492 followers
October 17, 2014
This book had been recommended to me ever since I joined Goodreads, and by so many people that I have lost count. When it finally arrived in the mail about a week ago, I pounced on it like a tiger and started jumping up and down in excitement. And if it hadn't been for all the furniture, I might even have twirled... ;) Hahaha just kidding, I don't *ahem* twirl.

So, with exceedingly high expectations after having heard Edenbrooke praised to the skies for so long, I plunged in it wholeheartedly, prepared to be utterly delighted and swept off my feet and...*drumroll*... I WAS!!!

To all the people who predicted I would love Edenbrooke: You were right. SO right!

When a book succeeds in making me feel happy, contended, sad, infuriated, sympathizing, breathless and leaves me turning the last page with a dreamy sigh and a silly lovesick expression, well yeah, I know that I've been reading an amazing book, and it's getting a five star rating.

Edenbrooke is first and foremost a love story. It's basically a Regency fairy-tale. It's cliché and there are many far-fetched and implausible situations, which I admit grated on my nerves a little, and probably would have ruined the book for me if the romance hadn't made up for it. Because in the end, I decided that this book was supposed to be enjoyed for the romance, and read for fun, just like any other fairy-tale that has a few aspects that seem impossible or don't make perfect sense. This novel was not a comedy of manners or a romp, it was a love story. A beautiful, heart-wrenching, heart-warming and amazing love story, and I am completely in love with it.

The setting, as Marianne would say, feels like paradise. Edenbrooke is a grand, magnificent home, resplendent with elegance and luxury. The extensive grounds are just as exquisite in their natural beauty and I'd give a fortune to go on vacation at a place like that. Coming straight from Bath, Marianne is absolutely delighted with the place and plans on making the most out of her visit by exploring the orchard, riding, painting the scenery and twirling around.

At seventeen, Marianne Daventry is a young, innocent girl who has trouble fitting in and behaving like an elegant lady. She was a delightful heroine and I could relate to her in many ways. I liked that she was outspoken and determined one moment, and shy and blushing the next. She was able to pretend she was a milkmaid and sing a silly song in front of a stranger at in inn without the least embarrassment, but have a man tell her she's looking beautiful and suddenly she loses all her wits and that man is an arrogant, odious flirt! Her inability to take any compliments, especially from Philip, was quite irritating, but it was understandable at the same time because she hasn't really had any experience and is not generally disposed to flirt. So every time Philip said something nice to her, or started teasing her (which he did a lot and it was adorable), she immediately felt mortified and was exasperated that he flirted so much.

Philip and Marianne become quick friends and have so many wonderful scenes in the first half of the book before Cecily enters the picture. They ride together, laugh together, confide in each other, explore the house, and they just have such an amazing time and you can really feel it and it is just soooo romantic!! Philip is so obviously madly in love with her, but she remains totally oblivious to it even though she's very much aware of him too.

Ok, so now I just need to pause this a little bit and talk about Philip for a second here (come on, you all knew this was coming! :P). Where can I meet him please?!?! (Please don't answer Edenbrooke or I will cry!)I need that man in my life. Seriously. If we were allowed to marry anyone from literature, he would be my husband. I know that I gush about *almost* every hero I encounter in my historical romances, but Philip Wyndham is simply perfection itself and I'm madly in love with him, and I know that I am clearly crazy, but goodness he was so swoony!! (If ever a hero deserved the word, it is him!) Why do authors create such amazingly impossible dreamy men?! What I am supposed to do now??! Start shopping for cats, I think. ;)

No but, seriously, even if for some deranged reason Philip doesn't make you swoon, surely their romance or his estate will! There is not an extravagant amount of description in Edenbrooke, but the house and grounds are detailed just enough to make you want to pack your bags and move there. And the romance, dear heavens, there is a scene where Marianne sleeps on Philip's jacket in the orchard (and he's lying down close to her), a breathtaking dance scene, another breathtaking one in the stables, one in library, THE LIST GOES ON! And then there is The. Kiss. which nearly made me lose my head, and I think I just sat staring at nothing for a few moments after re-reading it fifty times.

Oooh, and did I mention the love-letter writing lesson Philip gives Marianne? Hottest thing ever. Gentlemen, please take notes. :)

Swooniest thing since Captain Wentworth's letter in Austen's Persuasion.

If all this hasn't convinced you, I don't know what will, but I sincerely hope every romantic out there picks up this book and enjoys the rare treat it is, because you really don't know what you're missing. Doesn't matter if you're not normally into Regency or historical romance. Read it anyways. :D :D


Buddy read with Becca! :)
Profile Image for Melindam.
634 reviews276 followers
April 28, 2020
First of all, Apologies to a Dearest Friend of mine who gave me this book as a b'day present and hoped I would enjoy it as much as she did ....

I tried my Dear, I truly did, BUT ..... and this is the BIGGEST BUT EVER .... I had to give up because:



The MC is a surefire medallist in the Stupidest-and-Most Annoying-Heroine-Ever competition & and not even the fact that she is surrounded by nasty b**ches makes her appear less so.

I won't even start on the twirling thing.

Some superficial research on Wikipedia or somewhere about the dos and don'ts of the Regency era might have helped. Or not.
Honestly, I am not even sure whether it was supposed to be in the Regency era. It might have been Victorian or Edwardian to the same irritating effect. It does not change the fact that I found it an extremely silly and annoying romance.
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,499 reviews439 followers
August 2, 2020
Words cannot express how much I adore this book. I totally relate to Marianne, her insecurities and strengths, and Phillip is the perfect hero in my mind. The romantic tension is off the hook. I can't count how many times I've read it (especially my favorite parts). Also highly recommend the prequel novella, Heir to Edenbrooke.
Profile Image for Sophie.
Author 2 books25 followers
September 25, 2014
(UPDATE: As amazing the second time, if not more!)

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I would give it more than 5 stars if I could!

It really was a 'proper romance' like it says - it satisfied, more than satisfied, my romantic wishes and I am such a hopeless romantic!

I loved the whole story and some parts came as a complete shock. It kept me on tender-hooks which is always the best way in a story.

I loved all the major and minor characters. The heroine, Marianne, is the best heroine! Being my age, I could relate to her very easily (and in context of modern life today!). She was such a sweet and fun character and she reminded me a lot of myself I think. And as for the hero - I want to marry him! He was wonderful - teasing and witty but at the same time wonderfully sweet and romantic! All the scenes with the hero and heroine were absolutely hilarious! And the ending was completely perfect! I was genuinely crying! (From happiness of course! ;)) I also want to live at Edenbrooke - it sounds like a paradise.

There is humour and laughable-out-loud scenes as well as the element of danger and mystery and of course plenty of the most romantic scenes you will have read in a long time, I can assure you!

This has been the first book in an awfully long time where I have wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all over again straight away - and I might just do that!
Profile Image for Kristina Brownell.
608 reviews8 followers
April 9, 2012
This was a very well-done Regency period novel. Other reviews are drawing parallels to Jane Austen. That's a fair assessment based on time period only. Let me share a shocking secret with you...Ready? I do not love Jane Austen novels. There, I said it. I do not love Jane Austen novels. It feels good to have that out in the open. I don't feel light or free when I read those books. I feel weighted down. I don't like the societal customs. I don't find the romance engaging and I am bothered by the language. I know. It's horrible.

Now on to Edenbrooke. It feels authentic. The language suits the time period and yet I am not bored. The romance is beautiful. The setting in which the majority of the book takes place lives in my memory. I absolutely loved the characters. The author did a stunning job. Amazing first novel.
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,367 reviews153 followers
November 11, 2017
4,5 estrellazas. Gran deudor de Jane Austen, se trata de un libro sencillo pero muy bonito, ameno y lleno de romanticismo. La relación que se forja entre los protagonistas, primero de amistad y luego de amor, es preciosa y sus conversaciones muy divertidas. Philip es un protagonista masculino adorable -ayyyyy, esa carta de amor- y Marianne, a pesar de su inseguridad y gran inocencia -justificada por su edad y educación- una mujer leal y nada banal. Me ha encantado.
Profile Image for Marisa Sauco.
302 reviews259 followers
February 2, 2016
La pareja protagonista es ADORABLE.
Su historia de amor... PRECIOSA.
La autora.... IMPECABLE.

¡Qué placer leer libros tan bonitos!
Profile Image for Penny Reid.
Author 109 books20.7k followers
April 4, 2013
Even though I spend most of my time rushing around like a hummingbird on meth, I consider myself a true romantic at heart in that whimsical, day-dreamer kind of way. This book is for true romantics. It's not Jane Austen and it is not- necessarily- one million percent historically accurate but it is funny and smart and it made me sigh and my chest all achy. The hero is heroic and the heroine is sweet. I loved it and have already re-read it. It was by far my favorite romance of 2012.
Profile Image for Julie Carpenter.
1,388 reviews162 followers
February 24, 2018
This is my umpteenth time reading Edenbrooke and I love it more and more each time! Julianne Donaldson is a fabulous author and storyteller!!! If you are a regency era fan this is the next book you need to grab and read! Warning: you probably won't want to put it down once you start so don't start when you have lots going on or you will either putting everything off or rushing to finish it so you can read! Lol.

I love both of the MCs. Marianne is a sweet girl who is hurting from losing her mother and being separated from her twin sister and father. She is not interested in London society and social expectations but enjoys the country and the freedom to be herself. She lives with her grandmother and aunt and is trying to behave like a proper lady but sometimes can't help using her wits and speaking her mind, or twirling or running out of doors. Her grandmother decides to name her as the heir to a small fortune and at the same time Marianne is invited by her twin sister to Edenbrooke for the summer. Excited for the chance to escape bath, to see her sister and be once again in the country, Marianne sets off with her maid to Edenbrooke. On the way their coach is attacked causing them to stop at an inn along the way to recover. While there Marianne meets a gentleman who turns out to be Phillip, one of the residents of Edenbrooke. She doesn't know that at the time but eventually discovers that. Marianne is in need of a friend and someone she can talk to and trust. Phillip becomes that friend and it is fun to read and watch their friendship develop.

There are twists and turns throughout. Devious men, a silly sister, horses, silly relations, sorrow, love letters, a duel, books, highway men, fainting, battle of the wits, balls and hidden identity. Plus much much more!

I have also read Donaldson's other novel "Blackmoore" several times. I am anxiously awaiting to see what else Donaldson will write, she's wonderful!! If you have seen these titles but haven't tried them do so now! I've loaned my copies of these books out to numerous friends and the consensus is all the same: they love them and want more. If you've never heard of these books or author go check them out!!!

Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Cherine.
28 reviews70 followers
April 5, 2012
My favorite read of 2012!! Actually it tops as one of my favorite reads ever. Julianne Donaldson is so a kindred spirit! I am in love with Philip maybe even more than my beloved Mr. Darcy :)
Profile Image for ♡♡ Vane ♡♡.
35 reviews14 followers
March 8, 2023
Sencilla, adictiva, dulce y romántica💕
Necesitaba una historia de amor que me despertara mariposas y esta novela lo logró con creces.
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 7 books55k followers
December 3, 2019
This is one of those books you all have been telling me to read for YEARS. (I'd be embarrassed to add up how many times I've checked it out of the library and returned it unread.) When yet another due date approached, I finally read it—in a single day!

This is a squeaky-clean Regency romance, strongly reminiscent of Georgette Heyer and often recommended for Jane Austen fans. (I wouldn't hesitate to pass this on to my 10-year-old.)

Fast and fun for Janeites and historical fiction lovers.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
996 reviews512 followers
November 21, 2015
Exactamente no sé qué decir. En cierta manera me ha decepcionado un poco. Supongo que después del éxito que ha tenido el libro, me imaginaba otra cosa; una historia diferente. Y, aunque no puedo decir que me a desagradado tampoco me a encantado: la he encontrado demasiado inocente. Y, aun así, eso es buena señal, ya que las jóvenes de esa época, debían de ser como Marianne.
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