by Julianne Donaldson
Plot 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:I always love a good romance, but I think this book takes it a bit too far. If there was an immediate thought I had when I finished this book (amidst the swooning) I think it would have been "life-ruiner!" As in, this book has characters, setting and a romance that is simply never to be had in this lifetime. What a joy this novel is. It's the ultimate escape for people who want to read about romance that will hurt your heart with it's perfection.
Now I can talk about the depth of the character development, the perfect weaving of backstory in the lives of the characters with their present-day action and the surprising twists in the story's development (and I will talk about those things) but all I'm thinking about right now is the romance. The glorious, achingly tense, perfectly pitched romance that had me constantly turning pages. Seriously, I had to remember to breathe through all that tension. Kate Worthington is determined to live an unconventional, independent life away from a family that she doesn't understand and who doesn't understand her, and the lengths she goes to achieve her goal - her uncompromising persevering pursuance of it - shows the indomitable nature of her character. And the tension in her need to resist her romantic feelings for her best friend because it gets in the way of the freedom she craves, is what drives the narrative. I think it's pretty clear early on how the couple feel about each other but with a myriad of secrets kept between them, they don't feel free to say what they feel. And the author torments the reader in letting slip so many tender moments between them, while still keeping them apart. It's so beautifully done and so utterly enchanting, I was reduced to a starry-eyed sop by the end of the story. No regrets though.
The characters are of course a very important component to why this novel worked so well. The main characters are believable and inspiring and truly deserving of each other. Kate is a very strong heroine, and one who is compassionate and intelligent. Often heroines who are rebels are also a bit wild, but Kate is on the whole modest and refined - a contrast to her family who are involved in a shocking scandal or two. It's partly because of the these scandals that Kate's prospects have been hurt, and because she is not like them, but an interesting, bookish, and vibrant character I really rooted for, I was so looking forward to her happy ending.
Her dear friend Henry Delafield who is very caring and chivalrous and downright swoonworthy, tries to keep his feelings locked up, but whenever there were glimpses of it, it made him that much more appealing because of the sincerity in his character and the effort he made to keep what he thought would not be wanted. It's so lovely to read a romance that begins with a true connection between the characters, and maintains that through their conversation and interactions.
With the story set on the English seaside moors and a lovely old manor home the backdrop for such a tense but curbed passionate love story, the atmosphere of this book is pretty much perfect. The wildness of the moors and the sea compliments the brimming life in Kate, and although I was surprised by a certain turn the story took in the end, it made complete sense and made me very happy for Kate. I think this is an extraordinarily lovely novel and perfect for readers who love an intellectual romance between two strong characters.
I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.
"You are brave and loyal and true. You have such a good heart." He held my hand close to his chest and covered it with his other hand. "It is only afraid. But I would take such good care of it, love, if you would give it to me."
Loc 2325/ p191