Hi all! Happy almost December! Can you believe it? I have been a bit MIA this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. It was wonderful to be with family and celebrate all our blessings!
Today I’m back with a review of one of my recent absolute favorite romances. It’s not often that I read a book over and over right after I finish it the first time. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson has become one of those books for me. Recently, I read it twice. In one week.
Donaldson calls Edenbrooke “a proper romance.” I find that classy. Love doesn’t have to be raunchy or lust-driven. It can be beautiful, deeply meaningful, and lasting.
Edenbrooke is set in Regency England–potentially my favorite time period and place in the world. The ladies are elegant. The gentlemen are honorable. And the courting is proper and lovely.
The story is beautiful. It follows the experiences of Marianne Daventry, a young lady who recently lost her mother and lives with her grandmother in Bath, England. She is invited to Edenbrooke, the vast estate of a childhood-friend of her mother. She jumps at the chance to return to the country.
On her way there, she is attacked by a highwayman. That trauma leads her to an inn for shelter and help. It’s there that she meets Philip.
From the moment they meet, I was sure they would fall in love. If this was a proper romance, the proper people should fall in love. The best part about their love is that is blossoms from friendship and genuine admiration.
As Marianne arrives at Edenbrooke a full week before her twin sister Cecily, she and Philip spend a lot of time together. They ride horse, explore the grounds, practice archery, and never quite get around to the promised chess game. I love when they make their vows to each other in the library to love each other for the right reasons. He flirts with her and shows her his home. And she appreciates it for its beauty and feeling. She loves Edenbrooke for Edenbrooke. And she cares for Philip as himself.
But what I love most is how they talk. They discuss traveling and books. They talk about relationships and family. They have meaningful conversations–beyond dancing at balls or buying ribbon for bonnets. They open their hearts to each other.
As with any romance, there are moments when someone can’t admit their love or a third person tries to get into their relationship. It pits loyalty to family against potential to find love. That’s a hard one to pick between. But the beauty of Edenbrooke is those moments are small and they pass quickly.
I seem to be constantly relieving the climax of the book over and over in my head. The turns to get there are surprising and make me turn the pages even faster. And it feels like you’re learning with Marianne the depth of Philip’s feelings and the importance of her to him. From his declaration that “I will always want her. Always!” to his smoldering look as they dance together, I was head over heels in love with the moments. It’s a beautiful ending to a lovely story. Philip, overcome with emotions, kisses Marianne so beautifully and exclaims “How could you not know?” That, my friends, is love.
It ends with love. True and deep love. Love that overcomes your whole soul and controls your thoughts, feelings and action. Love that seemed out of reach and impossible. But that is so real.
I love Marianne as the protagonist. She is quirky and not a “proper” elegant lady. She loves the outdoors and twirling in a circle. She is relatable because she is imperfect and true to herself. Marianne finds love that is true and deep. And she doesn’t have to change her inelegant, twirling way.
Perhaps the reason I seem to have fallen in love with this book is that it feels real to me. It feels like it could really happen. It happened to me.
I fell in love with a boy I had known for only a short time. We talked about meaningful things, about our travels and experiences and families. And it was easy, so easy to become his friend and to want to tell everything about my life. There were a few short moments when I questioned how good it was–thought we were going to parties to see other people in particular. But then he grabbed my hand on our first date. And I saw so clearly that he cared for me above anyone else.
Have you experienced Edenbrooke yet?
What other great romances do I need to read?