Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson: ft. Jane Austen Vibes and Swoon Worthy Boys

An immersive read for Austen fans alike, Edenbrooke suffers slightly in excess description and repetitiveness, but will ultimately enchant readers craving Regency Era romance.

So, fun fact- I recently got a job at a bookstore. And I’m telling you, working12820360 at a bookstore is the ultimate dream job. Full disclosure, it’s not really healthy for my wallet, but it’s a heavenly experience.

And there’s this book that my manager loves called Edenbrooke. I mentioned once that I’m kind of a Jane Austen fan, and she promised me that I would love Edenbrooke as well.

Yesterday at work I caved and bought it. (I have absolutely zero self-control when it comes to buying books. Hahahaha.) I went home, sat on my bed and opened to page one, and didn’t move until I’d closed the book three hours later.

There were a *few* things that bugged me, but overall this was probably one of the best Regency Era novels I’ve ever read. If you’re a fellow Jane Austen fan, I would totally recommend this book to you. If you like flirtatious rich young men (@ me) you will love this book.

things i disliked

  • The writing was sometimes repetitive and over descriptive.

Marianne, the main character, notices a heck of a lot about the other characters’ mannerisms, and she describes them in short sentences. I usually love reading detail about what’s going on in a scene, but it went overboard a few times and I had to force myself to not skip the rest of the paragraph.

Example:

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. 

Seriously, could she not just say, “Philip pressed his lips together, attempting to hold back a laugh.” I can picture it easily enough without the extra description.

  • Marianne drove me crazy  had a huge lack of self-respect. 

Basically, Marianne falls in love with Philip (who wouldn’t??). However, when her sister Cecily arrives at Edenbrooke and decides she wants to be with Philip, Marianne starts treating him horribly and attempts to sever their friendship completely. Um, what?

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.

The whole thing is explained with a memory about some doll that Marianne and her sister fought over when they were little.. honestly, it’s a bit petty and childish. And meanwhile Cecily is engaging in immoral behaviors, but Marianne says nothing about it. The whole situation was very frustrating.

the good points

After all that ranting, I’m sure you’re wondering why in the world I loved this book so much, and I can tell you quite easily.

  • Philip Philip Philip Philip.

Philip was the love interest of Edenbrooke and he was so lovely and absolutely swoonworthy. If all men were like Philip and Mr. Darcy, life would be better.

POLITENESS IS VERY ATTRACTIVE okay?

Honestly, for all the downsides of this book, Philip makes up for them all. I kept reading just so I could read more of Marianne’s interactions with him. Anything else felt entirely irrelevant. He teases her while simultaneously remaining perfectly gentlemanly. He’s funny, considerate, intelligent, and incredibly eloquent.

I long to touch your blushing cheek, to whisper in your ear how I adore you, how I have lost my heart to you, how I cannot bear the thought of living without you.
To be so near to you without touching you is agony. Your blindness to my feelings is a daily torment, and I feel driven to the edge of madness by my love for you.

Seriously, where can you find a guy like this?? Because um, sign me up!

giphy

Do I know this is cheesy? Yes. Do I love this kind of talk? Also yes.

  • The atmosphere was very Austen-esque. 

Philip calls Marianne by her Christian name, which is very very taboo in the Regency Era and was *slightly* frustrating. Other than that, though, Donaldson does stick to her time period. The transportation, fashion, and speech all reflects the Regency Era. In my personal experience, this is very hard for most authors to do. For that, I applaud this book. It wasn’t holistically perfect, but it was close enough. Gold star.

the verdict

If you enjoy:

  • witty banter between intelligent characters
  • attractive young gentlemen
  • twirling and dancing and ballrooms
  • libraries

you will undoubtedly enjoy this book. I would recommend for fans of non-YA romance. This is called a “proper romance” for a reason- it’s very classically styled.

four stars

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