Author: Julianne Donaldson
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Goodreads rating: 4.27 out of 5.00
Goodreads | The Reading Room
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.Review by Nara
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.
I don't know if this is a thing with historical romances, but I've found that pretty much all of the ones that I've read are just so ridiculously predictable. Every "twist" and "turn" can be seen from a mile away. And Blackmoore was no different. Predictable, predictable, predictable beyond belief. But I must also admit that I really particularly care. As I went into the story expecting predictability, I didn't mind that the plot actually was obvious, because that's what I was prepared for, if that makes any sense. And I do think that when you go into this novel, or Donaldson's previous novel Edenbrooke, not only do you have to expect the expected, you must embrace it (that is, if you want any hope of even remotely enjoying the books).
I don't tend to read much historical romance, but I find that I really enjoy the ones I do read. Blackmoore is a rather typical childhood friend turned love interest story, but there were some more interesting aspects that kept it from being too typical. First was the whole "I'm never going to marry" thing. Seriously, how many historical romance novels have protagonists completely against marriage? Not too many, I'd wager. In the ones I've read, they're always "oh, I must find me a man" etc etc. Although I do have to add that the reason for her unwillingness to marry was pretty cliched.
I rather liked the way that the important background information was told in a series of flashbacks. It was a neat way of handling the information so that the reader didn't feel like everything was a massive infodump. It also just flowed rather nicely.
There were a couple of tropes included in the novel. One kind of annoying one being the "overheard conversation misinterpretation" trope. It happened in Edenbrooke, and it happens in Blackmoore. Sigh. Is there really no other way to introduce conflict? Oh wait, there is. There's the other annoying trope. The rival trope. Of course there's the rival for the love interest's affection. And of course that rival is refined and beautiful and intelligent and (superficially) "kind". But again, because I was expecting these cliches, they weren't anywhere near as irritating as they would have been in, say, a YA novel. (Prejudice against YA novels? Probably. Sorry, not sorry.)
While I wouldn't go into this book expecting something completely fresh, it's certainly something that fans of Edenbrooke won't be disappointed with. Now, I'm off to read Emma in preparation for Emma Approved (did you guys watch the Lizzie Bennett Diaries? Emma Approved is the Emma version of that. The episodes so far have been pretty awesome.)