Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: Edenbrook

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 she 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.  Quoted from Goodreads


I am, quite possibly, of of the last people in existence to jump on the Edenbrooke bandwagon. It was sort of a novel experience, really.  First, it's recommended by a friend of my sister, who then (without reading it), told me I had to read it so she could.  Since this doesn't happen often, I was kind of intrigued and a bit wary. Then I started reading it, and everyone, and I mean everyone, (okay, every girl) who found out what I was reading, immediately told me that I would love this book . . . and for the most part, they were right.

This is one of those simple, adorable stories.   It's mostly set in the aptly named Edenbrooke estate, a place I would love to visit, but with a highwayman and a forty thousand pound  inheritance hanging in the balance. Basically, it's Jane Austen (time period and character-wise) with a bit more passion/excitement thrown in, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

First, there's the delightful Philip.  I absolutely loved his character.  He was sweet, funny, and just what Marianne needed.  I really liked the way their relationship grew as the book progressed.  It wasn't love at first sight.  You could really see why these two fell for each other as they spent time together talking and doing things.  This book's success is dependent on their relationship, it's success or failure riding on how well we like the way their romance plays out, and it definitely succeeded.

Marianne was an interesting character.  She was sweet, naive, fun-loving, and adventurous, with a bad twirling habit when she was happy.  She was also, at times, really thick.  Mostly I loved her character, and I do understand that she was new to the whole flirting/courtship thing, but there were a few instances that drove me absolutely crazy with how long it took her to figure things out.  Despite that, there's something about her I really liked.  You couldn't help cheering for her.

In some ways, however, Marianne's sister, Cicely, was one of the best characters.  She was full of contradictions, but she came across as completely real and complex.  She was shallow but cared for her sister.  She was a bit mercenary, overly fashionable and in many ways Marianne's opposite, but for all her faults, she never abandoned her relationship with her sister or how important it was to her, and I really liked that.  

All in all, this is a strong 4 stars for me (with the possibility of being bumped half a star higher  in the future).  It was one of those books that made me immediately go back and read my favorite parts when I was finished with it. Plus, there were a few twists I didn't see coming (which is hard for a book as straight-forward as this one, for the most part, was). It also served as the impetus for a historical/Austenesque reading frenzy, I'm still immeshed in. So if you're looking for a great love story, you need to read this book. 

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