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? Quoted from Goodreads
This is the second book I've read by Julianne Donaldson---I adored Edenbrook, but you never know. She could be a one hit wonder. Doubtful, since everyone I know who's read it really enjoyed it, but still . . . some people liked this one better, other people liked that one. All I can say for sure, if you liked Edenbrook, you need to read this.
This book is cute, adorable, but also kind of sad. Kate's family is horrible, especially her mother who is nothing but pure, undiluted, tawdry evil, and her sisters aren't much better. Her brother's cute, her father distant, but there was no hope for the girls. That actually kind of made me sad. Her two younger sisters aren't even mentioned, but with a mother like that and no Kate to help them, I don't see a lot of hope for their future. Plus . . . well, besides Kate and her single aunt, there really aren't any good female characters in the whole book. Basically all the fathers are absent and the mothers manipulative. Even Kate's best friend is a lazy tattle-tale and the "perfect" Miss St. Claire is designed to get on your nerves.
Still, this is a "proper romance" and the romance itself is excellent. Henry's sweet, caring, and everything you could ask for. Kate, well, she's messed up by her family and her secrets, has a bit of a temper, but she's also kind, fun, and desperate for adventure. I loved watching the way their relationship unfolds. Half of it's in the past, half at Blackmoore, but with each chapter you can't help but cheer them on, hoping they can work everything out, even as you better understand the things keeping them apart.
If you like the Regency Era or are just a fan of Edenbrook, you should check this out. It's a sweet, delightful romance that you can't help but fall in love with. Right now, I'm giving it a strong 4 stars. If you're looking for a great romantic read, look no further. I'm definitely a Julianne Donaldson fan, and I'll be keeping an eye out for anything else she writes.