Five Stars, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

There were never such devoted Sisters

I love having 3 sisters. I feel so blessed that we are so close and I count them as my best friends. But I have a confession. Sometimes while growing up having three sisters was hard. I compared myself to them a lot, which was bad enough, but others compared me to them as well. I felt I was never as smart or as good or as talented. I didn’t want to be what others labeled me as compared to my sisters, I wanted to me more.

In the novel, Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, the main character Marianne is a twin.

“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.”

Marianne, like most of us do, had a defining moment in her childhood where she decided she was never going to want what her twin sister had, or try to be as accomplished in what her twin was. In doing so it made her search out her own talents and be her own person; making her unique from the other ladies of society. I loved that the author threw in a driving force to try and get Marianne to be like that ladies of society through her Grandma’s inheritance. Marianne however, can’t do it. Her letters to her grandma explain that what she’s learned from the other ladies in society, is how she doesn’t want to be like them. The letters made me laugh out loud. I loved her journey of learning that she is ok just the way she is and she doesn’t need to fit into a mold.  “I am not impressed with elegant ladies at all. I think I would prefer to milk cows for the rest of my days.” I connect with self-discovery books where the characters learn they don’t need to be like everyone else to be loved or wanted, they just need to be themselves.

I had great respect for the author deciding to not make Cecily into just the pretty vapid twin, she was more than that. She definitely had her moments, but when it counted she showed loyalty and respect for her sister, standing by her even at risk to her own wants. That’s what sisters should always do.

Julianne Donaldson also wrote, Heir to Edenbrooke. This little novellette is the first few chapter of Edenbrooke, from Phillips perspective. I loved this so much and would have loved it if the whole book gave us both their perspectives. I can’t get enough of the scene at the Inn, from either perspective. “ ‘Big Cows’ thump ‘lumps of meat’ thump ‘give me milk’ thump ‘warm and sweet’ thump” Just go read them both, they’ll make you laugh as well. You can easily do that this October as Edenbrooke is being released in a beautiful hardcover Collector’s Edition with Heir to Edenbrooke included!

Any book that makes me smile the whole way through deserves 5 stars. –M.V.

2 thoughts on “There were never such devoted Sisters”

  1. I love this book! It just makes me smile the whole time reading it. Having been a ballerina in a former life I know the necessity of a good twirl, and think that was possibly my favorite subplot point. I have a recommendation if you’ve never read it. Read Edenbrooke all the way through, read Heir to Edenbrooke, then read Edenbrooke again. I know that’s a bit crazy. I read Edenbrooke many moons ago and quite a bit before I read Heir to Edenbrooke so they were more distantly connected in my brain. This time around I read Heir to Edenbrooke first and then Edenbrooke. I feel like it completely changed a couple of scenes that included Philip. So I’m just curious if I was the only one that experienced that slight perspective shift? It was a good shift and made me love the book even more. Julianne Donaldson has an artful way with words. Her scenes are beautifully descriptive without seeming wordy. Her writing style is witty and refreshing and I can’t wait for her next book! –N.C.
    ps- If you haven’t read “Blackmoore” you should read that too 🙂


  2. Confession….this is the first short victorian romance novel that I really really really enjoyed! Sometimes these books can be a bit to fluffy for my taste, but I actually really like the way she made each character compelling in their own way. I loved her descriptive narrative, the drama and the suspense that she threw into the plot. I do love me a good damsel in distress! I am excited to read more written by Julianne Donaldson’s. -AB


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