Historical romance novels, by and large, are not typically known for their character innovation or difficult plot construction. The familiarity of the setting and the foregone conclusion of a happily-ever-after ending for the main characters are often exactly what the reader is looking for when selecting a novel of this sort. Which is to say, Edenbrooke by Utah-transplant Julianne Donaldson is everything a reader would expect in a Regency Romance (a novel set during the period of the British Regency, 1811–1820). In fact, the plot devices often feel like a game of Regency-Romance bingo: the hard-hearted grandmother that secretly has a heart of mush; the frivolous, pretty sister who outshines the sensible, quiet sister; the handsome, eligible bachelor who owns an incredibly large country estate. There is even a scene with a highwayman for added bonus points.
The novel starts with town-averse Marianne, who has been living in Bath with her grandmother, receiving an invitation to visit a country estate. The invitation comes from her society-loving twin sister, Cecily, who fancies herself in love with the heir to the country estate. You get the idea.
While the Regency tropes in Edenbrooke feel familiar, Donaldson does a great job making the characters sparkle with wit and life. The main character, Marianne, serves as an able guide through the time period. More importantly, the male romantic lead is handsome, rich, and just a little bit dangerous, making the romance between the two all the more satisfying in the end.
Brooke Young is the Teen Services Manager at Salt Lake City Public Library. To find Edenbrooke and similar books within the library's catalog, or for more info on The City Library's programs and services, visit slcpl.org.