Blog tour/Review: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

blackmoore

  • Title:  Blackmoore: A Proper Romance
  • Author:  Julianne Donaldson
  • Genre:  Regency Romance
  • Published:  September 2013 – Shadow Mountain
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  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.

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. (publisher)

My take:  If a novel with enjoyable main characters, an atmospheric Regency-era setting, and a bit of a twisty plot sounds good to you, you’ll want to read Blackmoore.

Blackmoore is Henry Delafield’s family summer home by the sea. Kate Worthington grew up hearing about the place from her friends Henry and his sister Sylvia. Each summer they would return with stories for their friend and neighbor Kate.  She longed to one day visit this wonderful place.

The large house was more a character than a setting. There are dark halls, drafty rooms, secret passageways, rumors of ghosts in the night – you get the drift.  A Blackmoore house party will eventually determine the futures of Henry and Kate.

I loved the main characters. They were so honorable and their story so heart-wrenching. Kate was easy to cheer for from the start. And Henry? It was difficult not to fall in love with Henry. They are faced with meeting family expectations or following their hearts. When Kate accepts a challenge from her mother it eventually forces them to reveal secrets to each other that could end any hope of a future together. You’ll have to read the book to learn more!

Blackmoore is a G-rated Regency Romance and I recommend it to fans of the genre.

Note: I enjoyed Julianne Donaldson’s writing so much that midway through this novel I purchased her first novel, Edenbrooke (which is $1.99 for both Kindle and nook in September).

About the author:

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, Julianne-Donaldsonvisited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her husband and four children.

You can connect with Julianne Donaldson at her Facebook page.

blackmoore

Proper Romance

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Book arrivals:

Nora Roberts Land that part was true the scandal in kissing an heir

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Books I’m reading:

  • Christmas in Snowflake Canyon by Raeanne Thayne
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Sweet Salt Air: A novel by Barbara Delinsky

sweet salt air

  • Title:  Sweet Salt Air
  • Author:  Barbara Delinsky
  • Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Wunderkind PR

Synopsis:  Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.  (publisher)

My take:  Sweet Salt Air is the first of Barbara Delinsky’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m glad to see she has written several other novels because I want to read more! What attracted me to this book first was the setting: summer on an island off the coast of Maine. Doesn’t that sound inviting?

I also liked the idea of two friends connecting after several years of being apart. When they meet up again their story unfolds as do the secrets they’ve both been holding. Delinsky’s well-paced story kept me turning the pages as I wondered how it would all play out. At times I was annoyed with Nicole but then reminded myself of her circumstances and wondered if perhaps I might behave the same way. I identified more with Charlotte in that she was fairly straight forward in her interactions with Nicole and then Leo. Ah, Leo. One of my friends who read the book before I did proclaimed him “yummy” – and I have to agree, lol. No spoilers, though. You’ll have to read the book 🙂

The author delves into medical issues – one of the characters has MS – and the possibilities of stem cell transplantation as a cure. I found it quite interesting and appreciated all the research that went into that aspect of the novel.

Serious medical issues aside, I think Sweet Salt Grass would be the perfect vacation read. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Barbara Delinsky.

Spotlight on: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Jacket Art_THE WEDDING GIFT
Book Summary:

We first meet Sarah as a child just beginning to understand her captivity at the young age of six.  Sarah is the daughter of Cornelius Allen, the slave master, and his house slave, Emmeline. When Master Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: Sarah, the young slave she grew up with who also happens to be her sister.  When Clarissa’s new husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, THE WEDDING GIFT is a stunning novel that demonstrates the bonds of slavery do not end with slaves.  It is historical fiction at its best and no one is better equipped to share this story than Marlen Suyapa Bodden whose knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses translates to an intimate portrait of America, then and now.

THE WEDDING GIFT will resonate with readers of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees, where complicated bonds and compelling female relationships are explored.

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Author Bio:

Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest Author Photo_Marlen S Boddenlegal services organization. She has more than two decades’ experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all.

She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel.

On May 20, 2012, the University of Rhode Island conferred on Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.

Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

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Last week on Bookfan:

Books I’m reading this week:

  • The Best Man by Kristan Higgins (audio)
  • Christmas in Snowflake Canyon by Raeanne Thayne (eGalley)
  • The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen (arc)

Happy reading!

Audio: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax


while we were watching downton abbey

  • Title:  While We Were Watching Downton Abbey
  • Author:  Wendy Wax
  • Narrator:  Orlagh Cassidy
  • Published:  April 2013 – Penguin Audio
  • Source:  I purchased the audiobook

My take:  Wendy Wax had me at Downton Abbey 🙂  HOWEVER, you don’t need to have watched the series to enjoy this novel.

When the British concierge of the Alexander, an upscale Atlanta apartment building, alerts residents of weekly screenings of Downton Abbey in one of the common rooms no one is sure what to expect. Certainly unexpected is the resulting friendship of three women who’d not met until the first screening.

Samantha is a wealthy woman in her forties who seems to live an easy life. She’s very good at putting on a good face for all who know her but below the surface there’s family drama and turmoil.

Brooke is a divorced mom of two young daughters. After working hard to put her ex-husband through medical school and setting up his office he decided he didn’t want to be married to her anymore. Now his girlfriend is pregnant and wearing a huge diamond ring.

Clare, an author, is a divorced empty-nester. With her daughter away at college Clare has given herself a year to concentrate on her writing – no day job. Trouble is, she has writer’s block.

Edward, the concierge, is a warm and intuitive man who does his best to make sure the residents enjoy the weekly screenings. He also befriends the three women. Edward has a bit of a story himself but would never divulge it to anyone in the building.

When the unthinkable happens their friendship is put to the test. As usual, Wendy Wax’s story completely entertained me. Orlagh Cassidy did a good job voicing each character. I really liked her performance. She kept me walking or knitting – always signs of a good audiobook.

If you like women’s fiction I think you’ll enjoy While We Were Watching Downton Abbey.

Spotlight on: The Partner Track by Helen Wan

Cover Art_PARTNER TRACKSynopsis:  In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a “two-fer.” As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she’s the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP’s recruiting brochures–their treasured “Golden Girl.” But behind the firm’s welcoming façade lies the scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking old-boy network that shuts out lawyers like Ingrid. To compensate, Ingrid gamely plays in the softball league, schmoozes in the corporate cafeteria, and puts in the billable hours—until a horrifically offensive performance at the law firm’s annual summer outing throws the carefully constructed image way out of equilibrium.

Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new “Diversity Initiative” and commands a reluctant Ingrid to spearhead the effort, taking her priority away from the enormous deal that was to be the final step in securing partnership. For the first time, Ingrid finds herself at odds with her colleagues—including her handsome, golden-boy boyfriend—in a clash of class, race, and sexual politics.
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About the author:
HELEN WAN is Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced Helen Wan_Credit Sigrid Estradacorporate and media law at law firms in New York. Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband and son.
Author’s  website    twitter    Facebook
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Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR