Julianne Donaldson
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Shadow Mountain
Release Date
September 2013
Historical Romance

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never to 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 sooner rather than later 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.

Book Review by JCCeleste (reviewer)
Oct 04, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
96 people found the following review helpful
What would you do if the truest expression of love meant walking away? In BLACKMOORE by Ms Donaldson, we are introduced to a wonderful form of romance where the happily-ever-after is reached through different paths.

Kate (our narrator) has set her mind to never marrying, yet she must receive (and reject) three marriage proposals within a set time or face terrible consequences at the hands of her mother. Utterly incapable of flirting, and rather unwilling to lead some poor man on only to reject him anyway, Kate comes to the brilliant conclusion that she'll ask her childhood best friend (Henry) to propose to her three times and she promises she will reject him and not cause him any bother. Little does she know...we, as the reader, come to see that Henry has feelings for her more than just friendship, and we suspect she does, too, but they are held from expression by more than just the social expectation of who belongs with whom, and Kate's unwavering decision to never marry, ever.

The first person voice creates an intimacy that yet allows for some mystery, and I enjoyed that. As the chapters alternate between past and present, pieces come together but we are just as surprised as the other characters at the final reveal. (Often with romances, we know something far before the other characters, because we have alternating points of view between the lovers' voices, so it's more of a situation where we're waiting for the other to either catch on or overcome their inner/outer demons and finally come together.)

As a historical romance, I loved the pacing. The tension between Kate and Henry is bittersweet, crackling, yet confined to stolen moments or social gestures and all the more precious because of it. We don't yet know all that keeps them apart, but the moments they share are pitched perfectly. I wanted to read the whole book over again once I had finished it, now that I had the special understanding of what they had faced. (Yet it was very satisfying as its own read.)

BLACKMOORE is a beautiful, engaging whirlwind and tapestry of a story, sweet romance at its best, with a hint of literary prose as the lush descriptions created a world that blossomed in the subtleties of a scene. Ms Donaldson, an English major, knew how to use her words and it felt, in the end, like a celebration of language and how we can use the emotional undercurrent of words and moments to capture a life in all its myriad shades.
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