Edenbrooke by Julianna Donaldson Review & Discussion

For this blog I want to distinguish between “review” and “discussion”
Review: an opinion about the book without spoilers
Discussion: delving deeper into the book including spoilers

Edenbrooke by Julianna Donaldson
Historical Romance

The sensation grew stronger, convincing me that it was only the distance between us that was keeping me from uncovering the truth. If I leaned toward him, something would happen. I was sure of it. But if I leaned away, nothing would happen. So I stayed perfectly still, balanced between something and nothing, not knowing which way I wanted to fall.


Synopsis: After a tragic event of losing her mother – Marianne, Cecily (her twin sister), and her father are split up to mourn. Cecily is staying with family in London while Marianne is stuck in Bath. After their father not returning or being in contact for over a year, Marianne and Cecily have the opportunity to stay with their mother’s friend – the Wyndhams – in Edenbrooke. Little did Marianne know what the paradise would have in store for her.

Review: This was my first real “historical romance” book and I was instantly pulled into the story. I enjoyed it so much because despite the setting being in 1816, the book was written in modern English so it was easier to follow. I resonated with Marianne’s character in so many ways that it made me rethink some of my passive actions in life.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to someone who would be interested in reading a more “YA-style” historical romance – the book didn’t contain any intense, sexy scenes which I know some people prefer! I also think this book is especially good for any new historical romance readers because of the easy reading it was!

“I have discovered happiness in being true to who I am. I hope you will give that idea some consideration.”


There was so much waste in hoping for something that could never be yours, I decided. It was better to seize happiness where it was available.

**Spoilers Ahead**

What I loved the most about this book was the turmoil inside Marianne between wanting to be a good twin sister to Cecily versus doing what will make her happy with the rest of her life. I can definitely relate with feeling like I should fall by the wayside while everyone else can fight for what they want – this should not be the case for anyone!

Marianne talks about always doing things differently compared to her sister just so there wouldn’t be a competition since she “knows” that she would lose. There was an example in their childhood with a doll that they were supposed to share. Marianne pretended that she didn’t want anything to do with the doll and just let Cecily have it so they would never have to compete for it.

But with something as significant with loving someone, you should never have to give up on happiness in that area. Throughout the book you could see all of her attempts to shut Sir Philip out of her life – by listing things she didn’t like about him and by disregarding all of his actions towards her as him “being a flirt.”

You stole my heart the night we met, when you sang that ridiculous song and dared me not to laugh. And every moment I have spent with you since then, you have stolen more and more of me until when you’re not with m

Sir Philip loves Marianne for her quirkiness – while others (like Cecily and Marianne’s grandmother) reprimand her for not being an “elegant lady.” This lesson shows that you should always be true to yourself. Why would you want some man to fall in love with you while you’re acting like an “elegant lady” when you would have to act like that for the rest of your life??

I reread my grandmother’s letter and realized with a deep sense of contentment that I had not had to change at all in order to have every hope for happiness in life. I had not had to learn to sing for company or to behave like Cecily or to stop twirling. I could be myself and be loved deeply. I was, in fact, a lot like Meg, who had always been a racehorse. I just hadn’t known it.

What is the most beautiful is when Marianne realizes that she is worth it. She is worthy of having true love for the rest of her life.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!