Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review for "Edenbrooke" {by Julianne Donaldson}

AUTHOR: Julianne Donaldson
PUBLISHER: Shadow Mountain
GENRE: Romance (Regency)

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. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.


4 stars out of 5

Our Group Review:

Though no one can replace Price and Prejudice or Emma, Julianne Donaldson gives Regency Romance a contemporary feel that will draw in readers, both young and old. Her novel is set in the era, but the language is easy to read and understand. 
Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review
We lucked out this month in that we got to have the author herself, Julianne Donaldson, come to our book club night! She answered all of our questions about the book and her writing process. Though we tried to keep most of our questions centered around Edenbrooke, since many of us had read Blackmoore too, we often found ourselves discussing both books. 

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review

Since some of the questions and answers were enlightening, I decided to share some of them with you:

1.) Have you thought about Edenbrooke becoming a movie?
The only way I'd want to make a movie is if the BBC did it. Having BBC do an adaption would be an honor.

2.) Now that EdenbookeBlackmoore and Heir to Edenbrooke are out, what's next for you?
I just signed a contract to write the next book I want to write (and my publisher wants me to do it too), a contemporary romance set in Scotland. It's got a mix of romance and Scottish folklore. I'm supposed to be done this June and then it will be out this fall (2016). 

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, Heir to Edenbrooke

3.) I noticed that Shadow Mountain has this line of books called "Proper Romance." Is that just your books?
No. There are several other books, but mine was the first to kind of start the line. Before I was published, I spent about a year getting rejections for Edenbrooke and some of the few responses I got were there there was no sex in it. Every romance book now has like 2-3 bedroom scenes. Publishers and agents just said "sex sells". My only other option was to make it an inspiration piece which wasn't what I wanted to do. After that year, kind of as a last resort, I sent it to Shadow Mountain (they are the National imprint for Deseret Book) and it was my agent's idea to come up with the "Proper Romance" tag where the book would kind of sit on the shelf. My publisher decided to run with it and now has other authors that use the tag.

4.) Is there one thing that you had to take out of your books (because of edits/editors) that you wished you could have kept in? Or was there a plot point that you didn't use that changed the story?
I wish I would have had more details. When I write, I see it like a movie in my head and I wished I could have written it more like that. I feel like I only was able to write the bare bones of what I saw. 

As for things that changed while writing, I spent about five years writing Edenbrooke and there was this year long battle with one scene that I loved. The scene didn't make sense with my characters, but I didn't want to give it up and I was trying to rearrange the whole books to fit this scene. But then I read this advice from Stephen King about "killing your darlings." So I eventually did get rid of it. Now when I go back and read it, I realize it wasn't really that good, but it was the first scene I wrote that I felt attached to.

5.) How did you come to write Edenbrooke?
I was super depressed. My husband was in law school and I was a stay at home mom. I had three little kids and there was little time for romance. I had an ebay business and I was an accompanist for a voice teacher and I was doing all these odd jobs to make ends meet while my husband was just going off to school and coming home late every night . . . I didn't have money to have friends in any classes and I thought that I needed an escape. 

I started carrying around a notebook with me everywhere I went. Before that I had been writing and trying to get little bits published for years like for magazine articles and stuff. I had never thought about writing a novel because I thought I would have to go back to school to learn how to do it. I never took any creative writing classes in college, just literature ones, so I didn't feel qualified to begin. But I read Twilight before it was super popular and made into movies. I stayed up late at night and I got captured by the romance. I became a little obsessed with finding out about this author. She sounded so much like me - she went to BYU, she had three kids, she was a stay-at-home mom. And she just sat down and wrote a story. So I sat down and decided to write a scene of fan faction. In my scene, Edward and Bella weren't the normal Edward and Bella, they were Sir Edward and Miss Bella and they were at a Regency ball in London. It was funny because this was not at all twilight - at all. It made me realize that when I go somewhere romantic that's where I go to - the Regency Era. 

After that, I started making up scenes doing the dishes while the kids were jumping on tables and I thought I've got to do something with my life right now. One night I came up with that milkmaid song during one of those moments and I kept asking myself, why would she sing that song. Why would anyone sing that song? So then I traced it back and tried to figure out what would she be doing to need to sing that song and that is just kind of how I wrote it. I would make up scene and then live those scenes. Then at the end of the day after getting the kids into bed I would run to my computer and type, type, type. I was having a fantastic affair with a make believe man. 

5.) What places do you love?
I used to love England (and still do), but I feel like after visiting Scotland I dumped England for Scotland.

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review

6.) Who was your favorite character to write out of your two books?
I loved writing Mr. Klumpet. He was my favorite mostly because of what he would say about animals.

7.) Do you do research for your books?
I studied British Literature in college. It was kind of my thing. From when was seventeen to twenty-five years old, the Regency era was my passion. That's where I want to go in my imagination. I read a ton of Georgette Heyer (she was the queen of Regency Romance). When I was nine months into writing Edenbrooke, I said to my husband it would be amazing to see all the places that I'm writing about. He was in law school and I thought it was such a far fetched dream, but then he said I should go. So we scraped together the money and I took a week long trip with one of my best friends. I even found this town called Edenbridge, after I'd already named the place in my book. The things I saw inspired so many of the scenes from the book. I had no ideas that everything was so green and so grand. The trip validated my dream. I could say I was a writer and I went on a research trip. After I got home, I did more research. 

8.) Who did you picture when you were writing Philip or who was your muse for Philip? 
I had this picture of a younger Christian Bale with messy, wavy hair and collared white shirt that was parted. It hung on my bulletin board while I wrote. (Someone asked if she still has it and Julianne proceeded to pretend to pull it from her shirt. We love her personality!)

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review
Christian Bale as Philip
(the same one Julianne Donaldson had on her bulletin board)

For Marianne, I didn't have anyone while writing, but when I went looking for English actresses, I imagined Imogen Poots:

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review
Actress Imogen Poots, a possible choice for Marianne from Edenbrooke (source)

9.) Is there anyone who is a fan of your book that you were surprised about (who loved it that you didn't expect)?
It was so cute . . . so I don't let my husband read my books or be involved in my writing at all . . .  I don't let him read anything . . . We went to Yellowstone and he hadn't read any of Blackmoore. The book came out right before our family trip. We were camping and it was dark in the tent and I could hear this kind of whooshing noise and I'm looking around to find the source of the noise. It's pitch black and I call to my husband. He pulls the covers off of him and he's underneath the covers with a flashlight and Blackmoore. It was one in the morning and he said, "It's so good and I can't stop reading it." 

10.) When was the last time you twirled?
Just Dance - this morning. :)

Edenbrooke, Blackmoore, proper romance, Julianne Donaldson, Author interview, Delicious Reads, book review
We are so thankful that Julianne visited our book club. I think meeting her made us love her books even more. Find out more about her and her books on her website. What do you guys think of these books?


Karen said...

What a fun evening you had! I loved the insights From Julianne about writing her book. She has tapped a reservoir of so many Regency era fans with both her books. Who needs all the sex scenes that publishers want when she writes romance so well that your heart swells from just reading a love letter. I Love both her books and look forward to the next romance set in Scotland! Great pictures of all you "Regency" ladies too!

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I believe this novel is awesome for a motion picture it would be breath taking with the right actors and actresses

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