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Book review: 'Blackmoore' is a historic 'proper romance' with twists, secrets

Published: Sunday, Sept. 8 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

BLACKMOORE,” by Julianne Donaldson, Shadow Mountain, $15.99, 320 pages (f)

Utah author Julianne Donaldson has created a historical love story in her latest novel, "Blackmoore," that is taut with romantic tension as her characters try to protect their secrets and hearts while making decisions they hope won’t leave friends with regrets.

Each summer, 18-year-old Kate Worthington has watched her friends and neighbors Henry and Sylvia Delafield travel to their ancestral home of Blackmoore, which Henry is to inherit when his grandfather passes away.

To Kate, Blackmoore is an almost mythical place with endless possible adventures thanks to the stories she hears from her friends.

The proper Mrs. Delafield doesn’t like the flirtatious and scandalous Mrs. Worthington and has never allowed Kate to visit, but Henry extends an invitation anyway to keep a promise he made to her.

Kate, who declared that she will never marry, hopes to travel with her single Aunt Charlotte to India and hopefully on to other adventures, too. But before she can go to India, her mother requires her to secure and reject three marriage proposals while at Blackmoore.

At Blackmoore, which sits high on a cliff on the coast in northern England, Mrs. Delafield and Sylvia are less than welcoming, and things aren’t quite what Kate had imagined or expected.

Miss Juliet St. Claire, who has been picked as Henry’s intended, is also there, and getting just one proposal is proving to be more difficult than Kate had anticipated. She enlists her friend Henry’s help and that unravels hidden emotions and secrets — both their own and others’.

When Kate’s meddling mother and sister show up at Blackmoore and maneuverings by Mrs. Delafield are discovered, Kate has to decide how to follow her heart without hurting her friends and their dreams.

It’s a haunting romance that has unexpected and bittersweet turns as it seems everyone has a secret they are protecting — at times underhanded dealings. It’s difficult to put down as Kate struggles to protect her heart and be true to her friends, too. It also shows that there are some things that are worth the price of love.

Due to be released Sept. 10, “Blackmoore” is Donaldson’s second novel and is more serious than the light and flirty “Edenbrooke,” which was released last year, but is no less engaging or heartfelt.

It’s the third novel in Shadow Mountain’s “A Proper Romance” series. They are romantic stories where the language is clean and the physical relationship doesn’t go beyond kissing.

And this one lives up to that billing. The language is clean and while there are marriage proposals and whispers of a scandal, the described romances don’t go beyond kissing.

If you go ...

What: "Blackmoore" book launch party

When: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, www.juliannedonaldson.blogspot.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase "Blackmoore" from The King's English.

Also ...

What: Julianne Donaldson book signing

When: Thursday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Where: University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Also ...

What: Deseret Book Ladies Night

When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Deseret Book Salt Lake Downtown, 45 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

Web: deseretbook.com

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye

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