Annette K. Larsen
A Proper Romance Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined. I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me. I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.
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I was just talking with a friend the other day about how I will give pretty much any fairytale retelling a try. There is just something about starting a new story that has been created from something you have loved since you were a child. It’s like having hot chocolate and wrapping up in a soft blanket on a cold night when the story is told right at the end you feel warm and comforted. That is the way I felt when turning the last page on Just Ella.
I’m not going to go into great detail in this review as you are all familiar with this story so I don’t want to spoil the surprises that Larsen has created. As with most retellings when I started this I was pretty sure I knew what I was going to be getting, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I can be re-enchanted with a tale because it has been made new. I was happy with the new twist on the Cinderella story that Larsen created when telling her version. In Just Ella it is the princess not the prince that is the hero. I also like that in this YA the parents are actually visible, even if I don’t think that Ella communicated well with her parents I liked that they where actually there, when in so many YA books parents are just mentioned.
I enjoyed Just Ella so much! Other than a few places where I felt the pacing became a bit off I thought Just Ella was beautifully told and kept me entertained from beginning to end. If you are looking for a heartfelt romance that with strong characters that any age could enjoy you should give Just Ella a try. This is one I will be sharing with my girls very soon.
4 Moons: I think young and old could enjoy this enchanted tale.
About the Author
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
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