Welcome to the blog tour for Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen!
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 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.
Princess Ariella is tired of palace life. She doesn't feel she gets to do what she desires, only what others expect of her. Her only refuge is the maze on the palace grounds, a wonderful place where she can escape from it all. One day while in the maze, she meets the young gardener Gavin. Gavin and Ella form a strong bond as they teach each other about their very different worlds. Ella soon finds herself drawn to Gavin, but this is strongly frowned upon as Ella is expected to marry another noble. Ella is about to find out that the path to true love is much more twisted that she could have ever imagined.
I really enjoyed this book. Ella was able to walk the fine line between being sympathetic and being too much of a whiner very well. I thought the author did a great job of helping you see that being noble or common both had their ups and downs. Ella's friendship with Gavin felt very natural and never forced. This is really important for me when reading a book like that, because I find it much more believable. Of course, every good romance needs a villain, and this book delivered a great bad one. He was easy to dislike, and he managed to provide a path to happiness for more than one person.
This book is a quick, fun read. I found it to be a good balance of good story and general romance fluffiness. You need both of those in a romance novel to keep it interesting I think. The book also has a bit of a fairytale feel to it which I really like as well. The awesome thing about this book is that while it is romantic, it's super clean and anyone from 12-90 would probably enjoy it. If you like fun, romance, and the feel of a fairytale, this is a great book to check out!
Book provided for review.
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