Just Ella by 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.
REVIEW: FIVE STARS
I seldom review a book I so thoroughly enjoy! In an age of open sexuality, paranormalism and dystopia, Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
Just Ella, a historical romance, still addresses the challenges of all ages: who am I and how do I fit into this world; and how do I live with myself if I don’t do the right thing?
Just Ella tells the tale of a young royal learning her place in society but yearning for a life with more meaning. Ella finds herself stifled by being a princess and searches for a way to alleviate the monotony her station brings with it. She has always loved the gardens and begins to explore, finding more than she bargained for in Gavin, a young gardener. Their love evolves and brings many troubles from the moment their time shared together is discovered.
The love of Ella and Gavin is obvious to the outsider from the onset. But watching them traverse the expectations of Ella’s family and of their era is, to me, like watching the young love of Romeo and Juliet develop over the life of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name. It is pure and full of innocence, yet filled with despair, and even treachery, at every turn.
The beauty of watching Ella from her first moments of true love, through the battles of growing up, meeting the expectations of family and her place in society, and becoming the confident woman she is meant to be is a thing of profound beauty.
Annette K. Larsen has taken what is, to me, the hardest part of a young life and transported me back in time to the age of kings and queens, princes and princesses, and my dream as a young girl, of finding prince charming and living happily ever after. I sincerely hope there will be many more novels in the future from Annette K. Larsen.
“My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.” The book Just Ella takes that lesson to its very heart and teaches all of us that doing the right thing will always bring about the best ending. I hope more people, both young and older, will read this novel and learn this lesson.
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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Praise for Just Ella
“I fell in love with this book. Treat yourself to something wonderful. You can’t go wrong with Just Ella!” ~Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
“By far one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story–plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” ~Jana Miller
“Annette Larsen writes a love story that takes time, is complicated, and yet still sweeps you up in the romance (without the cheese, thank you). It’s compelling and emotional and sweet and you will love every page.” ~Kimi
Book Blast/Blog Tour Special
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Author Annette K. Larsen
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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“When have we ever seen anyone else out here?”
“Just because we haven’t doesn’t mean we couldn’t.”
“Well, I’m sorry you regret confiding in me, but I’m not going to stop coming here.”
“I don’t want you to stop coming here. I love that you come here. But you have to let me come with you.”
“Because you can protect me from the wicked world?” My voice was mocking, mean.
His eyes narrowed. “I can hold my own,” he said in absolute seriousness. For the first time I considered his build in relation to something other than his striking looks. The years of hard physical work had resulted in toned muscle and rough, strong hands. He would be good in a fight. The thought made me swallow. “Can you say the same for yourself?”
I looked down at the book I’d been reading, rubbing one hand over the cover in agitation while my face burned. The guilt I felt at his reprimand surprised me. “All right,” I conceded. “You can come from now on.”
He moved close to me, then brush a curl behind my ear. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.
I had to keep myself from closing my eyes as the warmth of his touch rippled down my spine. “I’m fine.”
“I’m still sorry.”
I rested my chin on my knees, staring at the water for a minute. “How old are you?” My quiet question broke the silence.
“Eighteen,” he answered, close to my ear. “How old are you?”
I turned to glare at him but was momentarily distracted to find him leaning toward me, smiling. I had the oddest urge to kiss the smirk off his face.
Forcing myself to look at his eyes, I resumed my glaring. He knew my age. Everyone knew, because everyone prepared for it. “I’ll be sixteen in five days,” I said caustically.
He just kept smiling. “Happy Birthday.”
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