The Lady of Lanaria by Michaela Bush: A Review

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Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback

Age Appropriate For: 12 and up for violence, some mildly disturbing thematic elements, and romantic themes
Best for Ages: 13-25

Description:  A kidnapped princess, a promise, and a kingdom cursed with mysterious plagues.

"Mark my words, Evangeline; if you set foot outside this tower, you will surely die."

Evangeline has spent her entire life hidden in an ancient watchtower, gazing through a window as the world passes her by. She heeds her mother's warning closely, the truth hidden from her always. When a young guard stumbles upon the tower, Evangeline's life is changed forever. As she strikes up a secret friendship with the guard, she learns about the Kingdom of Lanaria and the mysterious plagues that haunt all who live there. But as she delves into the world she barely knows, not everything her mother says adds up. Will they find the truth before it's too late?

A Rapunzel retelling

I was invited to the Facebook launch party for this book and it sounded interesting. At only $0.99, I knew I could indulge my curiosity. I snapped up a copy and downloaded it to my Kindle. A few days later, I was feeling bad so I listened to the book while I worked on a project and sat in bed (I love the Kindle Fires text to speech feature).

A couple of people mentioned magic in their reviews. As well as a few elements felt a little like Tangled at first. However, can I just put to rest both of these possible issues right off the bat? There is talk about a family of witches that used to live and the king had them killed. And there is never any magic actually used in this book. All the major characters will have nothing to do with even the hint of witchcraft as it’s offensive to God. As for the Tangled-like elements, they were superficial. The story is radically different and, in my humble opinion, far superior.

As a fairy-tale retelling, this book was really, really well done. It had classic elements but also twists on the original. It had a life of its own, yet tied to the original enough to satisfying. Bush has a talent for this, and I would love to read more like this from her.

The characters in the were well rounded. They are not the cardboard cut-outs of many fairytales. Even the villains were given motivations that made sense. They were not so complex that it ceased to be a light read, but enough depth to make me love each of them. I loved how both sweet and strong Evangeline was. She was so, so sweet, yet stood up to others for what she believed, even when it cost her. And her skills? Just endearing.

The plot was fantastic. I found myself flipping pages, ready to find out what was going on. I really feel that Bush did a masterful job with coming up with such an interesting and believable plot. I loved every minute of it. The romance was very sweet.

The only negative thing? I would say there were a couple of references that made me pause because they didn’t seem to fit with the time period in which the story was written. To be fair, this wasn’t set in any real time or place.

With all that said, I highly recommend this book for those who like fairy-tale retellings, sweet romances, and fantastic plots.

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