Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: Missing Lily by Annette K. Larsen

Missing Lily by Annette K. Larsen takes place in the same realm as Larsen's first, and might I add delectable novel, Just Ella. In fact, Lylin/Lily--the main character--is Ella's little sister.  But Missing Lily is not Just Ella.  They are quite different stories.                            Here is the premise:

“You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house.

He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night.

Lylin is not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family."

One thing I really love about Annette K. Larsen is the fact that she doesn't let her characters take the easy road.  She tells "fairytale-ish" stories, but the conflicts in them are real life, with real life emotions and consequences.  That is an admirable and difficult thing to do as a writer.  Because of this, I think Larsen's stories resonate much deeper emotionally. 

That being said, this book is hard for me to review fairly, because I loved Annette K. Larsen's first book Just Ella so SO much, and while I really liked Missing Lily, it wasn't quite the same experience for me. 

However, I don't think it's fair to compare the two.  Like I said at the beginning of this review, they are just two decidedly different books.  Missing Lily was much more tragic, and I think I liked it little less than Just Ella, because I'm a "happily ever after" kind of girl.  But the story couldn't have ended any differently and still rang true.

What I did love, is that Larsen was true to her unique, lovely tone.  The writing was good and clean. Her story grabbed hold of me from the very beginning, and I finished it quickly.  There is a sweet and triumphant love story with all kinds of angst.

Another thing I really appreciated about Lylin and Rhys' story is how Larsen did a great job portraying the very real anger and turmoil that comes from tragedy and betrayal.  It was hard to read about the characters going through some of the things they went through, but like I said above, Larsen doesn't shy away from writing about realistic consequences, and my hat goes off to her.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book. 4 out of 5 stars. Larsen is one of my absolute favorite authors in this genre. 

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