How do you heal your heart after tragedy leaves you broken? When the person you loved didn’t deserve it and they can’t earn your forgiveness because they’re already dead? How do you move on, and heal, and love?
If you’re Princess Lorraina, you paint.
A year ago Lorraina watched Tobias die, and she still doesn’t know how she’s supposed to heal—or forgive. How can she when she’s still running away? In an attempt to reinvent herself, she steps outside her comfortable life as princess and seeks the tutelage of a master painter—a man who is not at all impressed by her pedigree, and demands not just talent, but emotional honesty.
Struggling to learn what’s being taught, she finds herself drawn to someone who not only knows her secrets, but who she once considered far below her notice. Now she is compelled to seek him out despite knowing their relationship would be forbidden if discovered. Staying away from him doesn’t seem possible when discovering him may be the key to healing her heart and rediscovering herself.
This is a stand-alone book, but goes along with Lorraina’s sister’s books—Just Ella and Missing Lily. Lorraina was kind of the jerk sister in Just Ella, but a year has passed and she is trying to become a better person. The truths revealed about herself in the tragedy that happened in the last book haunt her, and she wants nothing more than to put the past behind her. The tone of this story was subdued. She goes off to study under a master artist for six months and falls in love with a man who once was beneath her notice. The romance was sweet, the character growth is beautiful to watch unfold, and I really loved the painting theme. Larsen did an amazing job of helping me see the beauty in Raina’s paintings through mere words, to feel her angst when she couldn’t connect with her emotions, and to open my heart to the depth of the human soul. Bravo! A solid 4 on my Sweet Scale:
For years, I had believed that being close to people would make me weak, yet being alone had never made me strong. I had never recovered from the fragility born of pushing everyone away. So when [he] offered his caring, I had latched onto it, depended on it, allowed it to make me strong without realizing that I needed to be strong on my own as well. Not because he made me weak, but because I couldn’t be strong for him if I lacked strength of my own. A person can only rely on the strength of others for so long before beginning to drag those other people down.
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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 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 Brontë 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 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. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
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