Updated: Oct 16, 2021
Title: The Lady Of Lanaria
Author: Michaela Bush Genre: Christian Fantasy
Age Category: Young Adult
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.
The short version to this is that I really enjoyed this story. Now I don't usually read fantasy but realising that this is Christian fantasy and a fairy tale retelling really drew me in. I saw the original Rapunzel movie a long time ago, but I'm going to be honest and say I don't remember what exactly happened. This means that I went into this story with an open mind.
Evangeline is a very naive girl who has spent almost 18 years of her life living in a tower in the woods because her "mother"--Amaranth, has convinced her to believe that the world outside the tower is not safe for her and if she steps out of the tower she'll die. Evangeline has spent her whole life trying to please Amaranth and she has even endured physical and verbal abuse from her without fighting back. It was so heartbreaking to read about Evangeline's soft heart, and how she constantly put herself out there, even telling Amaranth she loves her, but each time this love was never reciprocated and she got shut down. I loved that Evangeline's hobbies like playing the violin, reading books and also botany was portrayed in the book because trust me, it must have been so boring for her living in that tower by herself most of the time.
Not long into the story, we meet Gabe, who is one of the king's guards. Gabe hears Evangeline laughing one time and then he returns back to the woods to find the source of the laughter. That's how he discovers the tower and finds Evangeline. I'm not going to lie I was very scared about anyone finding out about Evangeline especially with how vulnerable and naive she was. But I had no reason to worry because Gabe was just the kindest and sweetest person ever. He told Evangeline stories about the outside world, taught her tactics on how to defend herself and even helped her hone in her skills of playing the violin and encouraged her to use her botany skills for good.
My favourite thing about this book was the romance. Oh Gabe and Evangeline were such a perfect fit for each other. They looked out for each other and had each other's best interests at heart. It was just so cute and I found myself smiling during many scenes because I just couldn't help myself. I also loved the fact that even though there is "magic" mentioned through the story, it is seen as dark. There is also the mention of God and the Bible which made it clear it was a Christian fantasy and I loved that. I also loved the portrayal of good friendships like that between Gabe and Horace. I just love reading books where friends look out for each other and help each other. I also loved the twists and turns throughout the story as the truth about Amaranth was revealed. It made me not want to put the book down.
I didn't like Amaranth at all and I'm sure everyone who reads this book wouldn't. She was just a horrible horrible person and it was hard reading some scenes and what she did. I loved that through it all, Evangeline stood her ground, she didn't cave in and she stuck to what she knew was true. Even in her innocence, she wasn't deceived or manipulated into doing something she knew was wrong. I just loved that about this book.
If you love Christian fantasy, fairy-tale retellings or books with cute romance, I'd recommend this book. It's available to purchase on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Lanaria-Michaela-Bush/dp/B096HTQ4CS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+lady+of+lanaria&qid=1633685012&sr=8-1
Thank you so much for reading
Lots of love