Confession: I love sweet books, I love sweet books that surprise me. Keeping Kinley is the fifth in the Books of Dalthia series written by author Annette K. Larsen. Every book in the series has been well written, with flushed out characters and unique plots. The books are more than just fluff, without being too heavy. I felt like you could possibly read this as a stand alone, but there are certain plot points that make more sense if you’ve read the whole series. Just Ella especially.
“Kinley is content tending her apple orchard, until a chance meeting with a childhood friend changes her priorities. Spending time with nobility is not socially acceptable, but Rylan rejects the norm. When Kinley’s livelihood is threatened, any thoughts of a relationship are set aside as she’s thrust into Rylan’s world, where commoners and nobility don’t mix”
The romance starts as a sweet honest friendship, which was refreshing. With scenes of throwing apples, dancing in an orchard, and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Too often relationships are based on attraction and emotion with no foundation but desire. I loved how Rylan was content to let their friendship develop and be there for her as her friend, regardless of the romance.
Though not based on any fairy tale it has elements of a rags to riches story, and a scene where Jayden, the village bully, grabs Kinley’s book and all you can picture is Gaston’s, “How can you read this? There’s no pictures!” as he tosses the book in the mud. Though the elements are there, I wouldn’t classify this as a rags to riches story. Kinley is comfortable in her own skin, she finds no shame in being a servant, “being a servant in a perfectly respectable occupation”. Kinley finds joy in the lot she’s been given in life, and is willing to work for her dreams making her a strong female character.
A confession for the author: I loved the scenes with Bram and was intrigued at his desire to be believed and possibly redeemed. That would be a good book! –M.V.
*No religious themes