I love fairytales.
Whether they’re classic or retellings, Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Anderson, cliche or not, I’ll read them. Fairytales are one of my greatest weaknesses. 😉 The others being anything chocolate and, you guessed it, Hamilton.
So, I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to review a fairytale retelling. Not only that, but I was also able to do an interview with the author! I can’t wait to get into this post and share with you all the amazingness of Happily.
Before I start, just a note that I was given a free electronic ARC of Happily in exchange for a honest review, and that’s what I’m going to give you all! The fact that I received this for free doesn’t influence my opinions or my review in any way. 🙂
Author: Chauncey Rogers (visit the author’s website!)
Date of Publication: April 3, 2018
Genre: YA (MG-friendly) Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, make it.Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.
I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed it, because as I reiterated multiple times already
and will probably continue to say, I love fairytale retellings.
But while I knew I would like it, the thing that I ended up loving most was how unexpected it was. I went into the book thinking I knew what was going to happen, and I was wrong! It’s a refreshing feeling to be wrong when it comes to knowing what a book is about. I didn’t see anything coming, and I’m glad I didn’t.
Since, in my reading experience, I didn’t see anything coming and loved it that way, I’m mostly going to avoid talking about what actually happens. That way if you read it, you can also be surprised like me.
A Few Things That Made Me Love It Even More:
- THE CHARACTERS. I want to be best friends with the characters.
- The main character, Laure, is a…character. She’s spunky, sassy, and definitely self-centered. The first impression you get of her is her blatantly telling the reader she doesn’t like you. Since she’s basically homeless and without a family, she’s tough. I loved seeing her character develop!
- The other main-ish character, Luc, is SUCH A SWEET SMOL CINNAMON ROLL. I just wanted to hug him. He’s so kind! and caring! and he helps old women carry sticks! and how is he so sweet??
- Then there’s the infamous prince, who I surprisingly was a fan of. I can’t exactly digress more information about him, for fear of spoiling the plot…
- The action-packed plot. I read Happily in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down, because things kept happening. It was the epitome of adventurous.
- Anyone could read it and love it. This book is technically YA, but it is definitely MG friendly. I could see parents reading it out loud to their elementary schoolers, too. (And I could also see parents enjoying it themselves.) It’s like Harry Potter in that it is a universally heartwarming and funny book.
- The way everything ties up at the end. Loose ends that you didn’t even know needed to get tied- get tied. I wasn’t left with any questions, and I felt fully satisfied. I love it when that happens. 😉
There really isn’t enough “bad” things about it for me to dedicate a whole section to it. XD The only thing that left me slightly confused was that by the descriptions of everything, I expected this story to take place a really long time ago. However, it was written in modern-day English. I actually preferred that, since it was easier and more relatable to read, but I did want to point that out. 🙂
If you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh, take you on a thrilling ride, and satisfy your fairytale cravings, then Happily is the book for you! If you couldn’t already tell, I award this book a 5 stars,
An Interview with Chauncey Rogers!
On top of letting me read an ARC of his book, the author also kindly agreed to do an interview with me. This is my first ever author interview, so I was quite excited. Let’s get into it! 🙂
What inspired you to write Happily? Do you have a love for fairytales (like me)?
While I definitely do love fairytales, my chief inspiration was my daughter. She was three when I wrote my last novel, Cleaving Souls. She wanted me to read it to her, but it isn’t exactly a kid’s story. I told her I’d write something for her, and asked her what she wanted it to be about. She said Cinderella. I’d already had some ideas about a potential Cinderella story, so I decided to make it my next novel.
I’m sure your daughter loves Happily. 😉 What was your favorite part about writing it?
Ah, I feel like my answer for this question always changes! But today, I’d say it was writing from Laure’s perspective. That was a lot of fun. This is my first work to be told in the first-person, and having a narrator with so much attitude made it a real pleasure.
I love first-person, and I think Laure’s perspective was something that made the book even better! I’m glad you decided to write it that way. How long did it take you to write Happily, and how does that compare to your other books?
I started drafting a plot in June of 2017, I think. I wrote just over 100 pages of a first draft, realized it wasn’t working, scrapped it, went back to the drawing board, changed the plot and narrative style, and began again. I finished in January…so roughly six or seven months from start to finish. It was a bit faster than my other books, though it seems that I currently have about a six-month gestation for my books. I’m definitely hoping to speed that up, though.
Speaking of your other books, what’s your favorite of all the books you’ve written?
That is a great question. They’re all quite different from each other. But if I had to pick one, I’d pick my first novel, Home To Roost. It proved to me that I could write a book. When reviews came back, and people said that they’d been moved to tears, I realized that I could write a good book. It’s also based on a true story, so it has that extra pull, I suppose. Plus, it’s about a chicken, which is always fun–who doesn’t love chickens, right?
That is very true…so, have you always known you wanted to be an author? What was your journey to becoming an author like?
I’ve always known I would, but I didn’t know when. I always thought it was something I’d do later. My summer job during 2013 was very relaxed, which gave me a lot of time to write. I started a novel, wrote 70k words for it, then dropped it when summer ended. It made me realize I could do it, and with a bit of study in storytelling, could maybe even do it well. In 2016 my wife and I decided to pursue it more seriously, and I started work on Home To Roost, which came out in March of 2017. It was the first of what we both hope will be many, many more books.
I hope you write many more books, too! Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If you’re serious about it, then be serious about it. Take some time to study storytelling techniques and writing. There’s a lot that you can learn quickly, if you’ll just pick up a book or two on writing and storytelling. Otherwise, it takes a loooong time to just figure it out on your own.
Ahh, I love that advice! I know I’ll be using it. Thank you so much for answering my questions!
And that concludes today’s post! It was pretty long, but I hope you enjoyed this review and author interview. 🙂
Oh my, it rhymes. Thank again to Chauncey Rogers for the opportunity to read and review his book!
If this sounds like something you’d want to read, I encourage you to head on over to Goodreads and add it to your TBR! You won’t regret it, that’s for sure.
Do you love fairytale retellings as much as I do? Have I convinced you to read Happily? Let’s chat in the comments!
P.S. Since this post and my last post, Purely Olivia hit 200 followers! *cue screeching and jumping around crazily* Thank you so, so much everyone!❤️ I’ll be thinking of a special post to do to commemorate this…