Dear Clara by Shelly E. Powell – Book Review

Posted February 25, 2021 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews, Debut Author /

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Dear Clara by Shelly E. Powell – Book Review

Dear Clara

by Shelly E. Powell

Published by Sweetwater Books
Publication Date February 9, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England Regency Era – UK – 1795 – 1837
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Pages: 284


He thinks she is a rare beauty. She knows he is charming on paper. Both hope for romance, but when letters are no longer enough, Clara must face the truth and decide whether to let go of pride or protect her heart.

For the first time in her life, Clara Everton has done something truly improper. She has written to a gentleman she hardly knows, simply to avoid an unwanted marriage proposal and perhaps to prove to herself that her first London season was not such a disappointment after all. As one letter grows into many and her feelings for James Thayne deepen, Clara begins to wonder whether a letter is as innocent a thing as she once thought. Meeting Mr. Thayne in person shakes her hopes, and she must reconcile herself to the unexpected truth. Yet, as circumstances continue to bring them together, Clara can't help but question whether opening her heart to Mr. Thayne is riskier than protecting it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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It is hard to know what to expect from debut authors. And while I love to support their works, I am often a little nervous picking up their books. I don’t like the thought of offending one by my review if I didn’t care for it. After all, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to put yourself out there, sharing your heart in a book. Not to mention the effort involved!

I hesitated when Shelly E. Powell asked if I would read and review her debut novel, especially seeing it was a Regency romance. Not that I have anything against them – I just prefer stories that are romances with something more. Mystery, intrigue, humor. And with so many of them out there, they can sometimes feel a little trite or unoriginal.

I was pleasantly surprised upon reading Dear Clara. While there were definitely “standard” elements from this genre – the balls, the house parties, the rakes – the approach was well done. I enjoyed the innocence of the correspondence. It was fun to think of a time when receiving a letter from a gentleman was the same as being an engagement – or a scandal!

Clara was sweet and very innocent. Naive, even. She had been fairly protected throughout her life, though she did know grief at the death of her mother. She was unsure of herself and afraid of being hurt, yet she showed surprising courage at times.

I enjoyed the aspect of her receiving letters from not just one potential suitor. While enough hints were dropped along the way it was not a surprise how the various subplots would turn out, though one such result was unexpected.

The writing was good with some lovely descriptions and pleasant turns of phrases. The characters were also well developed. The house party was fun to read about with the ice-skating perhaps being my favorite part.

If you enjoy Regency romance with a gentle heroine and some surprises along the way, introduce yourself to Shelly E. Powell and read Dear Clara.

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About Shelly E. Powell

As soon as Shelly Powell was old enough to write, she was crafting stories to share with family and friends. Her earliest works featured princesses and mermaids, which she willingly portrayed on the makeshift stages of home and school. Although her interests have expanded since then, she still finds writing to be a thrilling process and a unique way to connect with others. Shelly loves a happy ending but also believes in happy beginnings. She hopes to write many stories in the years to come. Shelly enjoys running, yoga, drawing, and spending time with her sweet husband and amazing kids.

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