Review and Excerpt: With Love, Ella by Alexa Randolph

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What it’s about:

Ella Chambers is basking in her success as a sought-after New York party planner when she gets her dream job: planning her own wedding to her long-time boyfriend Daniel Collins, a professional football player.

Sadly, amid planning her own nuptials, Ella gets some devastating news that turns her life inside out. Will she and her fiancé finally make it down the aisle, or will tragedy get in the way?

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Excerpt:

Ella looked around at the surprise location.
“The beach? I didn’t bring a swimsuit.”
Daniel laughed. “Don’t worry babe, you won’t need one. We aren’t goingswimming.”
They walked from the car to beach laughing and stealing kisses the wholetime. Ella had stopped in her tracks suddenly with Daniel right behind her.
“Oh Daniel, this is beautiful. I can’t believe you did this for me.”
Ella look around to see a beautifully set table with a light pink tablecloth, and

pink and white rose petals scattered on the table and on the sand by their table. There were little floating candles on the table. It looked magical. Ella had

tears in her eyes. Daniel was always thinking about her and going out of his way for her. She couldn’t believe how lucky she was. She was blown away, but still, In the back of her mind, she was nervous about his reaction to her news.

“You are truly one of a kind, Daniel Collins. This means so much to me,” Ella said through the tears.

Daniel pulled her to him and kissed her before pulling out her seat and pushing her in. He took off the tops of the food containers at their seat and poured the wine.

“This food smells and looks amazing,” Ella said. “Well, it’s your favorite meal from the club.” “Who can resist Scott’s spaghetti and meatballs?” “No one with taste.”

They spent the rest of dinner catching up and enjoying each other’s company. Ella noticed that Daniel was starting to get fidgety and had a nervous energy. She held his hand and smiled at him. He kissed her hand and held them tight.

“Ella, you have always been my best friend and for the past six years, I have been lucky enough to call you the love of my life. We may fight at times, but I know that I could never be without you by my side. Words could never describe how much you mean to me. You are the reason I wake up in the morning and the reason I never want to go to sleep at night. When I think about my future the only thing that I know for sure is how much I need you in it. You are my everything.” He grabbed a box out

of his pocket and got down on one knee. He looked her right in the eyes and said, “Will you do the honor of making me the happiest guy in the world and be my wife?” Ella was shocked. She shouldn’t have been surprised, as this had been a long time coming. But still, she didn’t think it would happen now when her life had just fallen apart. Tears formed in Ella’s eyes.

“I…uh…I need a minute.” Ella said before slipping her heels off and taking off down the beach.

Daniel couldn’t even think straight. He had no idea what had happened. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. They were supposed to be on their way back to their house to make passionate “we are engaged” sex, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen.

Ella kept running down the beach until she couldn’t anymore. She knew she had to tell him what was wrong, but she hadn’t wanted to ruin the night, but it looked like either way it was ruined. She wanted to say yes, but she still had to come out with her news first. She decided to go back and hope he wouldn’t hate her. She walked back toward the table as slow as possible, trying to think of how to say it. She got back to the table and saw Daniel with his head in his hands.

“Um, Daniel? Can I talk to you for a minute?” Ella asked. Daniel looked up with tears in his eyes.

“Are we breaking up?”
“I hope not, but it depends on if you can handle what I have to say.”

 

My Thoughts:

Alexa Randolph’s debut novel , With Love, Ella, is both a romance and a tear-jerker. It is about the struggle of young love between two people who are stretched thin by their very busy lives.  It is about tragedy.  It is about jealous and malice.

The premise of the story is catchy and touching. I was very surprised by the trajectory of the storyline. It is clear that Ms. Randolph did her research for her book. Even though close to half the book was devoted to establishing relationships and roles, the characters remained one-dimensional.  The antagonist is a quintessential mean girl who has a flimsy reason for causing trouble, and the trouble she causes is childish and inconsequential.  The author included realistic daily interactions and conversations, and this occasionally impacted the pace.  However, the story line is potent enough to make readers care about the outcome.

With Love, Ella is a quick read that did result in misty eyes for me.  With further development of the characters and the setting, this book could easily be a chart-topper.

I look forward to following this author’s further endeavors.

© Copyright 2018 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

About the author: Alexa Randolph is a graduate of Michigan State University with a BA in Communications. She loves to read, write, travel, binge watch Netflix for days, make up stories about random people she see for days and drink lots of coffee.

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Giveaway for a signed copy of With Love, Ella (US/CAN):
Promotional materials courtesy of the author and Xpresso Book Tours

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