LarkspurIn Larkspur, two teenage dancers—Taylor and Leslie—learn that their elderly teacher is actually a princess from another world when their dance transports them to that world. It turns out that their teacher, Luminara, was banished from her home by the evil Puranna and Derrick of Dungeoness. The dresses she made for them are magical and, although Taylor and Leslie know nothing about what they’re supposed to do, Luminara has given them the tools they’ll need as they figure things out.

The girls run into Redmond, the true love of Luminara, and her little sister Claire. They meet Aidan who values history as a way of learning about the future. They also find Mason, who is a dancer they know from their own world, and he helps them with the dance that will put everything back the way it should be.

The story is short—more novella than novel—with a straightforward plot bringing all these characters together and establishing the world. The adventure continues in the slightly longer Return to Larkspur.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid

Spiritual Overtones

While there’s no explicit talk of god or religion, there’s a lot about the Light pushing back the Dark and about how love and faith help you in doing that. The Areli—the People of Light—are the force for good and the rightful rulers of the realm. Familiar spiritual themes are clearly present.

Mind Control

Derrick of Dungeoness is snake-like, including the ability to hypnotize people into following him. This is how he and Puranna were able to take over and banish the king, queen, and Luminara. Only one character we know falls under Derrick’s spell, and the love of his friends saves him.


It’s clear that Luminara and Redmond are in love. Aidan also thinks he loves Luminara, then he thinks he loves Taylor, and finally he’s ok on his own. Taylor and Mason have crushes on each other and end up holding hands, but that’s the extent of the PDA.


Taylor, Leslie, and Mason are transported to Larkspur without being asked if they want to take on this quest. They are occasionally annoyed by this, especially since they’re sent with no knowledge or understanding of what they’re supposed to do. This is necessary for the plot and it’s explained to some extent, but Luminara is certainly using them for her own purposes without asking. Everyone gets over this pretty quickly.

The Arts

Luminara is a wonderful dancer, and Redmond was always her partner. Taylor, Leslie, and Mason need to perform a specific ballet to open up the portal that will allow the king and queen and Luminara to return from the places they were banished to. Yes, there’s a focus on ballerinas, but also on boys who dance wonderfully.


Despite the ages of the characters (early teens), this feels like it’s squarely aimed at younger and newly independent readers, probably 8 and up. If your child is tearing through other 100 page novels faster than you can keep up, this is a good book to add to the list. There’s some “save the world” drama, but it’s never scary and the morality is always clear cut. It feels like an introduction to the world and our cast of characters, so there’s not a lot of character development at this point, but the cute creatures and the emphasis on ballerinas and princesses will capture the imaginations of many young readers.

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Larkspur by Anastacia Hawkins
Published in 2012 by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC
Followed by Return to Larkspur and some short stories about Princess Claire
Read a paperback copy provided by the author



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