Aria’s life is full of secrets–secrets about her mother’s death, her father’s cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart’s melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.
“Emotionally rich, elegant description, beloved characters–Sarah Beard delivers a fresh, new novel that will go on my list of classics.” –Stephanie Fowers, author of With a Kiss.
“Aria is a heroine worth rooting for, and the plot is an emotional melody that weaves a pell so potent, it can only be broken by reaching the end. And even then, I couldn’t stop thinking about Aria and her story.” –Heather Frost, author of The Seers Trilogy
“Emotionally gripping, this beautifully crafted young adult romance will pull at readers’ heartstrings from tragic beginning to happy ending. A must-read for fans of contemporary romance, both young and seasoned. ” –Julie Ford, author of Replacing Gentry
“Porcelain Keys is a fresh, heart-wrenching take on boy-meets-girl. Using fantastic and musical imagery to tell the poignant love story of Aria and Thomas, the author leads the reader to a swelling crescendo as if we’re part of the song—and what a beautiful song it is.” –Cindy C. Bennett, author or Geek Girl and Rapunzel Untangled
“A lyrical love story that will leave your heart singing. Porcelain Keys is a masterpiece with emotional depth, young love, and family angst. Beard takes us on a journey of self-discovery, second chances, and ultimately, sweet resolution.” –Heather Ostler, author of The Siren’s Secret
Guest Post for Valentine’s Day
Someone recently asked me in an interview who would be a good romantic match for my main character, Aria, if Thomas Ashby wasn’t around. Well, since I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on my favorite fictional heroes, and since it’s Valentine’s day, I thought I’d share some of them with you here. In no particular order, I present to you:
Five Men That Aren’t Real But Should Be:
1) Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The man knows how to handle a horse. But not just any horse. Monstrous, man-eating horses from the sea. He is a man of few words, but his mind is constantly turning. He has incredible work ethic and integrity. And he loves Kate Connolly so much he’s willing to risk the prize he’s wanted his entire life in order to protect her and give her a chance to win it for herself.
2) Edward Cullen from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I’m sorry about this. But really I’m not. Really I’m flabbergasted that so many women’s hearts have turned cold (no pun intended) toward Mr. Perfect-Marbled-Sparkly-Boy. The very same women who pushed their Twilight hardback into their friends’ hands and emphatically cried, “Read it!” are the ones who are now too embarrassed to admit they were once a member of the rabid club called Team Edward. I mean, I get that people are over it. Honestly, I’m finally over my vampire crush too. Really. Maybe. But I have yet to find another male character who has made me swoon as much. He’s dreamy. He’s fast and strong. He can read anyone’s mind, but all he cares about is what’s on Bella’s mind. He respects her virtue, and his self-control is out of this world—a quality that is seriously underrated in today’s world.
3) Mr. Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
He’s cranky. He’s brooding. And realistically, a crank does not make a good companion. But few men have as good a reason to be a grump as Mr. Rochester. I won’t give the reasons here, in case you haven’t read it (seriously though—why haven’t you read it?!). However, underneath all that petulance is a man who yearns for love and redemption. In that broad and tormented chest of his, beats a heart that is capable of kindness, generosity, and selfless, passionate love.
4) Philip Wyndham from Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Smiling eyes + teasing grin + cravat = One fetching regency fellow. Philip’s keen sense of humor perfectly complements his noble character. His charisma and charm know no bounds, and neither does his love for Marianne Daventry. And that letter. Oh, that letter! (Read it and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about).
5) Thomas Ashby from Porcelain Keys
It’s a no-brainer that one of my favorite fictional heroes is one I created. Sometimes people ask me if I base my characters off of real people. The short answer to that question is “no.” There may have been people who sparked an idea for a character, but any writer will tell you that characters have a way of taking on a life of their own. Such was the case with Thomas. He started out as a composite of all the good traits I’ve observed in men—in my life, in literature, or in movies. In other words, he started out as a patchwork character. But as I wrote his and Aria’s story, his true character emerged, and all his seams smoothed out.
So who is Thomas Ashby?
Thomas is both an artist and an intellectual, a modern-day da Vinci, if you will (though on a much smaller scale). He creates beautiful art pieces with melted wax, then turns around and reads The Feynman Lectures on Physics—for fun. He is studious and introspective, and much too hard on himself. He is restless, but good at hiding it.
He’s perceptive, and sees things in Aria that others don’t. He knows she’s hurting and holding things in—things she’s afraid to express—but he’s patient with her. He waits for her to open up instead of demanding answers. And at the same time, he withholds his own secrets for fear that they’ll add to Aria’s hardships. He is carrying great burdens, but he never shows it. And at one point, he can’t carry them anymore, and he buckles.
Thomas adores Aria and wants nothing more than for her to be happy. He goes to great lengths to help her achieve her dreams and opens doors for her, figuratively and literally. He is not perfect, but he is just what Aria needs.
SARAH BEARD is the author of Porcelain Keys, a YA contemporary romance. She has a degree in communications from the University of Utah and splits her time between writing and raising three energetic boys. She is a cancer survivor and a hopeless romantic. She enjoys reading and composing music, and lives with her husband and children in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can follow Sarah on twitter at @authorsarahb, or at facebook.com/authorsarahbeard. Her website is www.sarahbeard.com.