Protecting the Princess

Despite my tomboy tendencies as a child, I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. Always. It’s true!

I loved fairy tale stories with happily ever afters. And like most little girls, I dreamed of being a princess. 

Not much has changed. I still adore fairy tales and happily ever afters. And once in a while, I might even dream about an elaborate ball gown. 

That’s what made it so, so wonderful to write Protecting the Princess, my latest sweet small-town romance that releases next week. 

The story is about an outdoorsy guy who finds an injured woman alone in the mountains. He rescues her, falls in love, then finds out she’s a princess. 

Part of the story takes place at the castle where the princess grew up. I had to create a fake country, then envision what it would look like. What type of industry it might have. Did it have four seasons? What was the population? 

Honestly, I had a blast making up the country of Briden, a tiny European country that exports salt in a variety of forms. The capital city is Zaldovia. The population of the entire country is around 80,000. 

I spent hours drooling over photographs of castles, taking virtual tours and adding several to my bucket list. I narrowed it down to three castles I liked best, all located in France, to use as the inspiration for castle in the story.


The one I ended up choosing was Chateau Chamborigaud.  Located in the south of France, this graceful, fairy tale chateau that would look great in a Disney movie has three gorgeous towers with turrets. Chateau Chamborigaud is in the midst of a five-acre park in the Cevennes mountains and a river flows along its boundaries. Built in 1575, it is now open as a “castle for rent” with ten bedrooms and seven bathrooms. 

As I envisioned the castle where Poppy (the princess) grew up, I drew a lot of inspiration from this outstanding French castle.  In my mind’s eye, it was so easy to picture her there – then to picture her there with Parker (our hero). 

Did I mention there’s a ball in the story? There is! So I got to look at dozens of ball gowns to choose just the one for Poppy. And I may have studied some handsome tuxedo images (or maybe it was the men wearing the tux’s), too. 

At any rate, this book was such a joy to write. I hope it will be pure pleasure for readers to enjoy!

He wants to protect her.

   She needs him to love her . . .

 Parker Princeton is a man’s man. The kind who leads expeditions into the wilderness, can start a campfire with nothing but determination, and has survived on a steady diet of beef jerky and Dr Pepper. When he discovers a female in the woods, alone and injured, his first instinct is to protect her, the second to claim her as his own.  Although she can barely remember her name, he’s falling head over heels in love with the beautiful, mysterious woman.

Growing up as a pampered princess from a small European kingdom, all Poppy Granville wants is to experience a normal life. After finishing a year of studies in New York, Poppy decides to explore America before she returns home to face the responsibilities of her title. She ditches her cell phone, buys an old rust bucket car, and sets out on an adventure. After an injury leaves her stranded in the middle of nowhere, a rugged outdoorsman seems to be her only hope of surviving, even if she has to pretend to have amnesia to keep her identity a secret.

Will telling him the truth set her free, or lose him forever?

Laughter, love, and a fairy tale ending await in this funny, sweet romance packed with small-town charm.

Pre-order now at the special price of $2.99. Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  AppleKobo

You can see more of what inspired me as I wrote the story on my Pinterest board.

If you could be a princess,
where would you live, and what would your castle look like? What would you wear to a ball?
Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Protecting the Princess!

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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

38 thoughts on “Protecting the Princess”

  1. I would love to live in Scotland. My castle would be small yet elegant with a beautiful garden and horses every where. Forest filled with fruit trees, I would wear a modest gown the color of crimson with pearls decorating the bodice. A cameo one the front lapel.

  2. I spent time one summer in Segovia, Spain. The castle there is the one used as inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella. However, I would move it to a remote spot in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. For my gown, I would wear a blue one with long sleeves and a fitted bodice that falls in soft folds to my ankles.

  3. Shanna- I love your vision and of course your wonderful writing. You always transport me to places I can only dream of visiting. I started my arc copy this morning and I’m already loving Poppy and her carefree spirit.
    I’d love to be in a castle somewhere in Scotland. I’ve always been obsessed with the British Family.
    To the ball I’d wear a beautiful Darkish gray ball gown that had a beautiful white sheer on the outside, but with embroidered SILVER flowers and winding vines all around. I’ve always loved dark gray, white and silver together, I think those colors are classy. I can’t wait for everyone to read this book and your other new one, Grass Valley Brides. You truly mush have an imagination which never sleeps. Thanks for sharing your visions with all of us. Love you so dearly.

    • Hi Tonya!
      Oh, thank you! I’m so glad you are already enjoying Poppy! A castle in Scotland would be awesome. And I love your vision for a gown. Sounds so classy! We just need to have a real ball someday!
      Love you dearly, sweet friend! Thank you for your kind words!

  4. I would love to be a princess stranded in the castle built outside of Branson, Missouri in the Ozark’s. It is surrounded by mountains and beautiful trees. Stately, but not too drab, as being so large one would get lost in it. The castle would welcome four seasons in the year. It would most definitely have a nearby horse barn filled with beautiful thoroughbreds and carriages. My gown would be elegant, fitted at my bodice, and flowing from my waist. It would not be too revealing leaving admirers something to dream about. Perhaps red would be my color of choice.

    • Oh, I didn’t know there was one there, Kathy! Branson is on my bucket list! A horse barn and carriages are a must, aren’t they? And every princess needs an elegant gown. Thanks for dropping in today!

  5. I can’t wait to read this book. I just got sidetracked when I googled Chateau Chamborigaud. I could easily see myself living in that castle. Or maybe one in Italy. But the size of Chateau Chamborigaud is perfect. I don’t want to have to use a map to find each room, and 10 bedrooms is more than enough for me. I would definitely wear a fancy ballgown to a ball. It would be more of a modern cut, not poofy. It would have to have crystals on it. A princess has to sparkle. Also, if I were a princess, I wouldn’t forget my tiara.

  6. I ADORE castles, Shanna. And the one you selected is so charming and lovely. Perfect for a fairy tale romance. I’ve told my husband that one of these days he needs to take me on a castle tour in Germany. But your photos from France are tempting me to visit there, too. 🙂

  7. Ohhh but this sounds like a wonderful story. Ohhh how fun to make up your own country and such. This must have been wonderful. Honestly the only way I would be a princess is if no one knew. I love to read about them and on occasion watch a movie about them. And my house would be a large ranch house with a wrap around porch.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  8. I’m not sure where but the castle would have a Victorian feel (with secret doors and tunnels )but with modern conveniences that blend together perfectly. My dress would be an floor length a-line gown with a sweetheart neckline of royal blue to white ombre with a tulle overlay of gold flowers

  9. Your book sounds like such a good read! I love the cover , it is Beautiful! <3 If I were a Princess I would live in Scotland in a Beautiful castle , the drive up to the castle would have beautiful flowering shrubs on each side of the road . When we get to the front of the house there is a circular driveway and there in the middle of the circle there is a big Beautiful birdbath with flowing water. There are steps up to the castle and on each step there are lots and lots of beautiful flowering pots on each side. A lot of beautiful gardens surround the castle. My ball gown would be a beautiful Midnight blue poofy sleeveless strapless bare back sparkly gown.

  10. This sounds like a delightful story. I too was a bit of a tomboy and wanted to be Peter Pan more than a princess. Being able to fly beats wearing ball gowns any day. The castle and ball gown fantasies came along much later. I went to the site where “your” castle was listed and spent way too long, hours, looking for one I would like. Found some very interesting places from rugged Highland tower castles (more for my youth) to some lovely, elegant estates. Since this is a fantasy and I would have the staff to take care of everything, I decided to go with Chateau Crystal, also in France. I found lots of castles in Scotland and Ireland that were on lovely grounds and the buildings were lovely, but they had been modernized and lost much of their character. I started this at 1 and it is now 10:30, so the ball gown will have to wait for another day.
    Hope you are staying safe and healthy. Best wishes for a very successful release of Protecting the Princess.

  11. My first thought was Bavaria, but I think somewhere in the UK instead. My castle would definitely have turrets, partially resembling Alnwick Castle. I’d ask Isaac Mizrahi to design it–I’d be famous, so he’d have to. lol


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