Fairytales enchant the mind as they are read or told. They promise a sense of magic, of adventure, and of satisfaction when the hero wins the day. In the romance genre, the fairytale structure is especially coveted, for when it comes to romance, who doesn’t want to read of a happily ever after?
What is Natalia to do? Fortunately, she has the help of her fairy godmother and the assurance that she alone can arrest the prince’s attentions.
Here’s the blurb to the book:
When Natalia’s horrid stepsister locks in her a closet, steals her identity, and sets out to marry Prince Bennett in her place, Natalia nearly gives up hope. Luckily, she has a fairy godmother willing to guide her steps. Dressed in nothing but a mouse-skin pelt and assured that Bennett will recognize her even though they’ve never met; she sets out for his palace.
Prince Bennett knows that he must marry his princess, but when he meets her, something seems amiss. He cannot reconcile the lively, veiled beauty he consorts with at night with the waspish princess he meets during the day. And to make matters worse, he can barely fight off his attraction to a fur-clad scullery maid. Whatever will he do?
Excerpt from Unveiling His Princess:
“Antonia is gone.”
Natalia’s gaze flittered over his tall, red-garbed form and then retreated to her sturdy shoes. “I know, Father,” she whispered.
“She left a note, stating her intentions. And--Natalia, she took with her your lady’s maids, your jewelry, your clothes, even every last one of your handkerchiefs.”
Natalia let out her breath slowly. She had expected as much. It would not do for Natalia to turn up with some form of proof that she was the rightful princess. She stifled a smile. At least she had one form of revenge; Antonia was much too stork-like in structure to be able to comfortably wear her garments. Although Claudette, her (former) lady’s maid, would be able to make the alterations, it would take at least a day for her to cut Natalia’s dresses down to size.
Lifting her head, she asked, “What would you have me do, Father?”
He stroked his goatee as he studied her, finally nodding to himself as he made a decision. “You must follow her.”
“But, Father, I will have no proof of my identity--”
“You will not need proof.” As Natalia stared, her breath seemed to freeze in her chest. Whatever could he mean? “You will not be going as yourself, Natalia.”
Her mouth dropped open in affront. “Surely you do not expect me to attend as Antonia?”
“Indeed not. You will attend as a common peasant.”
The moments lengthened. Natalia’s ears rung. She could not possibly have heard right. “I beg your pardon?”
“You will attend as a peasant,” he announced. “You will present yourself to Prince Bennett barefoot, in nothing more than a mouse-skin pelt. You will wear no adornments in your hair, on your fingers, or around your neck. You will wear your hair loose, and you will not powder or perfume your skin. You will, by all means, make yourself as ordinary as possible.”
Shaking her head, Natalia protested, “Father, I cannot! It is not befitting of a princess--”
Besides, she would be competing with Antonia’s beauty. If she could not hope to compare while dressed in her finery, how could she aspire to gain Prince Bennett’s interest while dressed in rags?
Again, her conscience nagged, did she want to? The prince might be a hideous, hunchbacked hog. From what she could recall from the one portrait he had sent along, he was handsome enough, but it could have been a false likeness.
“A princess,” her father boomed, “is more than the clothes you wear, Natalia, more than the jewels which adorn your fingers. It is an attitude, a manner of speech and of bearing. Antonia will never understand that. You will present yourself to Prince Bennett in nothing more than a mouse-skin, and he will know you for who you truly are.”
As she struggled to maintain her composure, Natalia began to quiver. “But, Father,” she whispered. “Prince Bennett has never even seen me. How is he to know who I am?”
He wouldn’t. And once he saw Antonia, how could she hope to compare? Natalia was comely, but she didn’t approach Antonia’s cold beauty. If not for her stepsister’s cruel heart, Natalia might have been willing to concede that Antonia was more a princess than she was. The king had always said Natalia’s kindness was her crowning glory--but how was she to show it without her usual raiment? Prince Bennett would glance once at Antonia, see her beauty, and wed her before Natalia had any say in the matter at all.
“He will know,” the king said sternly.
L. K. Below writes romance and speculative fiction. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she publishes young adult novels. Visit her online at www.lbelow.net.