Saturday, 11 August 2018

Book Spotlight: The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy

Today I have another book spotlight for you. This time it is the fairy tale fantasy, The Rose Queen, Book 1 in the Rose Trilogy, by Alison McBain. In addition to a peek at the book, there's a short excerpt. Enjoy!


The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy by Alison McBain



The Beast doesn't always wait for Beauty. Sometimes Beauty IS the Beast.

Princess Mirabella is betrothed to a repulsive old man a year after her mother's death. She refuses the marriage, only to find out her betrothed is a sorcerer as well. He takes his revenge by transforming her into a savage and frightening beast, giving her an ultimatum: she has three years to solve the mystery of her curse—or die.

Exiled to her mother's estate to hide the scandal, Mirabella learns that the sorcerer was not alone in keeping secrets. Her grandfather was murdered before Mirabella was born, and her mother's death is looking less and less as if it came from natural causes. The only point in common to all their ruined lives: her father, the king.

Faced with a conflict between saving her family and saving her own life, the choices Mirabella makes will change the future of the kingdom—and magic—forever.




The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy is available on Amazon




EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1:


When she was sixteen, Mirabella attended the last ball her mother, the queen, would organize. Although Mira’s beauty was maturing, she was not yet done with the plumpness of youth. Between now and her eighteenth year, she would grow five more inches. At eighteen, she would be the tallest of all the women and taller than a number of the men of court. She would come eye-to-eye with the king, although his stature was greater simply due to the height of his crown.

But at sixteen, something about her was not yet complete.

It was attractive, that unfinished quality in her. At her mother’s ball, one could tell where the princess stood merely by the number of suitors hovering around one spot. Overwhelmed by the crowd, she had learned by that time to smile coyly and say little. She donned indifference like armor, and without intending it, her distant and cool demeanor became her trademark. What would they all say if they knew she felt shriveled up inside under the constant attention?

Because she didn’t say much, Mira listened. Since childhood, she’d had the knack of paying attention to multiple conversations at the same time. She could be at a crowded gathering like this ballroom, and still distinguish each voice around her. Even as she smiled at her companions, she was mostly paying attention to the conversation now taking place behind her.

Him? What would the king want with him?”

“Called him from there, you know. The queen said—”

“Country buffoon. Did you know that when he made his bow, he neglected to—”

“Not surprising. What do you expect, letting in riffraff? And look at those clothes—”

She couldn’t help but turn to look for the subject of the conversation.

The person they spoke of seemed alone despite the hordes of people who swirled around him, like a pebble untouched in a stream. His clothes were a touch less elegant, less polished, as if he had spent money frugally and been cheated of the finest materials. It aped the latest style, but was not quite the thing. There was something about him, though, that spoke to her.

His features were forgettable, but his eyes—they were dark and miserable in the crowd.

She managed an introduction and, a touch belatedly it seemed, he asked to escort her around the ballroom. She glanced to each side, at the bodies of suitors piled up around her, and raised one perfect eyebrow at him in conspiracy. “Thank you, sir,” she replied and was granted his smile.

She heard a ripple of whispers after them, but it was unlikely she would ever see this country lord again, and so she didn’t worry about what impression she might be making. For a moment, she breathed more easily in the man’s ostracized presence. He said almost nothing, and it was a definite improvement over the ceaseless prattle of the admirers left behind.

And for a moment, she felt… not alone. Or if alone, it was a shared aloneness. She could be a solitary creature and take comfort with another’s pain in the midst of the crowd.

When the man made his final bow, she felt she had done a good service to rescue him and keep him company. Maybe someone might do the same for her someday.



About the Author



Alison McBain is an award-winning author with more than seventy short stories/poems published in magazines and anthologies, including Flash Fiction Online, Abyss & Apex and On Spec. Once in a while, she puts on her Book Reviews Editor hat for the magazine Bewildering Stories or interviews authors and other creatives on her website, www.alisonmcbain.com.

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