Love and War
Chronicles of Estoria
Genre: Fantasy/ Romance
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing
Number of pages: 213
Word Count: just over 70,000
Cover Artist: James Caldwell
In the small kingdom of Estoria, war is brewing. Trapped between the deadly Cantarrus mountains and the volatile kingdom of Belvidia, war seems unavoidable. The time has come to announce the heir to the throne so as to give the kingdom a much needed sense of security.
Sophia has worked long and hard to become the ideal queen. She is the toast of Estorian society and is ready to marry for duty. Her twin sister Amelia is her polar opposite; clumsy and opinionated Amelia might be fluent in several languages, but she cannot curtsy without falling over.
When Amelia’s betrothal to Prince Damon is announced, Sophia feels betrayed. Amelia is shocked and becomes paranoid that her unfeminine habits will cause the prince to call off the wedding, leaving Estoria to face Belvidia alone. Things get more complicated for Amelia when she begins to develop feelings for the handsome bodyguard sent by her future husband.
Amelia must choose; will she side with her sister, do her duty and marry the prince, or will her new found interest in marrying for love ruin everything? Love, duty or family; which would you choose?
The nervous princesses reached the double doors of the banquet hall. Sophia slid her arm out of Amelia’s, grabbed her hand, and squeezed it tightly. Just as suddenly as it started, the moment was over, and she reverted back to the cold and dignified princess, leaving Amelia more nervous than before.
“Stand up straight, shoulders back, chin up, and smile!” hissed Sophia at her sister. The doors opened, and a servant announced their arrival. Gracefully, Sophia glided into the room, smiling at the many people who stood for their entrance as she made her way to the high table.
Amelia swallowed hard as she took in the many faces staring from within the room. Biting her lip, she followed, trying to mimic her sister’s graceful walk, her smile more a grimace of concentration. The hall was full to capacity with visiting lords and ladies who had come to hear the king’s announcement. Amelia felt her stomach churn at the thought of embarrassing herself in front of all the visiting dignitaries.
They sat, Sophia next to the queen and Amelia next to the king, as they always did. The hall-full of people took their seats afterward. The king then stood and raised his arms. “Welcome lords, ladies, and gentlefolk to our home on this very special evening. Before we begin our meal, there is something I wish to announce.”
Around the room, people sat up straighter with anticipation. Everyone knew the girls were of age to marry. In fact, they were past the usual age for betrothal announcements. Sophia smiled indulgently, while Amelia bit her lip, hoping the man her father chose would serve the country well in these troubled times.
“As you know, my wife and I have not been blessed with a son.” The queen reached for his hand and squeezed it before she rose to stand beside him. “But we do have two beautiful daughters, who have grown into very fine women.” He gestured to the two princesses on either side of himself and his queen.
“I have called you here tonight to hear the betrothal announcement of my daughter, who will become queen and rule Estoria at her husband’s side after my death.” Amelia glanced at Sophia, her stomach churning as she waited to hear who her sister would be betrothed to. Sophia looked nervous about hearing her new husband’s name too, but she had prepared for this her whole life. Amelia turned her gaze to the king and queen, waiting for the inevitable announcement.
“I have arranged a match with the second born prince of Prestor, Prince Damon.” The room broke into excited whispers as the lords and ladies discussed all the gossip they could remember about the prince. Sophia smiled widely, but Amelia frowned. She knew of Prince Damon. He was said to be handsome and chivalrous. He would make an excellent husband. He was a few years older—twenty-four to Sophia’s eighteen. But while Prestor was a beautiful country, it was separated from Estoria by the Cantarrus Mountains. Weren’t there more suitable choices who would be able to aid Estoria in the upcoming battle? She trusted her father’s decision, but she couldn’t say she would have made the same choice. Although, if I’m honest—that’s at least half because I want the crown for myself.
The king held his hands up for silence again. “Please, everyone, join me in celebrating the betrothal of my eldest daughter, your crown princess, the beautiful Princess Amelia.” There was a roar of applause, and both Amelia and Sophia’s faces froze into identical masks of shock and horror. Amelia was dragged upward to stand beside her father. She felt like the floor had dropped away from beneath her, and she clutched at her father’s arm to support herself. The roar of the lords and ladies sounded so far away. She must have misheard. There was no way he actually meant it.
“I have two daughters, and my youngest, Sophia, has also become betrothed tonight.” The king looked over at Sophia, oblivious to the taut smile on her face. The queen reached out and helped her upright.
“Princess Sophia will wed Duke Anton of Crestori’s oldest son, the honorable Sir Graeme,” announced King Frederick, beaming at the crowd. He looked around the room, grinning as the shouts of encouragement for the princesses and blessings were called out for their marriages. “Now let us celebrate with a feast!” he boomed, and turned to help his queen and daughters back into their seats while the servants, who waited around the edges of the hall, dashed forward with plates towering with food and flagons of wine.
Amelia felt numb. What will I do? Can I marry a man I have never met? How will he react when he realizes he was conned out of a real princess for his bride and instead gained a budding ambassador? How is Sophia going to react? Questions ran through her head, too quickly for her to consider answers for any of them. She glanced over at Sophia and flinched to see her face still frozen in a false smile.
For the rest of the evening Amelia picked at her meal, smiling and nodding every time someone came forward to congratulate her. Later, when the food was cleared away, she danced with everyone who asked, though it all felt like a dream. Normally, she watched Sophia dancing, as no one was fool enough to ask her. Now, she was suddenly the most sought out woman, even though the men would surely regret risking their feet afterward.
She was so numb it was if she still sat beside her father, watching someone else get twirled around on the dance floor by various lords, dukes, and sirs. Perhaps I should always get earth-shattering news before a dance, it seems to make me less clumsy, she thought idly as she watched the room spin by.
About the Author:
Suzy Knight is an average English girl, who after completing a degree in boring business management decided to travel halfway around the world to the land of kpop and kimchi to be a teacher.
Whilst in Korea, Suzy rediscovered her passion for writing and managed to write the novel Love and War in between working at her academy and volunteering with animal rescue. Two years later and she’s back in England with her rescued Korean puppy, Panda.
Now she is working on her next novels, while training Panda to be less nervous.
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00IABE9YE