After writing an entire novel about her (Heartless), I was a little wary going into Una's scenes come Veiled Rose. She was no longer either my heroine or my view-point character, and I wasn't certain if that would make me like her more or less. I really enjoyed writing Una in her novel, but familiarity breeds contempt, and I was a little tired of her by the time Heartless had reached its bazillionth-and-one draft. What would it be like to revisit her--and some of those familiar old scenes--a full novel later?
I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the experience! For one thing, we see Una entirely from Prince Lionheart's perspective this time around. And Lionheart is blessedly unaware of all the drama and turmoil going on in Una's girlish young mind. He sees simply a sweet, pretty girl with a good sense of humor and a bright smile. He sees a princess who is down-to-earth enough to walk in the forests alone with messy braided hair, unspoiled by pomp (unlike Daylily), but also still full of good breeding (unlike Rose Red).
To Lionheart, Una must appear the perfect combination of everything he's ever wanted in a prospective bride.
I found it interesting to watch (yes, I wrote it, but often times it seems as though the scenes simply play out before my eyes and I type what I see) Lionheart fall for Una so quickly. In Heartless, we aren't privy to his side of the story and don't really know what he's thinking or feeling for her until pretty late in the day. Here, however, we see him basically fall in love with her at first sight . . . in a rather atypical moment for Lionheart!
It makes sense to me, however. Lionheart has been exiled for five years, separated from all warmth and comfort and sense of security. All he has is his jestering to support himself, and even that is not welcome everywhere he goes. But to have this sweet and pretty girl (he doesn't even realize she's a princess at first), laugh and enjoy his humor even when, just moments ago, he had nearly scared her out of her mind . . . well, that's got to be gratifying to a young man's ego!
Perhaps not the most solid foundation upon which to build romantic love. But not an unrealistic one.
I found Una singularly adorable as seen from Lionheart's perspective. Though in Heartless, she can come across as a bit of a pill and very naïve, seen through Lionheart's eyes, we see a simple, sweet, straight-forward sort of girl, a little spoiled, but honestly so. There's no artifice to be had in her, no game-playing, no secrets.
Can we really blame Lionheart for the promises and half-promises he made to her, right there at the end of his long quest? Do we not suddenly have more sympathy for the despised jester-prince from Heartless? I do, at any rate!