Saturday, December 8, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 7

Don't forget, if you want to be included in this week's giveaway, you need to answer at least one question on each day's post. Then you'll have your name entered to win a copy of Veiled Rose, Moonblood, or Starflower!

Back to the  story . . . .

CHAPTER SEVEN:

Una the romantic: Here at the opening of chapter 7, we really see Una for the romantic little fool that she is. "Prince Gervais was so handsome! Prince Gervais was so charming! Prince Gervais was come to pay his respects!" Without a thought for actual character or even whether or not they might have a reasonable conversation! But that's typical Una for you . . . sweet, but not very wise.

The second dream: This second vision of Una's is much shorter than the first. But it provides some interesting hints! She sees an "enormous face surrounded by fire," and this face says, "Where are you? Five years I have searched. Five years I have wasted."

So now we know that this person--whoever he might be--has been searching for Una for five years . . . the same amount of time that she has had Monster, her secret guardian. And so far, though obviously powerful, this dream danger has been unable to locate her . . . possibly due to the protections Monster (who we now know serves Prince Aethelbald) has offered.

You will also notice that the dream-stranger says, "Are you not the one I seek?" Is he speaking to Una when he says this? Or--as a reading of Veiled Rose might reveal--is he speaking to someone else and Una is merely overhearing it in her dream?

Monster: Monster is so full of mystery, but he is also SO full of cattishness! As a cat-person myself, I can't tell you how many times I have been woken by prickling whiskers in my face, opening my eyes to a pink, prodding nose.

The ring: Una's ring continues to be an important reference in this chapter. Here we have it described as a "cluster of opals."

This ring was originally inspired by the opal ring worn by Princess Irene in George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin. In that book, the princess is given the ring by her magical grandmother, but it could still be said to symbolize her heart . . . though in a different way than the opal ring Una's mother gave her. I loved The Princess and the Goblin when I was growing up, so I liked slipping in a little nod to MacDonald here in my first novel.

I described the ring to look like one that my grandmother gave me. That's a picture of it up there . . . not very good quality picture, but you get the idea. Isn't it pretty? I don't wear it too often since opals are soft stones and too-easily break. But I still really like it!

Here's another opal ring, modeled by the lovely Clara in a Heartless photo-shoot.

Una's braid: Whenever I picture my sweet Princess Una, I always picture her in the look described in this chapter . . . a loose braid down her back, a simple gown, a journal in her pocket. For all she's a spoiled princess, she's also a sweet girl. I feel like she's someone I could be friends with!

King Abundiantus V makes another appearance in this chapter, this time as a marble statue. We get a few interesting details about him when this statue is described. We're told he's got one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other "resting upon his breast, fingering a pair of incongruous spectacles on a chain." Spectacles? Really?

But you know if it's slipped in there, it's going to be important later . . . Sadly, you'll have to keep reading for many books before you'll find out why! But don't forget King Abundiantus and his spectacles.

The Rose Garden: "It was called the Rose Garden, though no roses had bloomed there in over twenty years." Another little mysterious thread in Heartless that is not resolved within this novel. In Veiled Rose, we learn that roses haven't bloomed in any other country for twenty years as well. But the reason why, we won't learn until Moonblood. Rest assured, dear reader! There is an explanation.

Gervais's song: A sad little mimic of the beautiful Burns' ballad, My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose . . . Gervais's song for Una was written by "the great Eanrin of Rudiobus."

Eanrin? Wait! Isn't that the name Prince  Aethelbald called Monster in an earlier chapter?

Why, yes it is . . . And the enigma deepens!

And Gervais, of course, uses the song to further enchant Una. He flirts with rare gusto and obviously knows much more about wooing than my inexperienced little princess does. Poor Una can do nothing but blush in hot, red blotches! But it doesn't take a whole lot of smarts to realize Gervais is merely throwing clich├ęd romanticism at the princess without a sincere word in the mix. He doesn't even get her eye-color right, and she's standing right in front of him!

Una and Aethelbald: Following this "romantic" interlude with Prince Gervais, Una finds Prince Aethelbald that much more infuriating . . . especially when he continues to be as sweet and solicitous as always, no matter how nasty she gets! Poor Una really does get the worst of it in this scene, leaping from embarrassment to embarrassment.

Una's burns: Once more, Aethelbald inquires after Una's hands. He tells her she is badly burned, but she insists that there is no burn to be seen. Aethelbald gently tells her, "I see what you cannot."

Foreshadowing!!! Gotta love it, right?

Una's speech issues: When Aethelbald asks Una if she will allow him to tend to her hurts, she refuses, stumbling over her words rather badly as she does so. Do any of you do that? Get so caught up in what you want to say that you can't quite get it to come out right? I sure do! At least when I'm nervous. That's where Una's little speech-problem stemmed from . . . my own shyness when speaking in public. (I'm much better now, but when I was Una's age I had the worst time trying to keep my words in order!)

My personal favorite lines:

She plumped her pillows so many times that Monster gave an irate squawk and stalked to the foot of the bed, curling up like a chipmunk with his tail wrapped over his nose. (p. 82)

[King Abundiantus's] marble face scowled severely down upon Una as though to say there were far more important things to consider on a spring morning than love and romance.
Una did not believe she and her great-grandsire would have seen eye to eye on many subjects. (p. 83)

"Princess Una," he said, his voice low and soft, "did you know that your eyes shine like the stars?"
Where the star analogy might have come from so early in the morning, Una could not guess, but that hardly mattered at such a moment. (p. 85)

"The first moment I gazed into the limid blue depths of your eyes," he said, "I knew I might drown there and die a happy man."
Some small part of her deep inside winced that he'd gotten her eye color wrong. (p. 85)

"Oh!" she gasped, then inwardly kicked herself when the next word from her mouth was a resounding, "Uh!" (p. 86)

"Sneaking up on people," she snapped. "Really, sir, there are proprieties to maintain!"
"I was standing in plain sight."
"I couldn't have been that plain since I didn't see you!"
"You might have seen me had you been looking where you went."
"I was looking where I went right up until I stopped . . . looking . . . " (p. 87)

"And now all this rot about invisible injuries and interrupting Prince Gervais as he and I don’t see what business it is of I can do what I like and I think you're simply and that's that!"
Una paused there, wondering if what she'd just said had made a lick of sense. Judging from Prince Aethelbald's face, it hadn't. "Well, now you know," she finished. (p. 88)

Heaven help her, she would not turn around to see whether or not he was still watching her!
But she did.
And he was.
Grinding her teeth, Una fled to her chambers, determined never to leave them again. (p. 88)

Questions for the Text:

1. So, if you were Una, would you have fallen for Gervais's charm? Would you have fallen for Aethelbald?

2.  While this chapter focuses primarily on Una's interest in Gervais, there are a number of hints of developing danger and storyline to come. Which hints did you pick out? Which ones intrigued you most?

3. Any favorite lines?

Reader Questions

1. "If cats have nine lives, how many does Eanrin have? And is it just the Faerie royalty that have three lives (like Dragonwitch and Vahe)?" -- the Ever-Mysterious Anonymous

I'm afraid Eanrin only has one. I'm sure he would like you to think he has nine (and sometimes, with the variety of scrapes he barely makes it through, it would be easy to believe he has nine). But he only has one. A nice loooooong, immortal one, but one. Only the Faerie lords and ladies, rulers of demesnes have three lives. And then, they only get three lives when the come into power. So, for instance, Vahe's daughter does not have three lives until she becomes Queen of Arpiar.

Great question!

2. "How far apart are Una and Felix (in age)?" -- Caitlyn

I think they're about three years apart. I picture Una as approximately 18 (she just came of age that year), and Felix as about 15. Sound about right to you?

14 comments:

Meredith said...

1. Una's dream seems to be a foreshadowing of danger to come. I don't think the Dragon was speaking to her simply because he said, "Are you not the one I seek?" However, I won't say who I believe he's addressing for those who haven't read any other books. Also, the ring tightens on Una's finger again. This part really intrigues me, and I love that the ring is a gift from her mother. So wonderful that her mother gave her something of such value and beauty. She was surely a wise and loving woman.

2. I'd love to say that I'd have seen through the cliches of Gervais's poetry and not been enamored, but I wouldn't be honest. Anytime I read love poetry or hear someone else sing or recite poems, I am carried away no matter how cliched they may be.

3. Every line you mentioned. "I was looking right up until I stopped ... looking!" That is so funny! I bump into people all the time, (especially when I'm in a hurry), and it's hilareous when they've never met me. Some people will even say, "Didn't you see me?" or, "Watch
where you're going!" People will then be so embarrassed! Now I have a perfect line to say. Of course, "I didn't see you there" works great, too! Ha! (I am blind).

The thread about the roses is really intriguing me! Can't wait to find out why they no longer grow. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Question: Your world is so multi-layered and intricate. What is a trick you use to keep all your characters straight? Do you outline?

Question: How many books have you planned for the series? Sounds as if you have many more plot threads to come. This series resembles a tapestry, and I like how each story seems to somehow point to all the others. Amazing! Keep up the outstanding work.

God bless.

Clara Darling said...

I would have fallen for Aethelbald, NOT Gervais:)

Bookishqueen said...

1) I never liked Gervais so I would not have fallen for him. Everything that he said made me want to gag.

Emily Bennett said...

1. I agree with Bookishqueen, I never liked Gervais at all. If I were in Una's position I think I would be quite annoyed by him, and I definitely wouldn't fall for him.

Courtney said...

#3

"I was looking where I went right up until I stopped...looking..."

She crossed her arms, then uncrossed them because Nurse said that princesses should never cross their arms. But then she didn't know what to do with them. so she crossed them again.

I love this part. I say stuff like this all the time. My mind can never seem to catch up with my mouth or vice versa. When I am with friends, I would say 90 percent of the time when I make them laugh, it is over my speech issues. I also make up words that don't exist or pronounce real words incorrectly. I still get embarrassed but I have fun with it. =D

I also understand about the crossing arms issue. To me it is a comfortable position but I know it can be taken as rude so...

Courtney said...

"And now all this rot about invisible injuries and interrupting Prince Gervais as he and I don’t see what business it is of I can do what I like and I think you're simply and that's that!"
Una paused there, wondering if what she'd just said had made a lick of sense. Judging from Prince Aethelbald's face, it hadn't. "Well, now you know," she finished.


I like this section as well. I get what she is trying to say. =D

Molly said...

1. I think I might have fallen for Gervais, but I might have fallen for Aethelbald instead, because I like quiet people (I can be pretty quiet a lot but I'm pretty loud too).
So since Aethelbald's quiet, well... :P

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Meredith: I agree with you on #2. I am such a sap for a romantic song, no matter how cheesy! Una is loosely based on a younger vesion of me, and the first guy I fell head-over-heels for was a love-song-singing, cheesy-as-they-come, charmer type. And I was so beguiled by the cheese! (I AM a Wisconsin girl at heart, even if I've transplanted down south.)

I'm glad to hear that most of you girls have better heads on your shoulders than the 19 year-old me . . . :)

Jennette said...

1. Its hard to say. When I'm reading the story, the interactions, etc with Gervais, I can see right through his words, but if someone was actually telling this to me? I'd probably be very embarrassed, unable to think right, flustered, etc, but I think something deep down inside wouldn't agree with his words and eventually I'd see through it.

2.

3. so many good lines.

"All the wildness of the Twelve-Year Market, the breath of great distances, and the smell of the sky lay hidden in that gaze. For a moment Una believed him.....the moment passed"

Anonymous said...

1. I definitely wouldn't fall for Gervais. I think I'd paddle him to a pulp if he tried that on me.
I may fall for Aethrlbald.

2. Was it her dream, Abundiantus V's statue, and the Rose Garden's lack of roses.?

3. "I was standing in plain sight."
"It couldn't have been that plain since I didn't see you!"
"You might have seen me had you been looking where you went."
"I was looking where I went right up until I stopped ...looking...."

AC

Anna C. said...

1. Aethelbald, for sure. Gervais is too flattering. Aethelbald is just really sweet.

Victoria said...

1. I probably would have a big crush on both of them. ;)

Rebekah said...

Ah, I'd always thought his song was like Burns'.

1) No. He oozes of everything I don't like. The first time I read of him, I knew I wouldn't like him. I guess it would be the same in real life.

Little Brown Sparrow said...

#1 - If I were Una, I think I would have fallen for Aethelbald by now. He was so sweet, even when she lost her temper. I love the part where she nearly runs into him and she reprimands him for sneaking up on her.
"I was standing in plain sight."
"It couldn't have been that plain since I didn't see you!"
"You might have seen me had you been looking where you went."
"I was looking where I went right up until I stopped... looking...."

#2 - There are hints about Una's burns. And her nightmare with the Dragon, I believe.

#3 - "You can stop concerning yourself. My being is well enough, thank you. Good morning."
To her relief, he let her go. She crunched on up the path to the palace, telling herself that she wouldn't look back. Heaven help her, she would not turn around to see whether or not he was still watching her!
But she did.
And he was.
Grinding her teeth, Una fled to her chambers, determined never to leave them again. (p. 88)

In Christ,
~ Camryn