I'll be picking the winner of the Grand Prize giveaway tomorrow evening, so be certain to leave your comments just to make certain your name is entered. You could win Veiled Rose, Moonblood and Starflower!
Better late than never. As I said in the previous book, these last two chapters of resolution didn't come until a much later draft of the novel. It's just so hard after all that drama and tension to then start letting everything unwind.
I ended up starting the chapter with Fidel and Felix because I felt like it would be easier to look at resolution through their eyes rather than Una's. There are just too many emotions to deal with in Una following her transformation, salvation, and that final epic battle! Maybe I was a bit of a coward to do it this way . . . and maybe, as a more experienced writer now, I would have been able to tackle this bit from Una's perspective. But the writer-me of years ago certainly found it far too intimidating.
And face it: we all like getting back to Felix anyway.
Monster's back. Well there you are, dragon-eaten cat! Where were you when all the action was taking place?
But here he is, purring and rubbing around Felix's ankles as though nothing had happened. Silly beast. But who knows, maybe he was involved in some part of all the drama of which we are unaware? Maybe there was something going on with some of the soldiers of Shippening . . .
Running down the hill. I love this moment when Felix, catching sight of his sister--whom, you realize, he might have believed was killed--yelps and goes racing down the hill into her arms. Yes, the squabble and fight. They're siblings! But they really do love each other. All of these adventures have only strengthened the love between these two. I think this is a really touching little scene . . . I might have even teared-up a bit (but shhhh. Don’t tell).
I will return for you. Aethelbald leads the family into the Wood and guides them by Faerie paths across miles and leagues. At last, they emerge at the coastal city of Glencrocus, where they are greeted with much joy by the people of that city.
And there, before they are overwhelmed by the crowds, Aethelbald quietly tells Una that he must go. He has others he must look after, his own servants and those of her father. But he promises that he will return for Una. And he asks, "Will you wait for me?"
The crowd parts them before she can speak, but I'm sure he saw everything he needed in her smile.
Nurse! After many, many, many chapters without her, Nurse finally appears again, well and whole, delighted to be reunited with her dear princess! Hoorah! And, of course, she has to disguise her joy by telling Una what a mess she is and immediately falling into her usual, fussy ways.
*Happy sigh.* I do like the ends of books, so full of meetings and greetings and reunions. I don't like writing them particularly, but they are fun to read!
Felix and Una. While awaiting Aethelbald's return, Una and Felix spend a good bit of time together. I think they know that things will never be the same as they were. They'll never be as close, playing their games, teasing their tutor, running away to the old bridge. They've both grown up a lot, Una especially.
And they know that she is going to marry and move on, never to return. Never to be the sweet, young, immature Princess of Parumvir that she was.
It's a bittersweet time in a way. The fact is, you can't want everything to stay the same. It's not healthy. We have to move and grow and learn how to love each other in new ways along the paths of our lives. But it's hard not be wish--just a little bit--that things could go on the way they always have.
I think that's what this scene is about, between Una and her brother. But they love each other better now than they did before. And ultimately, their love will go on growing.
Aethelbald returns. When he does, he brings with him a certain treasure found in the ruins of Oriana: Una's opal ring, the gift from her mother.
And Una makes the wisest choice she's made through this entire novel. She says to Prince Aethelbald, "I would be . . . I think I should like you to keep it. If you would."
So we know they're definitely going to get married now!!!
"I'll have to think about it." I liked having Una say, "I'll have to think about it" when Aethelbald proposes to her for the second time. It makes me laugh, because it's so obvious to everyone that she is absolutely ready and willing to marry him! And Felix rolls his eyes, because he knows too . . . he knows Una is just being a pill and tease.
My editors almost took this little bit out, however. In fact, in the advance reader copies of Heartless, this little "I'll have to think about it" section isn't included. They thought it distracted from the romance of the scene. But I asked them to put it back. I like a little laugh along with my romance!
And now, there's nothing but a wedding left . . . .
My Personal Favorite Lines
1. Una, her father, and her brother were too full of joy after their bitter separation to consider the fragility of their position. They clung to each other and laughed and cried and interrupted each other and laughed and cried some more. When at last Prince Aethelbald asked them to follow him into the Wood, they did so without question, still laughing, still crying, and saying words very little worth hearing save for the glad voices in which they were spoken.
Aethelbald never once let go of Una's hand. (p. 356)
1. "Are you going to marry Aethelbald?" Felix asked . . .
"Marry Aethelbald?" Una said with something like a smile. "I don't know."
"Don't snort at me, Felix. It's not seemly." (p. 358)
Questions on the Text
1. What do you think it means when Una tells Aethelbald to keep her ring?
2. Any favorite lines?