Hunted by a rabidly envious gypsy-witch, Maria, princess of Romania, must decide in which era she truly belongs. Carlotta the Maleficent meant to keep a century between herself and her arch-rival, but when American Maria Weid stumbles into the past through a shattered bookcase in Peles Castle, the gypsy's carefully-sculpted plans are destroyed. If Maria, heir to the Romanian throne, discovers her true identity, she will alter the course of a history selected for the world by the maleficent lady. With Maria's intern hunting the truth this side of the century and the young princess, in possession of The Spindle, struggling to make sense at the other, Carlotta must wage her war.
One princess buried , one gypsy queen vanished, one hundred-year gap. One book, which achieved it all, suspended between.
And now for the snippets, because I know all of you are absolutely dying (har, har) to read about the Sleeping Beauty!
The glass casing hummed beneath her hand, its beauty physically drawing her near: hundreds of unfamiliar stories in unfamiliar languages, made friends by their livery of leather and cloth and gold-leaf. If only there was no barrier between her and the books. If only she could touch them—just touch their spines and run her fingers across a page or two…the glass…how strong could it be? Would they even have an alarm system?
Don’t panic, Itty. Don’t you dare panic. She forced several calm breaths. See, that’s air. That’s oxygen. You’re fine. It loomed behind her memories, though, older than nightmare: a great blackness—layers of it—blotting out light, just as if she’d been put in a heavy, narrow box.
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and smiled. “P-pace.” There was no hand offered to shake so she went for the traditional cheek-kiss. The man backed away.
Monks. Right. Monks.
The tour-guide’s honey-hued eyes riveted Heath as if she’d taken her hand and tipped his chin to force the connection. He found an alluring, unsettling conviction in their touch. “Peles,” she said melodically, “is a palace, not castle.”
A young Romani boy—a gypsy, as were the rest of her household—scuttled off the front porch and came to her. She ruffled his hair and put away her golden magic for a time.
She took his hand in her own and swung her arms. “What has Tamara made for dinner?”
“Mmm. Did you go to school?”
Daniel scuffed his toes in the clean white gravel of the courtyard and looked off to the rose-beds. Carlotta sighed and chucked under his chin.
“Daniel, you know you must attend school.”
“Because.” She pulled him along.
“You are a gypsy. You know what they think of us.”
Daniel’s dark eyes searched her face mischievously. “What? That we cannot learn?”
“That we are too shiftless to want to learn. I know that is not true. And so do you.”
“Maybe I do not want to learn.”
Carlotta’s voice dipped to the coaxing tone to which she seldom stooped. “You want to learn to make magic, don’t you? Like your ancestors?”
His black eyes riveted on hers. “I want that.”“Mmmmm. Good,” she hummed, and pushed open the heavy, gilded door.
Out of desperation, she had traded her Toms for an ensemble resembling more a feed-sack tied with a woolen scarf than anything recognizable as fashion, and a pair of ugly leather clogs. The trade had hurt her worse than she’d thought it would. Those glorious Toms…formed exactly to the shape of her foot….gone to an old, sewage-scented woman who appeared to be growing a beard of all things!