The Cracked Slipper
When Eleanor Brice unexpectedly wins the heart of Gregory Desmarais, Crown Prince of Cartheigh, she's sure she's found her happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, Prince Charming has a loose grip on his temper, a looser grip on his marriage vows, and a tight grip on the bottle. Eight years of mistreatment, isolation and clandestine book learning hardly prepare Eleanor for life at Eclatant Palace, where women are seen, not heard. According to Eleanor’s eavesdropping parrot, no one at court appreciates her unladylike tendency to voice her opinion. To make matter worse, her royal fiancé spends his last night of bachelorhood on a drunken whoring spree. Before the ink dries on her marriage proclamation Eleanor realizes that she loves her husband's best friend, former soldier Dorian Finley. Eleanor can’t resist Dorian’s honesty, or his unusual admiration for her intelligence, and soon both are caught in a dangerous obsession. She drowns her confusion in charitable endeavors, but the people’s love can’t protect her from her feelings. When a magical crime endangers the bond between unicorns, dragons, and the royal family, a falsely accused Eleanor must clear her own name to save her life. The road toward vindication will force a choice between hard-won security and an impossible love. The Cracked Slipper is a book club friendly fairytale retelling in the vein of Gregory Maguire, with a dash of romance. Set in a pseudo-renaissance, corset-and-petticoats enchanted kingdom, The Cracked Slipper brings a magical twist to women’s fiction.
Some bear mentioning by name: Flora Cross, Lisa Anzelone, Stephanie Donohue. My sister, Mary Alexander Page, and my mother, Dianne Wicklein, both sources of wisdom and unending support. Love to my grandmothers, Ruby Easton Wicklein and Alice Munsell Alexander, who paved the way for me. To my children, Eliza, Harper and Cyrus, for showing me the meaning of love and fear and reigniting my imagination. And to my husband, Eric, for being my first reader and constant champion of my abilities.
Starting with Ezra Oliver. Gregory wagged his eyebrows at her and stole a quick kiss. As always, his grin lifted her spirits. “His Royal Highness, Prince Gregory, and Mistress Eleanor Brice. May HighGod bless the Kingdom of Cartheigh!” Eleanor held her head high as they entered the ballroom. The crown cheered wildly. Whether they approved of her personally or not, everyone in attendance embraced the glamour of the ball and the spirit of the Fest. Eleanor smiled and waved. She was one of them,.
Rubbing her shoulders, and made for one of the doorways. Her face lit up when he stepped in her path. “Dorian! Where have you been?” “I just took some air,” he said. “You were marvelous.” He couldn’t help it. His eyes raked her body. He took a tiny step closer and she held her ground. “Thank you,” she said. “I’m so glad you think so.” “How could I, or anyone else, think otherwise?” Something hard set in her eyes. “I wanted to slap them in the face. To wake some people up.” “You slapped them,.
Expanse of the Great Hall, pass the next set of guards at the two-story wooden doors, and descend another flight of stairs. She must find her coach, with its driver and six white horses that, upon close examination, bear a distinct resemblance to a parrot and a half-dozen goats. Most daunting, the two Unicorn Guards in full war regalia standing sentry at the head of the drive. I’ll never make it, she thinks. She does not slow down when she reaches the first staircase and has no chance of.
Her cheeks. “You’re right.” He stepped away. “I’ll walk you home.” “I’m fine. I know the way.” “I can’t be responsible if you deliver the future king alone among the hedgerows,” he said. She couldn’t muster a smile. He followed her to the palace. *** Eleanor was glad for the excuse of her heavy belly. She stayed at the dinner table and picked at her food. The fiddles and flutes ground on her nerves like a chorus of bullfrogs competing with a herd of cows. She responded to the party guests.