TITLE: The Chestnut Maiden
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy
Lesandro d’Orsino decided the poet Dante should have named the onerous search for a bride as one of the seven levels of the Inferno. If he included the past three days within a cramped carriage, the experience would qualify as the Devil’s own punishment. At first, it hadn’t been too difficult, trotting from manor to castle throughout the spring and summer. The girls themselves were pretty enough, if one ignored the fact that they barely possessed two digits representing their age. The pale things even tried to flirt, coaxed by hard-eyed parents. Yet, they inspired no raptures.
When the Countess de Tromperie, despite being ten years his senior, tried to claim his interest with arched eyebrows and her womanly attributes nearly falling out of her bodice, Lesandro had nearly sighed with relief. However, he quickly realized she was ill-suited for the task. The woman couldn’t converse about much beyond the quality of her silk dresses and the latest castle gossip.
It was common knowledge that most noble couples only tolerated each other, yet…
Yet, he remembered the looks of affection and even desire that echoed between his parents. Even after his mother had been disfigured, his father’s love hadn’t waned. Was it too much to hope for similar fate?
Perhaps he was just a mutton-headed fool.
Taddeo, Marchese d’Ivrea, Lesandro’s cousin, companion, and chaperone jostled his knee from across the confines of the carriage. “Will you stop humming that funeral dirge? I cannot stand another league of that dismal tune.”