Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #44

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.”


  1. Okay, this sounds interesting. There's a clear voice. Lesandro sounds pretty spoiled to me -- I especially loved/hated the line 'yet they inspired no raptures' for that -- so if that's what you're going for, you've done well.

    I guess this is a romance? If not, you may want to start in a different place.

  2. I think the writing is excellent. Already like the character quite a bit

  3. While I do like the writing, I notice the genre is YA. For me, the voice seemed a little bit older. The voice should reflect the character.

  4. I'm no expert but I liked that Lesandro's way of thinking. I liked that he wasn't talking down to the reader.

    Two things made me stumble: the digits (also a great way to tell me his age, by the way) and the multiple titles crammed in to introduce Taddeo.

    I love historical and I think you've captured the language well! Good luck.

  5. I liked the voice and personality. But If this is a fantasy, I don't see it in the prose yet. It definitely feels historical.

  6. I liked the voice, but story tone feels much older. I wish I had a glimpse of the fantasy too.

  7. Not much to say. I really like this. Love the MC as a jaded romantic.

  8. I liked this one pretty well. It's a slow start, but I thought it was humorous to find he's been humming a funeral dirge this whole time. The language seems very historical and I'd prefer that to making the language more modern. Don't underestimate teens.

    What I like about Lesandro is that he doesn't want to settle for less than what his parents had. What I'm not sure I like is how judgmental he seems of all women.