To Be (someone else) or Not to Be
When I visited Soriano last Christmas, I fell in love with the medieval city and its people and knew I’d have to write a novel based there.
Each fall, the residents hold a Renaissance fair to celebrate a fifteenth century battle. It was won in part, by the early warning of an old woman.
As I walked the cobblestone streets and stared up at the castle, I paused to wonder at it all.
What if it wasn’t an old woman that sounded the alarm? What if it was a young woman in disguise? What if she was in love with someone in the castle? Would she risk everything to save him?
Researching the battle and the times, I was thrust into a world where couples like Romeo and Juliet lived and breathed. It was a time when marriage joined powerful families and love had no say. It’s easy to imagine a tragic couple like Romeo and Juliet.
In such a place and time, how could I help Bernardo and Aurelia, a young couple from opposing families, find their happily ever after?
Tonight, Aurelia’s uncle plans to steal Soriano away from Rodrigo Borgia. Although she doesn’t give a fig who owns the town that nearly stoned her to death, her handsome captain is behind bars. She should never have agreed to marry him, especially not upside down and over his shoulder.
What is it about Bernardo’s new wife? The beautiful angel refuses to trust him, not even after he weds her without a dowry. She wields a firearm like a pirate, disguises herself as a male doctor, and nearly drives him mad. And yet he can’t go on without her.
How can a mere mortal convince a woman like that to come home?
Some people have asked me, recently, why do you write?
Others ask me, are you making a lot of money?
So why DO I write?
One of my goals is to give back, but I am a little geeky, a little shy, and don’t have buckets of money to give away.
How does a person like me throw back good karma into the world?
I do it with my stories.
When I started writing, I vowed I would write about strong heroines facing adversity, and overcoming. Why? Because I truly believe that
we become what we think about.
If we dream about having someone dominate us, that is no doubt what we will attract. I’m not saying don’t ever read those fun books, I’m suggesting to balance your reading.
Dream about being strong.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Given the fact that Stella Marie Alden’s prior medieval romance books in the series are winners, it’s a given that those who know her name will realize they’re in for a treat with How to Seduce a Queen, a new addition to the series – but it should also be emphasized that newcomers will have no difficulty entering Alden’s world if they start with this title, either.
Set in 1283, the prologue opens with a mad dash to his brother-in-law’s castle by one Nicholas, who has been shot with an arrow by the Lady Fay. In the mad rush to save his life, a twin sister and a host of characters are introduced in a vivid opener that compels readers to learn why a romantic interest with a long history could possibly lead to murder.
After setting the scene with an intriguing question, the first chapter goes back in time three months’ prior to introduce the politics and purposes of Nicholas, who is charged with the idea of kidnapping the royal Lady Fay.
There’s more than the seduction of a queen going on, here: readers will quickly be seduced not just by political cross-purposes and evolving romance, but the stormy relationships between families, political intentions, and arrogant suitors and fathers alike.
Alden’s gift for bringing to life the atmosphere and setting of medieval England’s wild countryside and challenges are equaled only by her ability to draw a feisty, strong female protagonist into the picture, who is more likely to get her way via arrow than wooing.
It’s refreshing to feel the tongue-in-cheek humor and delightful clashes and contrasts of personalities throughout a novel that takes as much time to create winning and different characters as it does to present a sense of the wildness and wilderness that was medieval England.
The fiery temperaments and encounters between the main characters, the blossoming and often-reluctant romance (“There would be no wedding banquet. Not while she lived and breathed.”), and the determination of a woman who will not “marry a monster” and who would rather kill than cuddle all lend to a rollicking, fun, action-packed story.
Romance readers with an affinity for historical settings, feisty characters, and medieval times will find How to Seduce a Queen engrossing and refreshingly different from the usual romance read.