The Ice Princess's Fair Illusion (Fairytale Verses #2) by Lynn E. O'Connacht

The Ice Princess's Fair Illusion

(Fairytale Verses #2)
Release Date: 6 November 2018

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All Marian wants is for society to accept that she's just not interested in... whatever society thinks she ought to be interested in. A princess with a reputation for insults and snide remarks, she's afraid to show anyone who she would be if people would let her. In a fit of temper at her refusal to marry, her father creates her worst nightmare: she is to be wed to the first beggar who arrives at the gates.

Edel was visiting purely for diplomatic reasons, to see if Marian or her sisters might be a suitable companion for her daughter. She sees something in Marian that is achingly familiar and when Edel hears the king's proclamation, only one thing is on her mind: to protect Marian from the fate that had befallen Edel herself.

Their lives threaded together by magic, Edel and Marian will have to find their way in the world in this  queerplatonic, sapphic verse novel retelling of King Thrushbeard.

This book contains warnings for:

  • acephobia/acemisia
  • arophobia/aromisia
  • sexual assault
  • brief allusion to self-harm
  • PTSD
  • spousal death
  • parental death
  • unsupportive parents

Tags: queerplatonic sapphic fairytale retelling, story in free verse, sex-repulsed MC, asexual MC, aromantic MC, young widow remarries, strained mother/daughter relationships, Marian’s father is a jerk, Duke Whatsit is also a jerk and deserves his stint in prison, f/f aromance, banter so much banter all the banter forever, the banter book, seriously this story is All About Cute Post-HEA Banter, cute girls being very cute, marian wants a little lamb, disaster ace, distinguished aro, labelstravaganza, gleefully and unapologetically ace and aro, sapphic AF, queer AF, basically everyone is queer, not recommended if you think ace/aro is not queer, kissing someone against their explicit wishes is assault, King Thrushbeard but sapphic and better, how did Snow White get into this story?, fridged dad, Part 2 is Not Fluffy, Marian gets teased about being sex-repulsed but in a friendly way which she is okay with, also Edel backs off and apologises when she does accidentally go too far, banterbanterbanter, keeping these two on plot is like trying to herd cats, experimental narrative structure, I will take this harmful insult for myself and HIT people with it, (Marian honey that does not mean it didn’t hurt you), if it’s aphobic it gets called out, I was very angry when I wrote most of this, fairy godmother fail, Edel is definitely the sensible one of the two (most of the time)

Excerpt

This will be fun!
And it’s everything
You ever wanted to
Be able to do.

I don’t like talking
To people, Marian.

But we’re not.
That’s the beauty!
We just talk at this
Device and treat it
Like it is a person
And tada! It’s like
We talked to someone,
But we never did.

That’s exactly like
When there is someone
You’re talking to.
What if we say
Something wrong?

Then we’ll correct
Ourselves. You’re
Too used to speeches
That’ve been worked
Out in advance, Edel.

Trust me, Edel.
We can just talk to
Each other and forget
About the device.
Would that help?

Er.
It might?
You’re the one
Who loves spending
Time with people, Marian.

You’ll like this once you
Get started, I promise.

I’ll begin!

Once upon a time there was a beautiful queen.

Ha!

She was the brightest star in all the lands,
Kind and generous and compassionate
Beyond anything that the poets could
Ever hope to catch within their lines.

Oh, please.
The first time we truly interacted
You called me Thrushmane.

And your hair still looks
Like a thrush’s nest
Despite my best efforts to tame it.

It looks fine.
You can tame it for formal occasions.
You know that.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Huuuuuuuu…
I knew I’d regret reminding you.

You love me really.

As a thrush loves its voice, my sweet.

So. Let me tell this bit my way?

Ha! Not a chance.
You’d have me be some flawless
Ethereal being come down from heaven
To save the world from its cruel fate.

Well, I wouldn’t go that far.

Probably.

Okay! So!

Once upon a time there was a beautiful queen
And I don’t want any arguments about it again.
The queen was beautiful and kind.
She was also alone.
So very alone.

Ahem.

The queen’s name was Edel,
Which is about as royal as a name can be,
And rather aspirational of her parents
Who were only minor nobility in an
Insignificant country amid the mountains.
Edel was, as queens in stories often are,
Young and innocent of the world around her.

That’s princesses, Marian.

Sometimes queens. In any case,
Trouble did not come to Edel’s
Small home in the mountains,
Unless a dispute about farm borders
Or unfair payments counts as trouble.

She grew up wild and carefree,
The youngest of twelve siblings,
The one destined to live a spinster
In her ancestral home and look after
The sheep and the goats and
What wild gardens could be maintained.

This did not bother Edel, for she had known
From a young age that courtship and marriage
Were not what she wanted from life
The way that her siblings did.

Aromantic, we call it.
You know that, my sweet.
Aromantic and asexual, in fact.
Why do those words bother you so?

They don’t bother me!
I just… This isn’t the right place for them.
It’s my story and I’m telling it, now hush.

No, dear. If you’re going to tell it,
Tell it loud. Tell it proud.
That’s why I agreed to do this.
I want to hear no more
Of people like yourself
Who needed words they never learned
Because no one believed they were needed.

But I wanted to make
A dramatic reveal…

Marian.

Oh, fine!

This did not bother Edel
For she had known from a young age
That she was aromantic and asexual
Which were understood by her people
And not by ours and even though telling it now
Rather ruins the dramatic reveal later on,
She was too straightforward and literal-minded
To know what makes a good story and to let
Her partner — that’s me — do what she does best,
Which is to tell a story intriguingly and well.

You’re so adorable
When you’re grumpy.
Like a little kitten
Denied a saucer of milk
And well knowing it.

Are you suuuuuuuure this is how
You want to do this?

Sure as the sun,
Certain as the moon,
My sweet.

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.
But you’d better let me do
A dramatic reveal at some point!

It is your idea, my sweet.
I simply aim to make sure it’s accurate
And that you do not use people’s identities
As little more than a ‘dramatic reveal’.
That won’t do anyone any good.

Also in this series: