Royalty and Romance
by L. K. Below
Just about every little girl growing up wanted to be a princess. Admittedly, fairy tales have a lot to do with that.
In romance novels, the heroes and heroines are often extraordinary, larger than life. In the contemporary genre, this applies in terms of character. In the historical genre, more often than not, this applies to the social stature of the main characters.
I admit, writing about royalty has a certain appeal to me. Not because of the glamour (though it does ease my main characters’ paths somewhat not to have to worry about financial concerns). Other hurdles obstruct their goals instead. Being a princess is not all peaches and cream, despite what we’d like to believe as children. Along with being a princess comes certain standards and duties.
For Natalia, the main character of my new release, Unveiling His Princess, she has many constraints on her behavior. For one, she’s been taught since birth to walk, talk, and act a certain way. A way befitting of her station. So when her stepsister Antonia locks her in the closet while she steals her identity and ventures to Prince Bennett’s palace with an eye to marrying him in Natalia’s place, Natalia does nothing. She doesn’t cry, she doesn’t scream. Unfortunately, this very fact gives Antonia a head start.
Seeing as Natalia has never met Bennett, despite their longstanding engagement, she’s almost willing to let Antonia have him. But her father will not allow anyone to disgrace his family with such deceit. Despite Natalia’s protests, he sends her dressed as a scullery maid to Bennett’s castle to win him over -- without alerting him to her true identity.
But how is Natalia supposed to comport herself as a princess when everyone thinks she’s a maid? Even though she is clad in only a fur -- and one magically spelled to make her perfectly ordinary to the untrained eye -- she behaves exactly as she has all her life. She is as gracious, kind, and friendly as when she wore grandiose clothes, though it does her no good. As Bennett thinks he will shortly marry the waspish “Princess Natalia” introduced to him, he does not give her more than a longing glance.
As the soon-to-be King, Bennett has responsibilities of his own. He has to think about the safety of his country -- which, much to his dismay, might mean marrying a cruel woman he despises, all for the sake of preventing war with a neighboring country. But when night settles in and he meets the love of his life, he begins to entertain thoughts that maybe, just maybe, everything will work out alright. For even though he can’t imagine it to be true, the cold “Princess Natalia” assures him that the warm, willing, veiled beauty he consorts with at night is no other than her in disguise. Could he possibly be so lucky?
The pair of them were irresistible to write. Both have a strong noble streak -- and I mean in terms of their behavior, not only their pedigree. They want what’s right for their kingdoms, even as they long to be able to give in to their hearts.
Do you like to read about royalty, or do you prefer a working-class hero and heroine?
L. K. Below writes romance and speculative fiction. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she pens young adult novels. Her newest romance release, Unveiling His Princess, is now available from Liquid Silver Books. Visit her online at http://www.lbelow.net/ or on her blog at http://lbelow.blogspot.com/.