Strung: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour.
Few in the world of Iodesh believe the Faye are more than legend—until an unwanted suitor captures one as Lady Lysbeth Haywood’s bride price.
Presented with the Faye, Lysbeth is torn between her excitement to learn more about the legendary people, her dread at the possibility of a forced engagement, and her battle of attrition with Avon society.
It’s worth the struggle, for as layers of the Faye’s extraordinary mysteries are peeled away, their revelations—and Lysbeth’s own role in them—reach farther than she ever thought possible.
Mild self-harm, off-screen abuse, and brief on-screen violence.
(aka Chapter 1 | Waiting for the Faye’s Arrival)
Lysbeth pretends to admire the prospect of her morning room’s corner view. Before her, Lindenholt’s stately drive empties into an imposing stone court from the north—framed by a handsome stable block to the east and an identical kitchen block to the west. It’s a grand sight, and she’d be enjoying it, were her mind not previously engaged.
Four others litter the room behind her, conversing intermittently as the minutes stream long. Elane reads on a couch. Gina and Marium, bored Ladies from surrounding Houses, needlepoint on the couch opposite. Lysbeth’s brother, Isaac, leans against a corner table, radiating scorn over the potential imposition of a Faye.
The last fortnight had been an exercise in speculation. Lysbeth agreed with her brother and cousin that Dorsit’s claims were unlikely, but she couldn’t help leaving a crack in the door. The Faye had been the centerpiece of her childhood daydreams, and now the shade of the girl she’d once been won’t allow her the comfort of hopelessness.
She runs her fingers along the lace curtain as her eyes glaze. The agony of waiting increases the closer she draws to waiting’s end. Her thoughts meander, entertaining fanciful outcomes for the day, until movement far along Lindenholt’s drive pulls them forward and into focus. Two triangles of fog appear on the pane under her nose as she leans in. Forthcoming forms clear: a rider’s progress on the path is continually thwarted by the fierce opposition of the horse he strings behind.
“Someone’s come with a bit of trouble,” she says, misting words on the glass.
The Ladies rise and join her.
Gina sways. “Surely that’s not the Faye?”
“An interesting ponderance, Gina.” Elane flicks cagey, hazel eyes to her cousin. “Horse? Or Faye?”
“Finnigarian Faye are said to shapeshift into horses, you know,” Marium offers as the rider drags the horse to the stable block.
Lysbeth grins. “The Finnigar refer to Faye as Nykur, but unless Nykur prefer the stable, I believe we’ve just acquired a horse.” Spying a stable boy’s sprint towards Lindenholt’s servant’s entrance, she stays at the window as the Ladies trundle back to their seats. Soon there’s a knock at her door. “Come!”
Ani enters and walks briskly across the room. “Message for you, My Lady.”
“Thank you.” Lysbeth takes the folded parchment from her maid’s outstretched hand. Dorsit’s seal sits on the reverse. Her thumb breaks the wax—the rest of her fingers wait for Ani’s exit to unfold the note. She reads aloud:
Dearest Lady Lysbeth,
I write to assure you my efforts have been fruitful, indeed, and to warn you—most seriously—of the being’s shockingattire. Whatever qualities these creatures possess, modesty is not among them. Please accept the fine horse accompanyingthis letter as an additional token of my esteem on this historic day. You are unlikely to find its equal in power or beauty.
You may expect us before sunset,
The room absorbs the Earl’s words—further confirmation of his claims.
Lysbeth takes a deep breath to quell the gnawing in her chest. “He sounds earnest, but it simply doesn’t seem real,” she says, turning to place the letter on her writing desk. “He’s correct, though. The occasion would be historic. Are we expected to inform Sovereign Henri and the peerage? Few could call with the Kingswa—“
“Being saddled with its living expenses is enough,” Isaac interrupts. “I won’t risk its introduction to royalty until it’s proven itself civil company. Nor will I abide the expense of hosting gawking nobles until I’m certain it will be of some use to us.” He tugs his jacket sharply. “And it had better be of some use since it’s to be lain on our doorstep.”
Women on the couches exchange a meaningful glance; the woman at the desk eyes her brother. There’s an Avon adage concerning the worldviews of people: Some cats see only laps, some see only dogs, some see only water, and some seeonly mice. Isaac belongs to a fifth worldview: one that sees four ways to skin cats—pointless creatures whose lives might finally find meaning in his amusement as he collects a new coat. Having learned long ago to curate her battles with the Marquess, Lysbeth nods in his direction.
 Shapeshifting water spirits often taking the form of horses or dragons.
Available on #KindleUnlimited.
⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ is Strung’s diegetic author and illustrator. Its real-world counterpart began building the world of Strung at age 12 to disassociate from budding bisexuality and physical disabilities—and eventually traded adversity’s escapism for inspiration.
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Publication Date: 22nd February 2022
Publisher: Conceptual Chronicler of Time
Page Length: 422 Pages
Genre: Literary, Historical Science-Fantasy Romance
Twitter Handles: @RoskeChronicler @maryanneyarde
Instagram Handles: @RoskeChronicler @coffeepotbookclub
Hashtags: #HistoricalFantasy #roskechronicler #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub