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The Grove of Thorismud

I have rewritten Briars and Black Hellebore into a more twisted love story, less sweet than savory. The Grove of Thorismud is complete, composed of 40% Briars material, now fermented and spiced. I received feedback from four beta readers and one editor, sharpened the emotional drama, cleaned out 6,000 unnecessary words, and submitted The Grove to one agent upon request.

The Grove of Thorismud takes place in a small forest kingdom of Central Europe in the 10th and 11th centuries. Two cursed dynasties inspired by the ancient stories of "Sleeping Beauty" and "Beauty and the Beast" are rescued during the same spring, and the two heroes--an aspiring knight from a nearby farm and a nomadic wolf huntress--claim their own prophesied right to rule Vepres.

Johann marries "Sleeping Beauty," the former Princess Rosemary, and Bellynda marries the transformed "Beast King" Gustav.

Bellynda easily takes the throne as reigning queen, but as a gift to her tenderhearted husband, King Gustav, she gives the post of bishop to Johann, who is Gustav's only known blood relative. Johann accepts the post, but he and many others in Vepres begin to plot against the new queen.

As the bishop's wife, Rosemary cannot obey the virtues of a good woman, even in her sleep. Despite her excessive desires for Bishop Johann, she fails to become pregnant, and she embarrasses her new husband with her weak eyesight and fragile health. When Johann prepares to go on a journey to see his family, Rosemary wants nothing more than to travel for the first time in her life and prove her worth to her in-laws. But Johann drugs her and leaves her behind for the entire summer.

Rosemary takes solace in an intimate friendship with Queen Bellynda, trying to find meaning in her new life as a peacemaker, keeping Bishop Johann and Queen Bellynda from harming each other using their mutual love for her. But Johann's abusive control over Rosemary escalates and thwarts her attempts to serve anyone but himself.

King Gustav adores his new wife, Bellynda, and suffers in his marriage for a different reason: Bellynda is already pregnant, and her culture mandates sexual abstinence during pregnancy. Gustav suspects that his wife pretends to be zealous about this rule because she is not physically attracted to him. While Bellynda and her people work with Bishop Johann to rebuild the kingdom, Gustav begins to feel vestigial.

Bellynda notices an attraction between Gustav and Rosemary, and she proposes that Rosemary leave Johann and enter into the royal marriage as her own sister-wife. Gustav and Rosemary both resist, clinging to their hopes for peace in the kingdom and romantic solutions to their respective marital troubles.

But the people of both households collude in complicated alliances and betrayals, challenging each other's core beliefs and loyalties.

The Grove of Thorismud is an upmarket light fantasy of 119,000 words. I have plans for a sequel and a story about the next generation.

I am currently seeking agent representation.

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