Once, many years ago, when there were more undiscovered lands than found, and dragons and unicorns were not merely creatures of myth, there was a far-off land, now long-forgotten, filled with many kings and many queens. The greatest of all the kings in this land was King Gerome of Bhellington. His enchanted castle, built of strong stones by strong honest hands, perched so high atop the hill on which it stood that wispy white clouds drifted around the peaks of its three tallest towers. Vivid flowers of every hue brightened the castle's stony visage, and trickled down the hillside to the warm homes of the hardworking villagers who lived below. The villagers' tiny, well-kept cottages scattered from the castle like colorful dots as far as the eye could see, connected by tidy little dirt roads that were carved into the lush countryside.
Oh yes -- Bhellington Castle was built as nobly as the members of the royal family who lived there. However, the most envied treasure of the Bhellington family was not the magnificent castle, or even its honored king. No -- the greatest treasure of the land was Princess Mandolyn, whose grace and charm captured the heart of the kingdom and all who knew her.
Indeed, Princess Mandolyn was quite the apple of her father's eye. Even though she was dressed and groomed as handsomely as her mother, the lovely Queen Tealina, Mandolyn's strong chin and warm hazel eyes made her look remarkably like King Gerome in female guise. Despite the striking similarity between them, however, Princess Mandolyn looked every inch a princess, and a lovely one at that. A sparkling tiara sparkled upon her gleaming gold tresses, which floated gracefully down her back to curl gently at her royal waist, encircled with velvet ropes and sashes meant to match all her fine gowns. Precious rubies and sapphires winked from her wrists and fingers, but these glistening jewels paled in comparison with her great natural beauty.
Every daydreaming girl in the kingdom wished that she could be the princess, coveting her beauty and riches, while every handsome prince in the realm wished her for his bride.
Mandolyn's Masquerade is available for purchase at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble's online store. I recommend this book for ages 10 and up, though I know younger advanced readers have been able to read it without difficulty. I believe in pushing children to read above their vocabulary and grade levels to become stronger readers, and wrote it with that goal, so there will certainly be words they don't understand and likely will need to look up, especially the "old-timey" words that are reflective of the time period. The illustrations by artist KC Bath are there for your younger readers, as this work is meant to be a "companion book", enjoyed together with parents and siblings of all ages. There's something for everyone in this fairy tale!