Okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale. We all grew up hearing the stories of the prince who comes and rescues the beautiful princess from the evil queen. Now that I'm older, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm still attracted to those kind of stories. And that's why I absolutely loved Nora Roberts' "Once Upon A Rose". She, along with authors Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman weave four enchanting tales of wicked queens, handsome princes and magical creatures.
The first story, "Winter Rose" is written by Nora Roberts. It's the tale of Prince Kylar of Myrdon who wonders into a mythical land cursed with eternal winter. The prince has been injured in battle and is on the brink of death when he is rescued by Deidre, Queen of the Isle of Winter, who because of the curse cannot love. Kylar falls in love with Deidre and vows to find a way to break the curse.
The second story, "The Rose and the Sword" by Jill Gregory revolves around Brittany, the long lost princess of Palladrin, thought to have been murdered along with her family by Darius, the evil wizard. Hidden by a kind wizard and by Queen Elysia, Brittany has grown up knowing nothing of her family and that she is the rightful heir to Palladrin. Two days before her 20th birthday, Queen Elysia tells Brittany, really Britta, that a spell was cast when she was a child to protect her from Darius. The spell though, only lasts until her 20th birthday and that after then Darius will be able to see her and will try to kill her. To prevent this, Brittany must seek out and marry her betrothed Prince Lucius of Marric, who holds the Jeweled Sword. She also has to find the Rose Scepter. Together, the Jeweled Sword and the Rose Scepter can defeat Darius and reunite the kingdom of Palladrin.
The third story, "The Rose of Glenross" is by Ruth Ryan Langan It's set in war-torn Ballycrue, Scotland. Duncan McKay, a warrior has just saved Alexa MacCallum from the same fate as her family when he is wounded. When he wakes, he's in the care of kind nuns of the Abbey of Glenross. Also there Alexa, the young woman he saved. She speaks to no-one and tends to the rose gardens day in and day out. The only "person" she ever speaks to is Lady Anne, the ghost who haunts the Abbey waiting for her true love to return to her. Can Duncan heal Alexa's wounds as well as his own. And will Lady Anne's love ever return? I'm not telling. :)
The fourth and final story in the book is my favorite. "The Fairest Rose" by Marianne Willman begins with the fair Deidre, nine months pregnant awaiting the arrival of her love, Prince Gilmore of Airan, recently victorious in battle and appointed new King of Airan. Deidre knows that when he returns her and Gilmore will marry and will become a family. On his return though, Deidre discovers that a spell's been cast on him to forget her by his new wife, Queen Bryn. Deidre has been cursed by Bryn as well and gives birth to a girl, Rosaleen, before she dies. To protect the child from Queen Bryn, Deidre asks Elva, the village wisewoman, to cast a spell on Rosaleen so that those who would do her harm forget her. The spell can only be broken by her true love. As it so happens, years later, Tor,a warrior of royal blood, travels to Airan in hopes of winning the hand of the King's daughter, Prince Camaris as well as half of the King's land. The only way he can do this is to bring back the egg of the legendary Phoenix. And the only person who can help him is young Rosaleen, who is madly in love with him.
I thouroughly enjoyed this novel and would suggest it to anyone who loves a good fairy tale or love story in general.