Today I’m super excited to kick off the White as Frost Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour! Not too long ago we helped Anthea Sharp show off the beautiful cover of this YA Fantasy book of hers, and I’m thrilled to present this story to you all once again. Keep scrolling to learn more about the book and author, to read an excerpt from the first chapter, and to enter to win yourself a hardcover copy of White as Frost!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature White as Frost. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
MAY 2ND – THE KICKOFF
Whispers & Wonder (@whispersandwonder)
Beneath A Thousand Skies
DEEKAY | Daily Dose of Reading
One Book More
MAY 8TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more info, visit the official tour page at Storytellers On Tour.
Two sisters. One enchanted forest. And a hidden destiny that could doom them both…
I didn’t want to come live in the castle beside the Darkwood, and I especially didn’t want to become enemies with my stepsister Neeve. But how could I help it? She has magic, while I’m an ordinary girl. She’s the heir to the throne, while I’m an annoying afterthought since my mother married the king. And Neeve has the ability to master her emotions while I’m a red-haired disaster.
She also has Thorne, the handsome guardian of the forest, who tutors her in the powers that are her heritage. Even though I know he could never be mine, I can’t keep my heart from dreaming of the impossible.
But everything changes, the day I uncover the secrets the castle has been hiding…
From USA Today bestseller Anthea Sharp comes this fantasy fairy-tale weaving elements of Snow White & Rose Red with romance, magic, and dangerous secrets that will destroy a kingdom.
ANTHEA SHARP is the USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning Feyland series – where a high-tech game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie – and the Darkwood Chronicles, a prequel series to the Darkwood Trilogy, where humans and Dark Elves inhabit a lush fantasy world full of magic and danger. She currently splits her year between sunny Southern California and the novel-inspiring forests of the Pacific Northwest.
PART ONE – CHAPTER ONE
When I was thirteen years old, I came to live in the castle beside the Darkwood.
“What a lucky girl you are,” my mother said as the velvet-lined coach jolted down the road. “Not everyone gets to live in a castle and call themselves a princess.”
I wanted neither of those things, and considered myself most unlucky to be torn away from my friends in the bright city of Parnese. They were the closest thing I had to family.
Except for Mama—but I knew better than to expect warmth and sympathy from her. She had always been my mother, of course, yet she’d never seemed terribly interested in fulfilling that role. Despite hazy memories of her affection when I was younger, it had taken me a long while to realize that most other mothers behaved very differently toward their children.
Because there’s something wrong with you.
I slammed the door shut on that insidious voice. For as long as I could remember, it had whispered in my ear—part of me, and yet separate. It encouraged me to disobey, it confirmed my deepest fears, and sometimes it seemed the truest thing in my world.
Most of the time I could ignore it, shove it back into the deepest part of my mind and pretend there was not a wicked little voice living inside me, pushing me to say and do reckless things. The journey made it harder, without my books and companions to divert me. But I did not want to disappoint Mama when I was presented to her new husband. With a sigh, I twined my fingers together.
The inexpertly sewn seam on my left glove caught against my skirts, and I glanced down at it with a grimace. All my left-handed gloves had to be modified to fit my disfigured pinky finger, which was missing the top two joints from a long-ago accident.
We hadn’t the money to hire a seamstress, and so I adapted my gloves myself. Most of the time the clumsy work didn’t bother me overmuch, but now, on the way to meet a king, I felt suddenly self-conscious about my flaw.
Stubby pinky or no, there was little I could do about my maimed finger. I pulled my gaze from my imperfect hand and stared out the window. I hoped we would arrive soon.
The encroaching branches of the evergreens lining the narrow road made the air thick and shadowed, the trees a dark wall unbroken except for the high-banked road cutting through. Every time I looked at the forest, the branches seemed to be moving—beckoning to me with their restless limbs.
“Stop squinting at the scenery, Rosaline, and pay attention,” Mama said, for the hundredth time. “When we arrive at Castle Raine, make sure to stand up straight and greet your new father properly.”
“I won’t call him Papa,” I said stubbornly.
I’d never had a father, and had no interest in acquiring one at this late stage. And even if I did, there was no use in it. If Mama did not love me enough, what hope was there that some strange king would be any different?
“Why must you be so difficult?” Mama brought a perfectly manicured hand up to her cheek and let out a sigh. “Very well. You may call him Lord Raine.”
I gave her a grudging nod. Growing up on the outskirts of the court in Parnese, I understood that protocol must be followed. Even though Mama was the old queen’s distant cousin, she was only allowed to address the dowager as “Your Highness,” which I thought rather stuffy. Then again, the rules of the adult world often seemed foolish to me.
The closer we came to the castle, the more Mama chattered on, her voice full of nervous faux-cheer.
“You must be kind to his daughter, as well. You’re of an age, so I expect you to become fast friends. Despite the tales…” She trailed off, but now my attention was caught.
“What tales?” This was the first I’d heard that anything in our new life might be out of the ordinary. Despite myself, my interest was piqued.
From the moment Mama had announced that she’d wed the King of Raine and we would be following him across the Outer Strait to dwell with him in his castle, I’d resolved to enjoy no part of it.
The sea crossing had not been so bad, though, especially when a trio of dolphins leaped and played in the sailing ship’s wake. Unlike Mama, I was not confined to the cabin by seasickness. I explored the ship, managing not to fall overboard or become tangled in the ropes scattered about the deck.
On the second day, the coast of Raine appeared, black against the horizon. I hung on the rails and watched, unwillingly eager for a first glimpse of my new home.
What I saw did not look promising. We were headed for a tiny harbor flanked by stark cliffs streaked with white. Lonely seabirds cried and wheeled in the gray, misty air. The only spot of color was a yellow coach awaiting our arrival. After debarking from the ship, we were whisked into the vehicle so quickly I only caught a glimpse of the surroundings: stone buildings, wet thatch, and dour-faced people garbed in homespun cloth.
The Kingdom of Raine was altogether unpromising—except for this new bit of information Mama had just let slip. Was there a child as wayward as myself living in the castle? I leaned forward on the plush seat and asked again.
“What tales of his daughter, Mama? Please tell me.”
My mother bit her lip, a shadow of worry crossing her face. “Promise me you won’t be afraid of her. The two of you are to be sisters, after all.”
Behind my stubborn resolve to dislike Raine and everyone in it, I could not help a glimmer of hope that the king’s daughter and I would become friends. If I must leave my companions behind, perhaps a new one waited for me in Raine. And I had no fear that Mama would come to love that other girl better than me. My mother always loved herself best of all.
“What’s so bad about the princess?” I asked. “Does she set things on fire, or misbehave, or torment the servants?”
“There are stories.” Mama looked out the window, as if she did not want to see my face as she spoke. “Some say an ancient, terrible magic lurks in her eyes.”
Magic. The one thing in the world that could transform an ordinary girl into someone special. Someone worthy of being loved. I shivered, my left pinky throbbing slightly. The trees leaned over the road, listening.
“What magic?” I asked softly. “Is there actual, true sorcery in Raine?”
The question stretched out, a thin silver strand looping around and around me until I felt encased in its web. Then it began to squeeze, and I gasped as the air left my lungs.
“Mama!” I cried, though it came out more as a wheeze. “I can’t breathe.”
Her eyes wide with alarm, my mother shrieked at the driver to stop the coach. Dizzily, I slid off the seat and crumpled to the floor. From this vantage point, my cheek resting on the rough carpet, I absently noticed its pattern: an interlocking design of green and black ferns.
“Help her,” Mama commanded when the coachman opened the door. “My daughter has fainted.”
I wanted to argue that this was far more than a simple faint, but I couldn’t find the breath to form words.
“Yes, mistress,” the man said. “We must bring her outside, where there’s more air.”
He hoisted me up like a sack of onions and deposited me on the embankment beside the road. Which was also carpeted with ferns, though these ones danced faintly in the breeze.
It occurred to me, in a distant, drowning way, that I was dying. I was sorry that I’d never see my friends again. And I was sorry that I would never meet the mysterious girl who lived in Castle Raine.
Enter to win a hardcover copy of White as Frost by Anthea Sharp! One copy is looking to find its forever home.
International • Ends 5/9
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official White as Frost tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/04/07/tour-schedule-white-as-frost-by-anthea-frost/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!