Kingdom of Ice

Princess Khione craves her vain and heartless mother’s love. After her beloved father dies, she despairs at ever finding love and happiness again. The only comfort she finds is in her nursemaid and her nursemaid’s daughter. Years later, Khione’s jealous mother orchestrates an event that nearly ends her life. Forced to flee into the Forsaken Forest, the home of the Fae, Khione finds something she could have never imagined.

Banished from the lands of Turia, Agnes and Gerda try to start a new life in the nearby Kingdom of Agraunia. They share a small garret room with Agnes’s widowed mother, Matilda. There, Gerda befriends her neighbour’s son, Kai, who is an apprentice to a Blacksmith. Their close friendship eventually blossoms into love. Their short-lived happiness comes to a halt with Kai’s cold, distance demeanour. After he disappears after being seen with a strange woman in white, rumours persist that he is dead. Only Gerda knows he is still alive. The place he touched deepest in her heart makes it hard for her to accept any other truth but her instincts scream at her that he is in danger. With no one willing to help, Gerda sets out alone to rescue him, unaware of the dangers outside of her sheltered life as the nursemaid’s daughter.


Kingdom of Ice, book 1 of A Dark Faerie Tale, is a blended retelling of Snow White, the Snow Queen and other fairy tales, with action/adventure and a magical touch of romance.


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Read a short sample below

It was mid-winter in Turia, and large flakes of snow had fallen to the ground, covering the earth with a glistening blanket of white. Queen Eleanor sat on a window seat looking out at the wintry scene before her. The well-thumbed book in her hand had remained on the same page for the last half hour. Bright orange flames of a roaring fire crackled in the fireplace. Eleanor’s cheeks flushed, as she felt far too warm and wished for a walk outside to take in some fresh air. She left the window seat and requested her lady-in-waiting to bring her cloak.

 “Your Majesty, it is freezing outside, would it not be better to sit on the far side of the room away from the fire?” she suggested.

Eleanor did not agree. “Hurry and fetch it as the heat in this chamber stifles me. The cool air will revive me. My nausea has now passed, so you have no need to be concerned for me.” Her rose-pink lips curled into a warm smile and her grey eyes twinkled with humour. “Would you rather I fetch it myself?”

“Certainly not,” said her lady-in-waiting, who hurried to bring the cloak. The queen had a kind and compassionate nature. She proved this to her subjects with her charity to the poor and needy and treating her servants with respect. All loved and respected her in return. With her husband King Eldwin, she ruled the kingdom of Turia with wisdom and justice.

 Her lady-in-waiting returned with a blue velvet cloak lined with black silk. She placed it around Eleanor’s shoulders and closed its silver fastener, and then both made their way along the stone-flagged corridors to the garden. Ruhan Castle had beautiful gardens, and Eleanor spent many hours there. Colourful shrubs and flowers of every kind adorned the garden’s borders. They walked along the snow-cleared path towards the scented herb garden, which served a culinary and medicinal purpose. Although many of the herbs lay dormant throughout the winter, a few herbs prevailed: rosemary, thyme and mint. Eleanor stooped down and picked a few green sprigs of each. Gently crushing them in the palm of her hand, she inhaled their sweet, earthy fragrance. Instructing her lady-in-waiting to leave her until she called for her, she headed towards her favourite part of the gardens: the rose garden.

A hardy bush of blood-red roses still bloomed within the bare garden. She brushed away the sprinkling of crystallised snow from the crimson petals with her fingers and inhaled the heady fragrance of the largest of the blooms. In doing so, she pricked her forefinger on a rose thorn. Three drops of ruby-red blood fell from her finger onto the white covered ground below. She gazed at the stark contrast of the red blood against the white of the snow. She then ran her hands along her swollen stomach and smiled as her thoughts turned to the infant she carried: I wish to have a daughter whose skin will be as fair as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as a raven’s wings

This child had been a long time in coming. Eleanor’s pregnancy had not been an easy one. The King worried about her health and surrounded her with physicians and servants. She loved her husband but felt overwhelmed by so much fuss and attention and often took refuge in her beloved rose garden.

The intensity of the breeze that wafted around the garden increased. Eleanor felt icy-cold and pulled the hood of her cloak over her ebony-black hair. Suddenly, the breeze turned into a fierce gust of wind and Eleanor started as she felt a sharp, stabbing sensation in her chest. She doubled over and cried out in pain. When she straightened, her blissful mood had vanished, only to be replaced with feelings of anger and hostility. The warmth in her eyes faded and an unfamiliar rage rose within her as she tore at the rose blooms. She plucked them from the bush and crushed them in her hands. As the petals crumbled, she threw the remains onto the ground. To her the roses were imperfect and their scent repulsed her.

A very different Queen Eleanor returned to the castle that day.

©Paula M. Hunter 

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