The Tears of the Rose
The Twelve Kingdoms
Paperback: 336 pages
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir;the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition;and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.
Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs—and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…
Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn—or a queen?
When I started my Twelve Kingdoms books, I knew I wanted them to be about the three princesses of fairytale lore. You know the ones, each more beautiful than the last. I’d always wondered about the middle princess, the one who always got glossed over in the stories, the step between the eldest and the youngest-and-most-beautiful.
So I started there, with my middle princess, who is the heroine of the first book, THE MARK OF THE TALA. All along, however, I knew I’d have to write about the youngest princess next. That’s Amelia – or Ami – heroine of THE TEARS OF THE ROSE.
In the fairytales, the youngest and most beautiful princess is always the one who triumphs. She does not repeat the mistakes of her elder sisters. Usually it’s because she’s so much more virtuous. She is the one who rescues animals and feeds the wandering crone. The stories tie her physical beauty to internal beauty – a very old trope for female characters.
Unfortunately, that’s also a trope that creates very flat female characters. Ones who exist primarily to be rescued and serve as trophies for the heroes.
I’ve also always been fascinated by what it might be like to born very beautiful. My stepdaughter is a beautiful young woman and was an extraordinarily lovely child. The sort where people would stop us on the street to praise her beauty. Early on I developed the habit of responding, “yes, and she’s very smart, too.” I worried that she’d grow up thinking all her appreciable value as a person lay in her physical appearance.
There are other factors at play, too. We all know the youngest tends to be spoiled – forever the baby of the family. For my princess, in particular, whose mother died when she was born, her sisters tried to make that up to her by indulging her. Ami isn’t a bad person, by any stretch. I stayed true to the trope that far, by keeping her as a sensitive, warm and loving person. But she is young and spoiled. No one has ever expected much of her, except that she continue to be decorative.
Suffice to say, pretty Ami grows up quite a bit in TEARS. She has to learn to look inside herself, for the real person behind the much-praised face. Often in tales about beautiful women, the storyteller feels it necessary to strip the heroine of her beauty, for her to learn to be something besides that. I thought Ami had it in her to change on her own.
And I think she does it admirably.
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.
September 14 Spotlight (review later)