Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Clearing in the Forest by Kim Love Stump!
A Clearing in the Forest
by Kim Love Stump
Genre: YA Fantasy Summary:
Princess Adriana is about to leave the Kingdom of Ayrden on the Journey of her sixteenth year. If she is ever to ascend to the throne, Adriana must go—alone and unarmed—into the unknown. She’s been trained and gifted for the journey, just like all the royals who preceded her—even the ones who never returned. Adriana leaves Ayrden on her brother’s black stallion the day after her birthday celebration, with bravery in her heart and hopes for a quick return. When three paths emerge, one of grass, one of gold, and one of gemstones, she chooses the pragmatic path of grass. Although it seems safe, and the landscape familiar, she soon finds she will have to overcome nearly impossible challenges. Ultimately, an unexpected friendship not only changes Adriana, but the very kingdom she someday hopes to rule. The question is, will the friendship turn into everlasting love?
Review:This book really surprised me. I loved the way the blurb made iit sound, but once I started reading, I was instantly transportrd to another time and place! It reads like a fairytale, and has that classic feel that makes it timeless! I loved seeing Adriana's Journey and where her path took her! My favorite paet was the end, but the difficulties she faced getting there made it all the more satisfying! Definitely a worthwhile read!
Corrigan followed, ambling by her side. “ No need for haste. You did say you learned fencing in Ayrden? Perhaps we could have a bit of sport again? I brought a pair of foils. I will try not to draw blood,” he added with a chuckle.
“ I did learn to fence. In fact, my fencing instructor was both renowned and one of my favorites. I imagine he would be quite disappointed in me if I let you draw blood,” Adriana jested.
“Ah, now that is beginning to sound like a challenge. Are you interested in another wager?”
Adriana laughed. “ I think one wager for this day is aplenty. Plus, you have me in height by a good deal, and in strength as well, no doubt. I will make every effort for a good showing, but I think it best not to wager this go-round.”
“ So you are judicious as well as courageous.”
“ Courageous to duel with me at all.”
Adriana tilted her head a bit in puzzlement, watching Corrigan withdraw two foils from the long cylinder.
“ You did say we were merely taking sport with the swords, correct? In Ayrden we practice with the foils sharpened only when we are clothed in light mail. I assumed the blades were unsharpened, nigh then impossible to draw blood with at all.”
Corrigan presented the sword, hilt first, to Adriana. “ Correct, the blades are not sharpened,” he replied. Then, as she took the sword in her hand, testing its weight, he added,
“ Only the very point is rapier-sharp and able to cut. But I am sure you will be careful. As I will be. Five touches, anywhere on the body. Ready?”
Before Adriana had time to process how she might deal withthe sharp points on the foils, Corrigan took a fencing stance and feinted toward her. With a quick motion she brought the sword up. She grinned at him when she realized he meant only to make her react and take her stance. “ Ready,” she said.
They circled each other for several seconds, Adriana watching Corrigan's body as Emaht had taught her. She was learning the subtleties of his posture and the positioning of his sword. Just before he took a first lunge, she stepped aside and flicked his back with the edge of her sword. He had given his intention away with anoticeable transfer of weight. He thrust again and Adriana parried. His height was a significant advantage, but Adriana had agility on her side. And something else now.
The touch on his back must have provoked him to anger, because his attacks grew in intensity and lost any tactical elegance, becoming brutish. Yet Adriana was able to deflect or dance away from each of them. His moves were impulsive, giving Adriana a distinct advantage. At strategic moments, she lunged or attacked and was able to strike him three more times with the edge of her sword.
Eventually Corrigan withdrew a bit. Swords raised, they circled each other, both of them flushed and winded. Focus, Adriana thought, only one more touch for the win. Then she saw it, the perfect opportunity for a lunging thrust. She made the move in one fluid motion and felt the point of her sword touch Corrigan’s chest. She withdrew the sword instantly, hoping not to have drawn blood. However, at Corrigan’s sharp intake of breath, she assumed she had not succeeded.
Adriana swept her foil in a large arc in front of her, the thin blade whistling as it sliced through the air, laid it flat against her right leg, and bent from the waist in a bow of thanks for the duel. This concluding pleasantry was part of the fencing tradition of Ayrden, serving to give the loser a chance to collect himself unseen by the bowing victor.
When Adriana righted herself, the first thing she saw was one tiny point of red blood seeping into the pristine white of Corrigan’ s shirt. The first thing she felt was the point of Corrigan’s blade at the base of her throat.
About the Author:
Kim Love Stump has loved to read and write ever since she can remember. Whether it was writing a story in
third grade called I am a Date,or curling up in her swinging chair reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, fiction inall itsforms has always been the fastest way for her totransport herself somewhere else. Now, as an author, Kim strives to transport others in that very same way. She and her husband of more than 30 years make their home in Charlotte, NC