by Shonna Slayton
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?
When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.
If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.
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“They’re ridiculous,” he said scornfully as the couple in front of them touched hands for a few moments before separating again.
Briar’s heart cracked a little more. She remained silent, but fingered the fancy comb holding up her hair. The comb that Wheeler had given her for Christmas. And now they’re going to our pond. Is there no other place he can take her?
“You can hold my hand if it would make you feel better,” Henry said. He held out his calloused, grease-laden fingers for her to grab. His hand had grown since the last time he’d offered it to her.
She sighed. Henry. He was there when her family moved into the valley and would likely still be there when they moved out. She was told there’d never been a time when Sunrise Valley didn’t have a Henry Prince in it. From son back to father to grandfather and beyond, and none of them had ever gone anywhere. They were known as a reclusive family, hardly leaving their farm. Except for Henry. He was different.
Briar’s family had only been in the valley since Pansy was born. They were supposed to be traveling through, but then Da got a job at the new factory and they stayed. Mam worked, too, but developed the coughing sickness from all the cotton in her lungs. She died when the twin boys were born, and then when Da died of consumption, the Jenny children were stuck there, like weeds that nobody wanted.
Briar didn’t intend for them to stay any longer in Sunrise Valley than they had to. She would find a way out for her sister and brothers. Back to the Old Country like Mam wanted for them. Back to where they would fit in. And Henry Prince was not that way.
He wiggled his eyebrows at her.
Unguarded, she laughed. This particular Henry Prince was also known for being an audacious flirt.
She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.
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