Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the Conceal, Don’t Feel blog tour!! I’m so excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today! Read on to find out more about the book and the author, follow the rest of the tour, and enter a giveaway for a print copy of Conceal, Don’t Feel!
Conceal, Don't Feel by Jen Calonita
Series: Twisted Tales #7
Published on October 1, 2019 by Disney-Hyperion
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
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What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?When a magical accident erases Anna and Elsa's memories not only of magic, but of each other the sisters are separated for protection. But when Elsa unexpectedly finds herself as a young queen mysterious magic begins to happen and questions of her past start to form. Will the sisters ever be reunited?
“Presenting Princess Elsa of Arendelle!” Elsa stepped out of the shadow of her parents and into the sun. Her people were waiting, welcoming her presence in the village square with thunderous applause. There must have been hundreds of subjects gathered, young and old, waving flags with the royal family crest, throwing flowers, and cheering. Children sat high on their fathers’ shoulders, some people stood atop carriages, and others leaned out nearby windows. Everyone wanted to get a better look at the princess. Her parents were used to interacting with their kingdom, but at eighteen, she had only recently been invited to join them on official outings.
Truth be told, she still preferred to live life in the shadows, but duty called.
“Welcome, Princess Elsa!” the people shouted. Elsa and her parents were standing on a raised platform that had been constructed for the event. It overlooked the large courtyard outside the castle gates, giving her a good vantage point, but it also made her feel as if she was on display. That was probably the point. “Look! It’s Arendelle’s princess,” she heard a mother tell her small daughter. “Isn’t she beautiful? Offer her your gift.”
The little girl was standing in front of the stage holding a bouquet of purple heather, which was Elsa’s favorite flower. Every time she reached up to hand the bouquet to Elsa, she was knocked back by the crowd. Elsa looked to her mother for guidance. The queen gave a small nod, and Elsa descended the steps, holding the bottom of her pale blue dress, which she had paired with a matching fitted jacket for the occasion. She and her mother shared similar light eyes, but she looked more like her papa with her light hair, which she usually wore in a braided bun at the nape of her neck. “Thank you for the lovely flowers,” Elsa told the child, graciously accepting the bouquet before stepping back up onto the platform to speak to the crowd. Her father had been teaching her the unique power of presenting to a large group.
“We are pleased you could all join us this afternoon as Axel Ludenburg unveils the sculpture of the royal family he has so graciously gifted our kingdom,” she began. The people applauded. “One note before the unveiling: as Mr. Ludenburg has spent years working on this piece, I suspect I will look much younger molded in bronze than I do standing before you today.”
The crowd chuckled and Elsa glanced back at her father proudly. That line had been her idea. He gave her an encouraging smile.
“His contribution to this kingdom is paramount.” Elsa smiled at the sculptor. “And now, without further ado, I would like to introduce Mr. Ludenburg.” Elsa moved aside to allow the older gentleman to join them.
“Thank you, Princess.” Mr. Ludenburg bowed to her, his white beard almost touching his knees; then he turned to the crowd. “I am thankful to King Agnarr, Queen Iduna, and our fair princess, Elsa, for allowing me to create a sculpture in their honor. It is my hope that this piece will greet every guest who journeys from villages near and far to visit Arendelle’s castle and stand inside its gates.” He looked to his assistant, who dashed forward, untied the rope around the sheet concealing the sculpture where it stood in the middle of a fountain, and pulled it off. “May I present the royal family of Arendelle!”
There was a loud gasp from the crowd, followed by rapt applause.
It was the first time the king, the queen, and Elsa had seen the completed sculpture. Elsa remembered sitting for Mr. Ludenburg’s sketches when she was around eleven, but she’d almost forgotten he’d been working on it until recently, when her father told her she’d be the one to speak at the royal engagement for its unveiling.
“It’s beautiful,” Elsa told Mr. Ludenburg. And she meant it. Seeing the bronze sculpture was like looking at a moment frozen in time. Mr. Ludenburg had molded the royal family perfectly. The youthful king looked regal in his crown and robe as he stood next to the beautiful queen in her tiara and fine dress. Nestled between them was their only child, Princess Elsa of Arendelle, who looked much younger than her eighteen years.
Seeing the image of her eleven-year-old self flooded Elsa with emotion. Life in the castle had been lonely for her as an only child. Her parents were busy with kingdom affairs, and while she had numerous studies, she still spent a lot of time roaming the empty rooms, watching the hours tick by. Of course, her parents had found her playmates in their stewards’ and noblemen’s children, but it wasn’t the same as having a sibling to grow up with and confide in. This was a weight she kept to herself, never wanting to burden her parents with her feelings. Her mother had been unable to have more children after Elsa.
“Isn’t the sculpture of us lovely, Mama?” Elsa asked.
Her mother was standing quietly beside her. Elsa watched her blue eyes take in every inch of the bronze statue before she gave a deep, almost inaudible, sigh. When she glanced at Elsa, her eyes seemed sad. “It truly is,” she said, squeezing her daughter’s hand. “It’s a lovely portrait of our family and who we are. Isn’t it?” she added to the king.
For such a joyous occasion, her parents seemed slightly melancholy. Was it that the statue reflected a time when they were much younger? Were they sad to think how quickly time had passed? Her father was always talking about the day when she would take the throne, even though he was still a vibrant king. Elsa wondered what made them sad, but she kept her thoughts to herself. It wasn’t her place to question her parents in public.
“Yes, it is quite the honor,” Papa replied, and looked at Elsa. He seemed to want to say something more but held his tongue. “You should thank our subjects for coming, Elsa,” he said finally. “We’re hosting a dinner in Mr. Ludenburg’s honor back at the castle, so we must return and get ready to greet all our guests.”
“Yes, Papa,” Elsa said, and did as she was told.
It’s no secret how Jen Calonita knows the inside scoop on Hollywood. A former entertainment editor at a teen magazine, Jen started out her career chronicling backstage life at concerts with Justin Timberlake and interviewing Zac Efron on film sets. It was her work in the entertainment world that inspired her first series, Secrets of My Hollywood Life. The six-book series about a teen starlet named Kaitlin Burke who grew weary of the fame game, but loved being an actress was published in nine countries. Jen’s other young adult novels include Sleepaway Girls and Summer State of Mind (since she was a camp counselor as a teen), Reality Check and Belles, which is about two polar opposite girls who share one life-altering secret. Her latest young adult book, Turn It Up, is about a girls’ high school acapella group.
In her first middle grade series, Fairy Tale Reform School, readers explore a school run by Cinderella’s formerly wicked stepmother. The series (Flunked, Charmed, Tricked, Switched, and Wished) are told from spunky young former thief, Gillian Cobbler. In Jen’s companion series, Royal Academy Rebels, which is set in the same kingdom as FTRS, readers follow young princess Devin, an animal whisperer, as she navigates her mysterious new school run by the most famous fairy godmother of all time. Misfits is out now with book two, Outlaws, due fall 2019.
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