A duty-bound knight has taken on the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England.
A costume designer gets her chance to shine by showcasing her fairy- tale designs at an upscale party in an authentic medieval castle.
And the magic that whispers along the castle's hallways is about to orchestrate an improbable happily-ever-after.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Seattle, Washington: Present Day
It wasn’t often that a girl had the chance to get lost in a fairy tale.
Persephone Josephine Alexander wasn’t one to find herself in those sorts of straits, but she was hardly in a position at pres¬ent to do anything about it. She was captive in the darkened wings of a venerable Seattle theater, watching something unde¬niably magical unfold in front of her. The handsome prince, ac¬companied by a breathtaking set of strings, was vocally waxing rhapsodic about the charms of the appallingly lovely girl across the stage, while that girl was accompanying his waxing with her own musical commentary about his perfections. It wasn’t long before the pair fell into each other’s arms as if they’d been born for just that moment, their voices mingling in perfect har¬mony, soaring above the orchestra and leaving very few dry eyes in the audience.
Pippa was sure of that because she’d peeked out into that audience—after she’d dragged her sleeve across her own eyes, of course. Damned dust allergies kicking up at the most inop¬portune moments.
She got hold of herself, then turned back to her purely aca¬demic study of the love story going on in front of her. She had to admit, grudgingly, that it looked as real as anything she’d everseen anywhere—or at least it did until the handsome prince stepped on the back of his soon-to-be princess’s dress and tore it half off.
Pippa came back to earth abruptly at the two glares she found thrown her way as the prince and his lady attempted to dance as if nothing had happened. Fortunately there were no further mishaps before the couple managed to get themselves off stage for the last costume change.
“Lovely designs, Pippa,” the princess said shortly as she ran off the stage. “Too bad you couldn’t have sewn them better. I imagine Frank agrees.”
“Pippa didn’t design them,” Frank whispered sharply, “and given what I’ve seen tonight, it was a mistake to let her sew them.”
Pippa didn’t bother to respond to that. She had indeed de¬signed all the costumes, as well as having sewn most of them, but she was standing on the brink of a truly remarkable piece of good fortune, and she didn’t want to jinx it by arguing the point with a successful show’s director on closing night.
Though it was really tempting to take the pair of dressmak¬er’s shears she had stuck in the back of her belt and cut off Frank’s ponytail while he was otherwise engaged in sucking up to his leads and belittling the little people. Fortunately for his dignity, she found herself suddenly too busy repairing tears and replacing sequins to do any trimming.
By the time she had gotten all the costumes put away for someone lower than she on the food chain to worry about clean¬ing in the morning, she had given up the idea of revenge. Petty theater directors and grumpy actors were in her past. Her future was a sparkling green city in the not-so-distant distance and there was nothing standing between them but a no-nonsense flight to England. She got herself home through a damp and rather foggy Seattle night, then settled happily into her favorite pair of flannel pajamas before going in search of a decent post-production snack.
Half an hour later, she pulled her last cinnamon-sugar Pop-Tart from the toaster, then frowned at the smell. Something was burning, and it wasn’t what she was holding in her hand. She leaned forward and sniffed her toaster. No, not there, either.
She followed her nose to her front door, then opened it and looked out into the hallway. Gaspard, her neighbor, flung openhis door, shrieking curses in French as he jerked off his chef’s hat, threw it on the floor, and stomped out the flames. He looked at her.
It took her a moment to reconcile herself to the fact that flames were licking his doorframe, which meant he was obvi¬ously not just capable of dispensing advice on how to make a killer Bolognese sauce but could also run a mean escape opera¬tion. She watched the smoke begin to billow for a moment or two before she realized that she was about to become as crispy as the pastry she was holding in her hand.
She dashed back into her apartment, tossed her future into a suitcase, then bolted for the stairs.
Several hours later, she stood on a the edge of tree-root-ravaged bit of sidewalk, pushed back the hair that was curling frantically around her face and dripping down the back of her now-soggy pajamas, and decided that there was only one expla¬nation for the swirling events she’d been plunked down into.
Karma was out to get her.
She was a big believer in Karma. A girl couldn’t grow up as the child of flower children and not have a healthy respect for that sort of thing—and for tie-dye as well, but those were probably memories better left for another time when she had peace for thinking and some mini chocolate muffins to ease the pain.
She rubbed the spot between her eyes that had almost ceased to pound, then looked around for somewhere to sit. Her sturdy, vintage suitcase was there next to her, looking imminently capable of standing up under the strain, so she sat and was grateful for the recent departure of fire engines and Dumpster delivery trucks. She rested her elbows on her knees, her chin on her fists, and gave herself over to the pondering of the twists and turns of her life.
She also kept a weather eye out for that rather large and clunky other shoe she was fairly sure was going to be dropped onto her head at any moment. One couldn’t have the sort of spectacular good fortune she was about to wallow in without some sort of equal and opposite cosmic reaction. And to keep herself from breaking into the kind of jubilant rejoicing she was sure Karma took note of, she reviewed the path that had led her to her current enviable spot on a suitcase out in the rain.
It had begun, she supposed, when Susie Chapman’s mother had given her a Barbie and a lunch sack full of fabric scraps for her seventh birthday. A world of possibilities had opened up for her, a realm that included plaids and paisleys, stripes and polka dots, all made from fabrics that weren’t made from hemp and were probably anything but organic. Her parents would have rent their tie-dyed caftans if they’d seen any of it, but Pippa had avoided detection by keeping her contraband doll and those glorious mass-dyed fabrics hidden cunningly in a couple of Birkenstock boxes.
She had continued her illicit evening-gown-making activi¬ties even after she and her siblings had been dumped by her überflaky parents on the doorstep of an aunt who had sprung, fully formed, from the pages of a Dickens novel. Pippa had in public sneered at romance, fairy tales, and designing clothes for dolls who savored both, but in the privacy of her little gar¬ret room she had sewn magical things from the best her lunch money could buy. She had gone on to major in art and cos¬tume design in college, then spent the ensuing four years slav¬ing away over seams for others to wear in their own fairy tales acted out on stage.
And while designing for shows had been good practice, her burning and up-until-now secret desire had been to have her own line of clothing. In spite of her own avoidance of the like in her personal life, she dreamed of creating modern things with a hint of medieval romance and fairy-tale magic for others, things with little touches that only those looking for them would see. She wanted the women who wore her clothes to feel like the heroines of their own fairy tales, beautiful and beloved.
She paused. It was entirely possible she had some unresolved issues concerning romance, knights in shining armor, and her time at Aunt Edna’s.
She made a mental note to consider therapy later—after she’d eluded Karma’s steely eye and leaped at the chance she’d been recently offered to make her dreams come true.
Her sister Tess, who owned an honest-to-goodness English castle and made her living by hosting parties for all sorts of people with money and imagination, had shown some of Pippa’s designs to one of her clients. The man had looked at the kids’ costumes, then spontaneously uttered the magic words.
I say, your sister Pippa doesn’t design for adults, does she? I’m looking for a new place to invest a bit of money.
Pippa had immediately begun fiendishly working on things to expand her collection, wondering all the while if there might be something bigger at work in her life than simply her wish¬ing for it. She certainly didn’t believe in magic, pixie dust, or any of the romantic drivel her older sister Peaches read on what seemed to be an alarmingly regular basis. She most certainly didn’t believe in the fairy tales put on by any of the theaters she’d sewn for.
But in this, she couldn’t deny that there was something, well, unusual at work.
“Pippa, what in the world happened?”
She looked up at that aforementioned over-romanced sis¬ter Peaches, who had suddenly materialized next to her on the sidewalk.
“Gaspard had his flambé get a little too friendly with his natural fibers, apparently,” she said with a sigh. “What are you doing here so early?”
“It’s not early. It’s almost nine. And I’m here because I thought that since you were leaving tonight, you might need help packing.”
Pippa supposed Peaches would have thought that. Her sister made a living by acting as a life coach, plucking people one by one out of a sea of bills, undeclared intentions, and old pizza boxes to send them off into a new life of organizational calm. Their parents were almost proud of her, though they would have preferred her credentials in feng shui be a bit more solid.
“It’s all finished,” Pippa said, patting her suitcase and hop¬ing Peaches wouldn’t want to check her work. “Costumes for the kids’ party, my passport, and some granola. And my backup thumb drive with all the new designs I scanned for ease in dis¬play. I was sort of in a rush and left everything else behind.”
Peaches glanced at the smoldering ruins of Pippa’s building. “I imagine you were. And I suppose you can replace what you lost.”
Pippa nodded, though she couldn’t exactly agree. She’d spent years collecting one of a kind vintage fabrics and trims. In fact, she could have started her own store with what she had stacked on shelves in her apartment, or hidden cunningly under her bed and skirted end tables. There had been a few times—all right, there had been more than a few times—when she had simply sat there and stared for a few minutes—all right, it might have been for an hour or two at a shot—at the stacks and stacks of fabric she possessed, all full of possibilities, all waiting for her to take them and make them into something more than they had been before—
“I mean, it’s not as if you don’t have money in the bank,” Peaches continued relentlessly, “or renter’s insurance, or all your valuables tucked safely away in a safe-deposit box like I’ve been advising you to do for the past year.”
“I don’t have any valuables.”
Peaches studied her in a way that made Pippa feel as if her sister really did know that she hid money in her mattress and family heirlooms in hot chocolate cans.
“But the insurance, Pippa,” Peaches prodded. “You did take care of that, didn’t you?”
“I have an appointment with the insurance guy,” Pippa said, trying not to sound defensive. “At noon today, so yes, I did take care of that. And I did have savings, but I took it all and bought an embroidery machine last week. And a nicer serger. And a few bolts of velvet and silk.” She paused. “Maybe a few sequins.”
“How many sequins?”
Pippa waved her hand toward the wreckage she couldn’t bring herself to look at any longer. “I think they would be the enormous swath of multihued sparkles you see up there where the second floor used to be.”
“That’s a lot of sequins.” She took a deep, calming breath. “At least you have your scooter. It could be worse.”
Pippa pointed over her shoulder to where the Dumpster had been dumped earlier that morning. A wheel and part of a fender stuck out from below the container.
Peaches looked, paused, then laughed a bit. “You’ve had quite a morning.”
“Tell me about it.”
“At least you have your trip to look forward to.” Peaches nudged her over a bit to join her on her suitcase. “Tell me more about this guy who wants to look at your designs. He could be the reason for all this cosmic attention you’re getting.”
Pippa was happy to talk about something else besides the stench of incinerated fabric she could still smell lingering in the air. “I don’t know anything about him except that he’s nobility and he has really deep pockets.”
“He’s the son of an earl, I think, and runs in Tess’s academic circles. And he has deep pockets.”
“You already said that.”
“His deep pockets are very attractive to my ultimate plan of fashion world domination.”
Peaches laughed. “I’m glad to see you haven’t lost your focus.”
“Mr. Nobility might front me some dough for more sequins, and Karma is probably done with me,” Pippa said with a shrug. She ignored the little niggling doubt at the back of her mind that said Karma was nowhere close to being finished with her. “You’re taking me to the airport tonight, and I have enough money in the bank to buy more underwear. What else can go wrong?”
“You can open your big mouth, that’s what can go wrong,” Peaches said quickly. “Don’t tempt Fate.”
“Nah,” Pippa said confidently, “I think the worst is over. Af¬ter all, bad things come in threes and my quota is full.”
“My little disorganized friend, good things come in threes. I don’t think bad luck is constrained by the same rules.”
“Ridiculous,” Pippa scoffed, finding it in herself to rally a bit. She stood and wrapped an emergency blanket around her¬self because she was cold, not because she was unnerved. “You can go along with all that woo-woo business we were weaned on, but I’m not buying it.”
Pippa shook her head sharply. “Look, Peach, Karma’s done her bit with me this week. In the past eight hours I have lost, in no particular order, my apartment, my life’s savings, my inven¬tory of irreplaceable fabric and salvaged trims, my means of making a living, and my purple Vespa. I’m in the clear.”
Peaches only zipped her lips, locked them, and threw away the key.
Pippa put her shoulders back and stood tall. Her destiny was not controlled by some cosmic, unreasonable force. She was in charge. Hadn’t she just the night before looked life in its steely eye, clutched her Pop-Tart like a sword, and announced as much?
Approximately thirty seconds before she’d smelled the smoke, but surely the two were unrelated.
“Oh, no,” Peaches said, standing up so quickly, she knocked Pippa’s suitcase over. “Not this.”
“What?” Pippa asked, leaning over to right her suitcase.
“I told you there was no limit,” Peaches said pointedly. “Number Four’s on its way. I’m not sticking around to see what Number Five’s going to be.”
Pippa looked over her shoulder, then found herself assailed by a sudden desire to collapse. Fortunately, her suitcase was still there, sturdy and dependable. She sat down heavily.
“This doesn’t count.”
“Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better.”
Pippa watched gloomily as the ultimate hippie-mobile came up the way. It was a tie-dyed Winnebago, powered by solar panels and used french-fry oil, with a faint cloud of cannabis hovering overhead and Grateful Dead stickers plastered all over the back.
“What are the parental units doing here?” she asked uneasily.
“Maybe they came to visit before you took off for yon blessed isle,” Peaches offered. “Maybe they’re going to insist they be the ones to take you to the airport, in style no less. You might manage to get them to stop by the mall, unless Mom has some hemp underwear hiding in a drawer you could have.”
Pippa shuddered and stood up. “I’m not about to go looking in her drawers. I don’t want to know what else is hiding there.”
Peaches slung her arm around Pippa’s shoulders. “How is it with parents like these we turned out to be so normal?”
“Don’t ask,” Pippa said darkly. That was the last thing she wanted to think about. She’d spent her entire life fighting against her parents’ lifestyle, and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.
She paused. That wasn’t exactly true. She had, at fourteen, been sprung for a couple of months from Aunt Edna’s Gloomy Victorian Boardinghouse to go with her parents to England. She’d loved the place so much, she’d happily spent her time brewing herbal tea and creating Renaissance-inspired tofu de¬lights to sell at all the reenactment gatherings they could find. One place she had fallen particularly in love with had been a castle on the northern coast. Artane, she thought its name might have been. She had been standing near that castle early one morning, when she could have sworn she’d seen—
Well, never mind what she’d thought she’d seen. She’d been fourteen at the time, an age particularly prone to vivid imagina¬tion. Gorgeous guys in chainmail just didn’t pop up out of the mist, even in England. She’d been taking the whole reenact¬ment thing too seriously, eaten too much refined sugar, and her mind had played tricks on her.
Never mind that she’d gone back to that exact spot every morning for the week they’d been there, hoping beyond hope to catch another glimpse—
She took a deep breath and rubbed her hands over her face. She was losing it. Maybe it was smoke inhalation, or the off-gassing of too many sequins. What she remembered most about that summer was that even though she’d done a very brisk busi¬ness in medieval and Renaissance faire food, her parents had grown tired of her and dumped her with her aunt again so they could go back to doing their own thing. She had gone back to her usual habit of denying the existence of anything magical, wearing it even through college like a badge of honor.
And if she made cone-shaped headgear with sweeping net¬ting cascading down behind them, or crowns of flowers with streamers placed just so, or low-waisted gowns with slight trains, it was strictly business. She had never indulged in any more romantic imaginings about the women who might have worn them and the medieval knights in shining armor who might have loved them. No sir. And she had definitely never indulged in any speculation about the more fantastical and magical items she made for fairies and their ilk. She was a steely-eyed, determined businesswoman sitting on a suitcase full of samples. The chance to impress an investor with her reasonably priced, impossibly charming line of little-girl fairy clothing and further impress him with an equal number of very subtle, medieval-inspired grown-up things had been an oppor¬tunity she hadn’t dared turn down.
Maybe having her life burn to the ground in front of her hadbeen a blessing in disguise. She had no choice but to go forward and put all her eggs in an English basket.
The Winnebago circled the block three times until it found a place to weigh anchor. It took a moment or two, but the door finally opened and belched out its occupants. Pippa pushed her hair back out of her face and braced herself for the onslaught.
First came her mother in a multicolored muumuu that set off her long, henna-dyed hair to perfection. She looked a little dazed, but since that was her usual condition, Pippa didn’t think anything of it. Her father came stumbling down the stairs next in acid-washed jeans and a ratty Grateful Dead T-shirt, and a dozen strands of Mardi Gras beads hung around his neck. The cowboy hat he was wearing was iffy, but it was probably made of hemp so she gave him a pass.
They both came to a screeching halt and stared at the ruins of Pippa’s apartment. They couldn’t seem to drag themselves away from the sight, but then again, they were probably being dazzled by the sequins.
Her mother held out a tin of something toward her husband. He fumbled inside it, pulled something out, and ate it, still gap¬ing at the ruin in front of him.
“Those look like brownies,” Pippa murmured.
“Just don’t ask what’s in them,” Peaches muttered in return.
Pippa managed a smile. “You know, even though I don’t have the warmest of feelings for them, I’m not sure I’d count them as karmic retribution.”
“I don’t think it was the parents you needed to look out for.”
Peaches pointed back toward the motor home.
Pippa looked at the doorway, then felt her mouth fall open.
A foot had appeared in view, a foot wearing a shoe that had to have had at least a five-inch heel. A calf followed the foot, followed by more of a leg that went on forever. And then, as if the possessor of those incredible legs was eternally trapped in a Bob Fosse musical, the rest of the body appeared with a slinki¬ness that had left an endless trail of males in various stages of swoon for as long as Pippa could remember.
Cinderella Alexander, the bane of Pippa’s existence.
Cindi glided over in her best beauty-queen walk, then stopped and looked at Pippa from a face so perfect, it made Pippa’s teeth ache.
“I hear there’s going to be a party.”
Pippa retrieved her jaw from where it had fallen yet again to her chest. “What?” she asked, pretending to wiggle her ear to hopefully dislodge whatever it was that prevented her from hearing properly.
“In England. A party.”
“Ah,” Pippa began.
“And that fairies are involved.”
Pippa looked at Peaches, who only lifted an eyebrow know¬ingly. No help there. Pippa turned back to Cindi.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, lying without a moment’s hesitation or guilt. “Hadn’t heard a thing.”
“You’ll need a queen. I’ve decided to come along and be that for you.”
Pippa would have sat back down on her suitcase, but that would have drawn attention to it and perhaps led Cindi to be¬come more acquainted with her wares than necessary. Pippa settled for not hitting Peaches when she began to pinch her arm, hard. The pain kept her from either swooning or bursting into tears—if she’d been the sort to do either, which she most defi¬nitely was not.
She was left with no choice but to admit the truth of it. She’d been cocky. She had stared Karma right in the face and dared her to do her worst. The platinum blonde bimbo unconsciously preening in front of her was proof enough that Karma did not like to be messed with.
Pippa knew she had every reason to hate her older sister. Cindi hadn’t had to work her way up through her chosen em¬ployment as professional beauty queen; she’d pretty much started at the top. And once she’d realized Pippa could sew, she’d had her sewing at all hours, continually preparing for ball after ball where the prince always noticed Cindi, always pro¬posed, and always went away dazzled and disappointed. Pippa never even got to meet the evening’s leftovers. She was too busy slaving away over the next gala’s gown, which of course had to be more elaborate than the last.
She could have lived with that if the indignities had ended there, but they hadn’t. Every time Pippa thought she might have a meeting with someone useful, Cindi would somehow catchwind of it, then arrive in all her glory and walk off with all eyes on her, leaving Pippa to metaphorically slink along behind her, carrying her train.
She had gone to ridiculous lengths to ensure that this time Cindi would have no idea what was up. She’d sworn Tess to se¬crecy, made Peaches pinky swear she wouldn’t tell, and threat¬ened her other two sisters with grievous bodily harm if they breathed a word. She couldn’t imagine how Cindi had found out.
Obviously, Karma had been busy.
“Where are your things?” Cindi asked imperiously.
Pippa eased in front of her suitcase protectively. “I have them packed away safely.”
“Not that it matters,” Cindi said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’m bringing my own designs.”
Pippa blinked. “What?”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Cindi purred. “I’ve been working on a line of fairy-tale fashions. I had lunch with David Jacoby last month and he mocked them up for me.” She frowned, a perfectly elegant creasing of her equally elegant brow. “Did I forget to tell you?”
Pippa could only gape. Words were beyond her. The Jacoby studio was so far above where she’d ever hoped to even attempt a submission of her portfolio, she could hardly wrap what was left of her smoke-fogged brain around the thought.
“He shipped them to England for me last week. I imagine Tess has them now.” Cindi reached out and patted Pippa on the cheek. “I just thought that since you’d been working so hard, I would take some of the pressure off you. You’ll be bringing along your little costumes, though, won’t you, darling?”
“They’re so sweet. I can hardly wait to dress up the girls and lead them around the castle.” Cindi frowned suddenly, then looked slightly unsettled, if that was possible for a woman for whom everything in life clicked into place with a perfection that was truly appalling. “Oh, I’d forgotten about the castle. Tess said it was drenched in things I might not like.” She looked at Pippa narrowly. “She mentioned drama.”
Pippa didn’t dare look at Peaches. The drama the castle was drenched in would increase exponentially when Cindi arrived, but there was no sense in saying as much.
“Do you know anything about that?” Cindi asked suspiciously.
“Oh, I don’t think it’s drama you have to worry about,” Peaches said without hesitation. “Tess was probably trying to give you a subtle warning that what her castle is really drenched in is ghosts and rumors of mayhem in times past.”
Cindi took a step backward, looking now definitely unset¬tled. “Ghosts?”
“And mayhem,” Peaches repeated. “And other things that go bump in the night.”
If there was one thing Cinderella Alexander couldn’t stand, it was things that went bump in the night. The creaking wood in Aunt Edna’s Victorian House of Warped and Hand-Scrubbed Boards had just about done her in. Pippa knew that because she had hopped up and down on the floorboards next to Cindi’s door more often than necessary on her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, just to hear her sister shriek.
She suspected Karma had definitely taken note of that.
Cindi took another step back, then turned abruptly. “Dad looks like he’s been sniffing too much of something. I’d better go rescue him.”
Pippa watched her sister slink off, her perfect legs that went easily up to her ears carrying her away as if she’d been a black widow—perhaps a rather more nervous than usual black widow—reaching out to cover ground between her and supper in the most expedient way.
Peaches put her arm around Pippa’s shoulders. “I tried to get rid of her for you, but I don’t think she was terrified enough to cancel her trip.”
“I appreciate the effort,” Pippa said, trying to sound cheer¬ful, “but don’t worry. After all, how much trouble can she pos¬sibly cause?”
“I don’t think you really want the answer to that,” Peaches said with a half laugh, “so I won’t give it. Let me go see if there’s anything edible in the parents’ fridge. You sit there and rest. I think you’re going to need it.”
Pippa agreed, so she sat and attempted a smile because she was, after all, going to England. Surely nothing else untoward was going to happen to her.
Then she realized what Cindi had said.
“Hey, Peaches,” she said before her sister got too far away. “What was Cindi talking about?”
Peaches turned around. “What do you mean?”
“I mean about the castle. Cindi said there was drama and you said there were ghosts.” She laughed dismissively, because she wasn’t at all unnerved by creaking floorboards or other things of a more paranormal nature. “I mean, really. You weren’t seri¬ous, were you?”
Peaches smiled. “Well, Tess did say her castle has some strange things going on. She might have mentioned ghosts. And stuff.”
Pippa felt her mouth fall open. “Get out.”
“That’s probably what Tess tells the ghosts all the time,” Peaches said. “And there is a rumor about murder and mayhem, but I’m not sure if that applies to former inhabitants or if Tess knew ahead of time that Cindi was coming along for the ride.”
“You’re not funny,” Pippa said darkly.
Peaches laughed. “I imagine you’ll know much more about it in the end than I will. You’re not afraid of ghosts, are you?”
“I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“Famous last words.”
“Peaches, you’ve been reading too many novels,” Pippa said with a snort. “Let’s just leave paranormal happenings safely tucked in your romances, where they belong. I’ll stick with stuff that’s firmly grounded in reality—”
“Like fairy-tale clothing geared to leaving women thinking they’ve stepped back in time hundreds of years?” Peaches in¬terrupted dryly. “Yeah, you’re a realist, all right. Come on, Miss Cynic. Maybe Mom went completely off the rails and bought sugary breakfast items for you.”
Pippa couldn’t imagine she would be so lucky, but she picked up her suitcase anyway and followed her sister over to the mo¬tor home with as much spring in her step as she could manage. Never mind that she had no apartment, no transportation, no underwear. She had a suitcase full of impossibly adorable fairy costumes, people across the deep blue sea who would appreci¬ate them, and probably a sturdy castle guardroom she could lock Cindi in for the duration of their stay.
But ghosts? Ridiculous. Tess’s castle was just a pile of old rocks that had acquired a few, well, quirks along the way: drafts, crumbling mortar, the odd bird nesting in an out-of-the- way spot. Nothing unusual, nothing spooky, nothing to worry about, just smooth sailing from now on. After all, she’d gotten all her rotten luck out of the way that morning. What else could possibly go wrong?
She decided it was probably better not to know.
She took one last look at the disaster behind her, then put her head down and marched off to find breakfast before she had to face the fact that she suspected her adventures in the unexpected had just begun.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1229 Montgomery de Piaget who believed in fairy tales could use a happy ending with his current assignment. The knight needs to repair a fixer upper Artane castle before the walls fall around his ears. Seattle, Washington theater costume designer Pippa Alexander is in England creating costumes for a gala when she and her sister Cinderella fall through a time portal that tales them to 1229 Artane Castle. Montgomery believes the siblings are fairies and asks them to use their powers to help fix the dilapidated pile of rocks he calls home. A drugged Cinderella insists she is the Fairy Queen while Pippa tries to get Montgomery to understand they are humans from almost eight centuries in the future. Montgomery still thinks she is the miraculous answer to his prayers as his claim on the castle is at best tentative, but his claim on her heart permanent regardless if he needs all the time in the world to prove it to his Pippa. The latest time traveling de Piaget romance (see Till There was You and Dreams of Stardust) is a terrific entry as Artane is definitely a fixer upper. Fast-paced and filled with humor, fans will enjoy the awesome adventures of the twenty-first century Washingtonian fairy sisters in the crazy world of de Piaget family medieval England. Harriet Klausner
The heroin in this story is way to whimpy for me. All she wants to do is cry,cry, cry... I got tired of the "tears in her eyes". Not a strong enough heroin for me..
Anyone familiar with Lynn Kurland's tales of time travel and ghostly occurrences will be glad to know that Montgomery de Piaget's story is a tale well-told. It has all the elements: a heroine plopped back in time, a hero not sure the stories of fairies he knew as a child aren't true, and enemies enough to prove the valour of any medevial knight. However, it is not the story to take as an introduction to this world. It takes too much for granted that the reader knows what has gone on before.
I have read all of Kurland time travel stories. I kinda got away from it but when I saw this on my Nook shopping list I had to try it. I really enjoyed the way she makes her Hero's so romantic. I promise if you decide to read this you won't be sorry.
This book is by far one of my personal favorites by Lynn Kurland. It's full of magic,laughter, heroism, knightly virtues, unconditional love, and a fair amount of stubborness from said knight. Each character is created to perfection. You truly feel like you personally are in the story, expereincing it for yourself. This is an experience that every romance reader must have.
Montgomery de Piaget attracts responsibilities like blossoms lure bees. Where other knights have bonny brides, laughing children, and noble quests, he has the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. A bit of magic might aid him—if only he still believed in that sort of thing. When Pippa Alexander is invited to England to provide costumes for an upscale party, she jumps at the chance to showcase her own line of fairy-tale inspired designs. Not even her older sister’s decision to act as Fairy Queen crushes Pippa’s hope that this time, she’ll wind up wearing the glass slippers. Not that she believes in fairy tales, or magic that whispers along the hallways of an honest-to-goodness medieval castle… But the castle is full of more than cobwebs, and danger lurks in unexpected places. And only time will tell if Montgomery and Pippa can overcome both to find their own happily every after . . . Persephone Josephine Alexander comes from a very present-day "granola" family. Nicknamed Pippa and determined to dominate the world through her fairy-tale fashion; she loses not only her apartment, but also her collection of rare fabrics and expensive sewing machines due to a fire at the beginning of our tale. Her bad karma changes when she gets the opportunity to display her whimsical costumes and show off her portfolio at her sister's newly opened castle in England. One thing leads to another and suddenly Pippa, along with her psychotic older sister Cindi, find themselves within Sedgwick Castle in the year 1241. Besides being her sister's servant, dismissing fairy beliefs and missing hot showers after falling into the castle's cess pool (twice!), Pippa's discovered she has growing feelings for the Lord of the castle, Montgomery de Piaget. He seems to know more about her "time" situation then he lets on, but he's also the only one who helps Pippa adapt to her new home. When their worlds suddenly flip, both characters question which is best: following their hearts or following their dreams? This was a cute read. Sadly, I'm not sure if it was the story itself or outside entities disrupting my reading process, but I found One Enchanted Evening lagged a bit. It went on a lot more into certain areas that I had no interest in going and that fact had me reading the book a lot longer than normal since I just could not seem to keep up with it for long periods of time. The quirkiness of the sisters and parents was odd to me when it was to be comical and I felt Pippa adjusted too quickly to her time-travel problem than would seem normal, but overall, it's a fun (and clean) historical read to keep by the bed at night. Likes: I enjoyed flashing back and forth through time within the same places and seeing the changes over the years, be it structure wise within the castles or noticing who within the de Piaget family we'd run into next. Dislikes: I kept hoping for some hot-steamy scenes to pop up and get me really engrossed into the story, but no . . . only some kissing and nothing more. I think I need a little bit more "romantic involvement" between the characters to keep my stories spicy and interesting.
I only have one complaint and it's a weird one. I thought it went on too long. I know! The only reason that I feel this way is that it had several points where it felt like the story could end but then it kept going. I loved the story, I just wish it was a little tighter.
Lynn Kurland has done it again! I loved this book so much! I was waiting impatiently for Mile's story and I was not disappointed at all. If you like this series then you will enjoy this book.
A new twist on her time travel series. A lot of the characters from earlier books are there to help out the hero and heroine to figure out the twist and turn of fate. I love her writing style and her books are great for a rainy afternoon in your favorite chair with a box of your favorite chocolate and a warm drink. I always look forward to her next book being released and have her whole series.
One Enchanted Evening was an enchanting romp with Montgomery & Pippa. I was soo happy that he finally got his OWN adventure and was let in on the family's secret of "Paranormal Oddities" and a "faery" of his own. It was great how she included some of the characters from some of the other novels and see what is happening in their lives now. I can't wait to see who she has dreamed up for Tess, or Peaches even. An what has become of a few characters who have become missing. This book is perfect story for the time travel/romance lovers like me. It has touches of humor, with witty oneliners, a compelling story you wont want to put down. Thank you Lynn for another great one!!!!
The characters are very well suited. Very romantic and I am looking forward to the teasers placed throughout the book!
Not sure how I have missed Lynn Kurland, but sure am glad I found her. This is one of the best Cinderella/Prince Charming/Knight in Shining Armor books I have read. Add to it the fact that it has a paranormal theme throughout and this one cannot miss. I would definitely recommend and am thankful to the early review program for bringing Miss Kurkand to my attention. Can't wait to get more of her books..
Another excellent entry into her De Piaget/McLeod family books. She manages to write consistently wonderful time travel books without them all sounding alike. I love seeing characters from previous (and future) books. And I adore the interactions between the characters - the way they insult each other, and yet back each other up is terrific. I can't wait for the next book.
I love time travel books and I enjoyed One Enchanted Evening. This is the first book I've read by Lynn Kurland. Although One Enchanted Evening is book 11 in a series; it can be read as a stand alone. However, I felt that I was missing something due to the characters appearing who were in the other books. I liked the "fixer-up" castle and the main characters. This is wonderful escapist fare and I recommend it. Now I will find the first book in this series and read it. I am hooked.
I thouroughly enjoyed this book. It's wonderful "time travel" story with plenty of intrigue. I felt the heroin Pippa had just the right balance spunk and sensitvity. Motgomrey the right balance of strenth and honor. Although I admit most of the books I enjoy are a little more risque and I wouldn't have minded if the chracters had actually consummated thier relationship within the confines of the book in general it worked for me.
Lynn Kurland is one of the very top names in time travel romance, and her work is always a treat to read.What I liked the most: Solid plot, Lynn Kurland's beautiful writing style, likeable and intelligent characters, and the feel of the obvious love that grows between the hero and heroine. This is a sweet read, so I can share it with my mother and know it won't embarrass her to read it. Revisiting characters from previous books in the series. I especially like the way time travel is handled in this series, and the fact that characters are able to pass from one time to another with relative ease. What I didn't like so much: I know I said this was a positive point (and it really is) but it's a sweet read, so there are no bedroom scenes at all -- nothing beyond passionate kisses. I already knew to expect this from Lynn Kurland, but my own personal taste is for a lot more heat. Also, I know Pippa's sister, Cinderella, was supposed to be an annoying character, but she was kind of over the top for my taste and she didn't really seem to serve much purpose in the book beyond being a huge annoyance. I started to dislike Pippa for being such an easy target for her. I really didn't understand why she let Cindi walk all over her time & again. Overall, there was a lot to like in this book, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys time travel and sweet romances.I received a free copy of this book as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing.com in exchange for an honest review.
Persephone, aka Pippa, is on her way to England to begin her total Fashion World Domination plan. A wealthy Englishman is interested in helping her with her design business, and her sister Tess has set up a meeting for the two. But like always, Pippa's oldest sister Cindi comes in to ruin the day, trying to keep Pippa from reaching her dream with a series of "mishaps" - one of which is "accidentally" shoving Pippa... right through a gate in time, and back to the 1200s. Lucky for her, the owner of the ramshackle castle, Montgomery, is there to catch her as she falls. Filled with evil sisters, amusing banter, battles between Montgomery and the castle's former owners, and a love that literally spans the ages, "One Enchanted Evening" is not a book you want to miss!This is my first book by Lynn Kurland. But if this book is anything to go by, I will be needing to read the rest of this series, featuring more of Montgomery's amazing family. I should mention there there are indeed other books, and for the most part, "One Enchanted Evening" seems to be able to stand alone. Near the end, when Montgomery meets more of his family in both time zones, things can definitely get a little confusing. In the beginning, I found this book to be a little dry, but once Pippa lands in England, it's one thrill ride after the next. And beware, it's addicting. Pippa and Montgomery are amazing characters. Pippa is resiliant, bright, and willing to work hard for her family and for her dreams. She's an excellent seamstress, and she has worked and planned for years to finally get the chance that Stephen, the Englishman, is offering her. Unfortunately, things get a little sidetracked when she gets thrown back into the past. Even more unfortunately, Cindi falls back in time too. While Pippa is such a shining character, Cindi is the evil wench. Cindi is the character readers will love to hate, and eagerly want to throttle. You have to hand it to the author, she wrote an excellent evil character, even if said character can get on your nerves. Montgomery had moments of modern-ness to him, but that can be explained by the odd-ness of his family and their history (and future). Montgomery was by far my favorite - witty, wise, and brave. Despite the turmoil occuring in his own home, he put Pippa, and even Cindi's life above his own. As mentioned, the ending can get a little confusing, once different relations start showing up - it's just too many people at once. But don't let that stop you, the ending is worth it. I hope to see this series continued, and Pippa's sisters, or at least the good ones - Peaches and Tess, get their own happily ever afters. I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of historical romance, and definitely time travel romance. I would probably recommend the whole series, despite not reading it - though now it's all added to my Wish list. Lynn Kurland knows how to weave a fantastic tale of adventure in both the past and present, and I cannot wait to see more from her. I'm going to give "One Enchanted Evening" by Lynn Kurland a FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE (4.5/5). Loved it, can't wait to read more, and I want a Montgomery of my very own.. actually, if I could get a time gate of my own, that would be great. And a castle. This would be a perfect 5 out of 5 except for the confusion at the end, which would probably be avoided by reading the rest of the series first. But as I said, this can, and does pretty well, stand alone. See this review and more at my blog glowsnoveladdiction.blogspot.com
This was a pleasant time travel romance that is part of a large series but stands alone well. Pippa Alexander is a down-on-her-luck fashion designer who travels to England to meet someone who wants to back her. She slips through a time gate along with her sister Cinderella and finds herself in the year 1214. At first she and her sister are mistaken for fairies. Pippa falls in love with the lord of the castle which is in serious disrepair and inhabited by various villains. Montgomery has had experience with other time travelers before but doesn't tell her. They fall in love and the main conflict is which century they are going to live in.
Montgomery finally has a story! I have to admit I am a HUGE Lynn Kurland fan (I have every one of her books) and I have been counting down the days until One Enchanted Evening was available.I fell in love with Montgomery when he was a teenager in When I Fall In Love and he was firmly convinced that Jennifer was from Faery. Well, Montgomery has finally put all of that behind him, working hard to live up to the reputation of his father and older brothers (and it is alot to live up to).Montgomery is given Sedgwick Castle by his father, a suspcious gift at best as it has holes in the walls and ceilings, guardsmen who are less than stellar and cousins who refuse to leave and are plotting Montgomery¿s demise. But, it is Montgomery¿s to call home so as he moves in to repair the walls and work on the relatives he is shocked when a fairy, wings included, appears on his drawbridge.Persephone, known as Pippa, figures karma owes her after her apartment burns down with all her carefully collected vintage clothing and sewing machines in it. Pippa is showcasing her designs at a children¿s party hosted at her sister Tessa¿s English castle in a final attempt to get her clothing design career to take off. On the night of the party, as Pippa is wearing her faery costume, she crosses the bridge of the castle and finds herself in the moat of a very different looking castle.Montgomery is everything a knight should be: honorable, chivalrous, and not afraid to kick some serious trash when needed. Pippa is a devoted sister who is a closet HEA fan (Happily Ever After). As Pippa struggles to adjust to 1229 living, she starts to realize there are definite perks to staying with Montgomery. Montgomery doesn¿t feel like he has anything to offer a woman from his time period, let alone someone from the future. As each struggles to deal with their growing feelings for each other a threat from within the castle threatens their very lives and makes each evaluate exactly what they want in life.I enjoyed One Enchanted Evening, it felt a lot like coming home because I have become so familiar with Montgomery¿s family and time period. Nothing shocking or super unique about this novel as compared to her other stories but it was great to visit old friends and to see Montgomery his own love. Did anyone else get the feeling that John is going to be the next one to get a story? I highly recommend anything by Lynn Kurland!
Like her other time travel books, the story is light, the hero handsome and characters from previous novels abound. But the heroine of this tale, Pippa, is practically spineless, accepting abuse from her sister on a scale that no one else with 5 siblings would contemplate, which makes it difficult to care about what happens to Pippa. This is not my favorite Kurland title, but it does help continue storylines started her in previous novels.
One Enchanted Evening gave me one enchanted day...and I can't wait to read it again. Lynn Kurland never disappoints. She made me laugh, hold my breath, and cheer with teary eyes...perfection.
Lynn Kurland excels at writing romance novels and time travel romance novels. I am not a big fan of the time travel trope or of the middle ages, but while Lynn Kurland is writing on both of these topics, I will be an avid reader. She excels at making the characters so likable and vivid that you buy into the rest of her world, whether it be a world with time travel or the middle ages.This is an interesting take on the evil sister tales - but the heroine being "too nice" to stand up for herself is a bit tiresome. I do not like that so many romance novels equate being a doormat to being a good person. It simply doesn't make any sense to idealize weakness. That said, the heroine does learn to live and grow in such a positive way, that you like her in spite of this. The hero of this novel is as likable as all of Kurland's heroes - strong, capable, curious, and quite funny.I recommend any and all Kurland titles, including this one. While I normally like a book where there are sex scenes, Kurland's books are not about sex at all - she has the bedroom door FIRMLY closed. That does mean that you can feel comfortable loaning or recommending this book to most anyone and that is always nice.
I loved reading Montgomery and Pippas's story. Such adventures.