About the Book
by Katie Ward
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Release Date: September 2018
In rural France, two babies are born just two hours apart but to two very different lives. Isabella is born as a Princess into a life of opulence and love while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father.
‘The Pretender’ follows the journey of Isabella and Sophia as their paths cross and after discovering how alike they look, they decide to switch places with each other. Sophia is seeking sanctuary from her abusive home while Isabella is seeking freedom from the tightening burden of her Royal title.
‘The Pretender’ is a story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.
Add to Goodreads
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Read an Excerpt from Chapter 11
Red-hot droplets rain down on my skin from the shower, the discomfort strangely therapeutic to my troubled mind. What is it that I'm feeling right now . . . Is it anger? Is it sadness? Or is it fear?
No, it's not anger. I conjure up the image of Isabella in my mind and I don't blame her; this was her only shot at freedom and so I completely understand why she didn’t return. And it’s not sadness, no, not at all.
It's fear that is coursing through my body, making me tremble from within because now the stakes have risen in a way I was never prepared for. With the help of Baptiste I've managed to fool Isabella’s closest family members - but under the intense scrutiny of the public eye and all those cameras and journalists, will the cracks be magnified to the point where the truth is undeniable? Just one mistake, one wrong word, could bring this precarious house of cards collapsing down around us, revealing me as an imposter – a pretend princess - but also plunging Isabella into the greatest danger she's ever faced.
This isn't a game anymore, and the repercussions could be catastrophic.
Stepping out of the shower, I see that my skin is bright red as I pull the huge soft towel tight around my body before walking into the bedroom.
‘What on earth took you so long?’ Alix says from my armchair, looking out of the window into the gardens.
‘You need to get a move on. Frederick’s here and he’s waiting to see you.’
Unaware there was anyone else in the room, I recoil with fright.
‘Sorry, Isabella, I didn't mean to scare you but Mama was so insistent that I come and get you, and you know what she’s like.’
Still tense from the fright, I snap, ‘Oh, for goodness sake, is there really such a rush? He'll be here for a whole week and he's managed however long without my company. Will another fifteen minutes really hurt him?’
Alix fixes me with a puzzled expression. ’Isabella, what on earth has got into you? When do we ever leave our state guests waiting? Mama told you last week, so you were supposed to be ready. Plus, you might find you're not disappointed when you do.’ She gives a sly grin.
I start to put on my make-up before dressing. ‘What do you mean by that?’
‘I'm not saying another word. Just get yourself ready and then you can see for yourself.’
My hands tremble as I try to pick out an outfit before finishing my make-up in a way that still looks casual.
‘How do I look?’ I turn to Alix, waiting for her seal of approval.
‘No way! What - are you going to the market? No, you're going to meet the Prince of Switzerland, and it's an official engagement. He isn't here for croissants, coffee and a girly chit chat.’
Alix disappears into the dressing room and returns with a smart green dress that falls just below the knee. It’s a lot more formal then I would normally wear but still quite nice . . . the thick material belies that it’s designer. I’ve never worn a designer outfit in my life.
I select a pair of patent black high heels to set it off - and I'm finally ready to meet the Prince. As I get closer to the State Room my nerves give way to excitement. The Prince of Switzerland! But this is Isabella’s childhood friend so I can’t afford to get this wrong.
‘Are you ready, Isabella?’ I see Alix smile understandingly as she leans in to give me a gentle hug.
‘No, I’m terrified - but here goes nothing.’ The doors fly open and, holding my head high, I walk into the room towards Mama and Daddy and the handful of guests assembled around them.
‘Isabella, you remember King Theodor II, Queen Katharina IV and of course Prince Frederick who needs no introduction obviously.’ My father smiles broadly at Mama.
I curtsy, say a polite hello to the King and Queen, then feel the weight of all eyes upon me as I turn to greet Prince Frederick. Gently clasping his hand, I feel a surge of electricity. Time stands still as I look into his large blue eyes; silently I trace his handsome but kind face with my eyes. His blond hair sets off his blue eyes perfectly as he stands in a navy suit and crisp white shirt, appearing more businessman than prince.
‘How have you been, Isabella? It's so nice to see you again’.
‘I've been very well, thank you, Frederick,’ I say stiffly. ‘I hope everything has been well with you?’ I see him smile and watch as it turns into a broad grin.
‘Yes, I too have been very well, thank you, Isabella . . . but I must confess that I've really been looking forward to seeing you again.’
I feel my cheeks flush before giving a nervous smile. He's obviously taken with Isabella and I must make sure that I don't let myself get caught up in the romance of this situation. I'm not Isabella and the compliments and affection that he gives me belong to her.
‘I must confess the same too, Frederick. I'm really looking forward to our engagement - I mean, our joint royal engagement in Paris,’ I stutter.
‘We're so pleased to hear that,’ King Henri says with a twinkle in his eye. ‘You're both heirs to your respective thrones so it's great for you to do this together.’
‘I completely agree, Henri,’ nods King Theodor. ‘Much better than the stuffy way we had to learn - but the monarchy was a totally different beast back in those days. It’s all so modern now.’
About the Author
The Pretender is her first Young Adult novel.
Twitter - @KatieWWriter
FB - @KatieWWriter
Instagram - @KatieWWriter