"This book truly captures the Sweeney’s or heartache of growing up. The elements of fantasy and imagination make this book a great read." Michelle, Goodreads
Published: November 21st, 2018
KING BEATRICE is a coming-to-age novella that’s after your heart!
Alex is a young boy interested in his experiments, his dog, family, and little else. He lives a life of seclusion until the day his dog leads him on a wild goose chase through the forest and he comes across Beatrice, a crazy girl with leaves in her hair and the fierce belief that she is a king.
After many attempts of trying to avoid Beatrice, Alex realizes he's stuck with her. As the years continue and a true friendship grows, he finds that perhaps she isn’t so bad, even if she constantly bests him in their duels. But life isn’t so simple, as the real world—a world of bullies and death and temptation—invades their make-believe, will it be too much for Beatrice? Will Alex make it to her in time?
He couldn’t get over his outburst at lunch.
Alex had been standing at his front door for forty minutes running his thumb over the length of the dog leash trying to decide whether to stay or go. Rex had been beside him the entire time, running circles around the boy and nosing the door every thirty seconds or so until he finally gave up and sat next to Alex. Poor Rex had been cooped up in the house all day and couldn’t think of anything better than a walk with Alex—well, maybe a hamburger, or catching a squirrel, or a car ride . . .
Alex had left Beatrice alone at the table after he apologized to her. She had a look of horror cemented on her face at the time, an image Alex couldn’t shake.
Sighing, he put Rex on the leash and marched out the door and to the woods.
It didn’t take Alex very long to find Beatrice. She was lying on her stomach out in the open drawing figures in the dirt and spelling out the name Lori. He was surprised when she shot straight up and ran to him with a bright grin.
But it wasn’t all joyful. There was pain behind her smile, pain that Alex couldn’t see, the same pain she felt during lunch when she had experienced more rejection in thirty minutes than she had in all her twelve years, and the pain she felt as she traced the same name in the dirt repeatedly.
Beatrice wrapped her arms around Regenald Rex and buried her face in his fur that had grown a bit since she had last seen him; not by much, but just enough for the keen Beatrice to notice.
“So,” the girl began, pulling away from Rex as she scratched behind his ears, “Mr. Holberry returns.” Beatrice removed Rex’s leash and strode ahead, feeling better with her wolf companion by her side. Rex, too, was beyond excited to be with his new friend. He loved Alex, that was as true as the sky was blue, but the new girl with curly hair was far more fun.
“It’s been quiet today.” Beatrice informed, twirling her sword at her side. “I think all the trolls and bandits are hiding.”
Alex groaned, not nearly in the mood to be Mr. Holberry today. “That’s good.” He didn’t know what to say to her, but something within Alex told him he couldn’t just let it go unsaid because she seemed so different, so stiff and forced. “Are you . . . are you okay?”
She turned and stared at him for a moment. Just when Alex thought she was going to tell him everything, Beatrice grinned. “Of course,” she almost sang, swinging her hands by her sides.
“I’m fine. You worry too much, Mr. Holberry.” Beatrice threw a stray stick which Rex stormed after. “My mom used to—”
Alex waited. “Your mom what?”
“Uh,” Beatrice shook her head, trying to get her thoughts straight, but her heart was beating so quickly and she felt on the verge of tears. “She just used to say it’s not good to, uh, to keep fretting the small stuff. It doesn’t matter. It’s fine.”
Something was most certainly wrong, the boy observed. He almost found it strange how much the incident, if he could go so far as to call it an incident, at school bothered her. “School can suck. Well, not school, but everyone else.”
“Why are we talking about school?” She whined. “I have a kingdom to run and you have to worry about keeping up with me.”
“You aren’t mad?”
Beatrice waved her hand at him and crouched down. “Look,” she pointed ahead. Alex saw a dissimulation of birds in a small clearing ahead, but Beatrice saw creatures far more menacing. She saw them standing over a fire, cackling and plotting and oozing, swinging their axes and fighting each other.
Rex was watching, too, from behind the bushes. His tail wagged as his attention jumped from bird to bird. He wanted to attack them or play with them, he hadn’t quite decided, but the girl was staying still, so he would, too.
“Goblins,” Beatrice murmured, her fingers flexing against her sword. “Look closely. They’re there.” The girl saw the annoyed look on his face. “It’s okay. Just try a little harder. You’ll see them.”
Alex glared ahead, fighting to see the goblins she saw, but no matter how hard he tried, there were only plain birds.
In an instant, Beatrice leapt from the bushes, Rex beside her and her sword glistening in the sunlight as she raised it high. The girl let out a cry and stormed into the flock.
Alex watched, at first in a mixture of horror and annoyance, and then, as the sun caught her just right, as the birds flew around her, as she spun and laughed and grinned, Alex felt almost mystified by the picturesque moment before him.
Before he knew it, Alex was beside her, chasing after the birds—the goblins—and filling the air with as much laughter as his King Beatrice.
About the author:
Evangeline was a hyper-active child and was forced outside to give her family a 5-minute break which helped water her already wild imagination. You can find her kayaking on the river in Austin, Tx, gazing at a bottle of White Zinfandel, or studying, but mostly keeping herself busy and in desperate need of a nap.