Rosaline, daughter of the indomitable Bluebeard, finds herself thrust into a quest certainly designed with her death in mind. But she’s no fool, she’s taking her own heading, right into the woods. And we all know what they say about those…SY
‘Here,’ she says, ‘have an apple.’
Yeah, right. As if I know nothing about stepmothers. As if I know nothing about apples. But I’m polite and I’m not stupid, so I put the green orb in my bag, and thank her.
‘Now, don’t forget: you’ll need to be careful and cunning. You’ll need your wits about you. It’s hidden deep, the treasure, and there will be all kinds of obstacles.’ Hands on hips, Orienne surveys me critically. ‘It’s a long journey, but you’ve got the most fat on you of all of us. You’ll be fine; the exercise will do you good. Don’t forget that apple, Rosaline; no cakes or pastries.’
As if I’m likely to forget that bloody apple; I know what she’s done to it. Trust her to manage a dig at my weight—I come from a long line of women who eat their grief, but my father’s fifth wife is of thin stock. Busy, busy, busy all the time, bustling and fidgeting, organising and ordering, burning away everything she eats, hating anyone to be idle; she’s got the energy of a hummingbird and a heart that softens for her own child alone. Gods forbid anyone should spend an afternoon sitting on their arse, reading a good book.