To save them from the Guillotine a spell is cast, and Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France, daughter of Marie Antoinette is changed into an owl, her brother, the young dauphin, into golden stag. The old gypsy witch who repaid a blood debt by saving their lives, takes the princess’s memories and names her Velvet. For eight years Velvet exists safely wrapped in the spell. On her eighteenth year, rumors of her life reach the ears of King George III. In a bout of fearful madness, he orders the death of the French heirs. When soldiers torch their camp, Velvet and her brother, are forced to run for their lives.
Nora Hardington, a young woman, on a mission into the dangerous underbelly of London, finds Velvet wounded and dying. Risking her own life, she rescues Velvet. Together they enlist the help of the dark stranger sent to carry out the king’s command. As they search for the spell to return her brother’s humanity, Velvet lives all the sides of life she was previously denied. Her adventures are fraught with assassins, pirates, ancient enchantments, bloody battle, mythical lore, and all manner of dastardly love.
Interview questions for Velvet:
I remember silk walls and soft music; I remember the taste of soft lemon cake and the smell of thick red wine. I remember bits of my mother’s voice and her exquisite face. The spell that saved my life also took most of my memories. My most vivid memory is flying in a crisp blue sky. If I could change either of these, I would replace the grandeur my mind paints them in—with reality, it is cold and harsh—but real.
I am not incredibly proud of it, but if forced—I can bend people and situations to my will. I don’t like having that kind of control; I prefer freedom of choice—not because I don’t like the responsibility, rather because I feel it is owed to every breathing soul.
Who is your best friend, how did you meet—what is a memory with them that makes you laugh?
Nora is my best friend. We met the night she saved my life and have been inseparable ever since. I love her because she is all the things I am not and her Ying works with my Yang. One of my funniest memories happened the night we met. She told me if I died on her, she would steal my hair, because it was a dog eat dog world, and mine was prettier. Nora is a beautiful thing, always wrapped in satin and lace—I just didn’t see the threat coming—thinking about it makes me smile, it’s just very—her.
Interview questions for author:
Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France aka “Velvet”
Blonde and blue eyed. At the end of the first book her hair is dyed a bright red.
She is Marie Antoinette’s daughter, exquisite. Small and child like features. Long black lashes, full lips. Slender bone structure.
She has none, she has only been human for a few days. In the days of her human childhood, nothing left a lasting mark. She starts the book by being stabbed in the ribs, which will certainly leave a nice scar for the next book.
Having lost her parents to the French Revolution as a child, all she has left is her brother. They grew up be-spelled and living as their spirits animals, at the edge of Hampstead Heath, in the gypsy camp of the woman who saved their lives. A few days after her changing, from snow owl to human girl, their camp is attacked and her new family killed. Velvet is closest with her brother Louis the 17th. She was separated from her family at the age of ten when her mother and father were killed. She wishes for her mother often, because of the spell cast on her, Velvet’s memories are shady at best and she is thus, very disconnected from her early life as a princess. In her difficult moments Velvet imagines Marie Antoinette's face. She also misses Queeny, the woman she called grandmother. Queeny dies during the attack on the gypsy camp and Velvet deeply mourns her.
Marie-Thérèse was born at the Palace of Versailles on 19 December 1778, the first child (after eight years of her parents' marriage), and eldest daughter of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette. Her childhood was fraught with conflict, and spent her ninth and tenth years imprisoned in the Bastille. Her escape brought her to England, where she lived in hiding with a group of gypsy who became her family. An old oak tree and the skies open are her home.
Because of her circumstances, it is difficult for Velvet to go anywhere. However, she spent many years alone and has a tendency to dive into her own thoughts. When she gets a chance to storm off in the next book she will retreat to nature and things she knows. Animals, silence and life.
Her biggest fear is losing her brother. She has told this to her immediate companions, she does not want this information bandied about because it could lead to her true identity. From the start of the story Velvet is in risk of her identity being discovered.
Her secret is her brother and what happened to them both. The enchantment the gypsy woman placed on them, changed them both into their spirit animals. Velvet lived for eight years as an owl and Louis the seventeenth as a golden stag. Magic does not seem as strange to her as it does to others, having spent a majority of her life in its clutches. Her and her brother’s true identity is another factor.
Irony, animals and the loss of adrenaline.
Velvet has never been in love; at the end of the first book she has feelings for Henry, Duke of Newcastle. She wants him, but love will come. However she had lost both of her parents, most of her family and just about anyone she loves, including the gypsy woman who put the enchantment on her— Queeny
Velvet is eighteen, but is an ancient soul.
Velvet is a quandary within herself. She is simultaneously wise and naive. She understands things others do not, and because she spent so many years as an animal many simple human things are frustrating and overly complicated for her. She is very open to love and easy to hurt, complex in her emotions.
Finding the spell to change her brother back into a human. It is all she wants, to see him again. She will do just about anything for this, and plays with the fringes of morality.
Velvet fears losing her brother above anything.
People are the best and worst things that happen to Velvet during this tale. Because she was not a human for so many years we get to inspect the human physic from a different standpoint. They are trying to kill her or save her, and she gets a giant shot of the reality of humanity right at the beginning. First, years of anger and violence, then eight years of peace. Once day, she returns from the sky to find only death on the ground. She is saved by a man sent to kill her and girl who has no reason to help her, other than that she is an amazing person.
It is hard to sum Velvet up in one word, because she is such a cacophony of personalities, due to her upbringing and path her life has since taken. I would use passionate: Velvet is untamed. Honest to a fault, loves life in way most humans cannot comprehend, her view of the world is uncluttered. She is an old soul and a free spirit.