Writing the first book of the Three Graces Trilogy was a labor of love. I really enjoyed bringing Marie of Cleves to life. In this excerpt, Marie grits her teeth and tries to make her arranged marriage to Henry, Prince de Conde work.
As soon as I entered my private apartments within the vast Louvre palace, I removed my headdress. I had wanted a few quiet moments alone, but as I entered the bedchamber, I saw that my husband was already sitting beside our bed. Since going from cousins to husband and wife, our interactions had been uncomfortable. Every new bride must take some time to adjust to married life, but I constantly felt as if my adjustment period was taking more time than most.
I was determined to work to make our marriage a success, but the truth was that my husband and I were very different people. Like my Aunt Jeanne, he had taken to the Protestant religious with relish and embraced the dour and restrained nature of the most ardent followers. As a result, his character was often dark and brooding, which made it difficult for us to connect with one another. I was determined, however, to do my duty to make our marriage work, if not for our shared for faith then for our family’s sake and to honor the memory of my Aunt Jeanne.
“I’ve just come from the Queen’s rooms; we’ve done all we can to prepare for Navarre’s arrival.”
“If he decides to come at all?”
I raised an eyebrow, “You think that he will back out his mother’s promise?”
“If he knows what’s good for him, he will. None of the Papists can be trusted to keep their word.”
I held my tongue, choosing not to remind him that my closest friend at court was a Papist. I had not desire to pick a fight that moment, exhausted as I was from the continual preparations for the upcoming wedding.
“We are expected to be at the Admiral’s house this evening to hear the Reverend Challoit.” His imperious tone grated on my nerves, and this time, I chose to say something.