I just finished reading Maria Tatham’s THE QUEEN AND THE HANDYMAN, and I just had to share it with my followers. The opening lines in the prologue quickly captured my attention, and I was drawn into the story. The writing style and the fantasy genre were reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ classic Chronicles of Narnia. However, Maria had her own tale to tell, and it was captivating.
The dialogue between the characters quickly transported me into the seventeenth century, while the descriptions created vivid visualizations in my mind’s eye. The main characters, the queen and her handyman were both believable and endearing. What made them so appealing to me was their humanity. The main characters were Christians, but though they were both hero and heroine, they weren’t without flaws, which made it easy to relate to them. Another quality that I loved is that the lines between good and evil were clearly definable, while still making room for God’s mercy and grace.
When I finished reading this novel, I found myself looking forward to more. My prayer is that this would be the first in a series of novels. Beloved friends, I encourage you all to check out Maria’s website to find out more about her novel, and to read some of her blog posts. Some of my favorites are the fairy tales that she has revisited and given them a whole new tale to tell.
Many blessings to all of you and thanks for checking this out. You won’t be disappointed.
You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side. Daily Prompt: Just a Dream
As I walk along with him, I’m enthralled by all of the glorious colors. There are hues and shades that I’ve never seen or even dreamed of before. The grass is so lush and rich, like a brilliant green gem, almost glowing in its beauty. It’s like a lovely green luxuriant carpet, and though there is a sign forbidding me to walk on the grass, I must confess that I’m sorely tempted to do just that. It just looks so lovely, so inviting.
Oh! And just beyond the gentle curve ahead is a water brook such as none I’ve ever seen before. Its water fairly sings as it rushes by over perfectly smooth and rounded pebbles. I’ve never heard water sing before. And it’s so clear, so transparent that I can see all the way to the bottom of it. I can see the multicolored myriad of fish that swim beneath its surface, while it continues to sing, beckoning me…
“Come hither, my friend
And you will receive More money to spend
Than you can perceive”
In awe, I watched as the kaleidescope of fish changed into silver and gold and precious jewels. Dazzled, I stretched my hand towards the water, only to have him quickly reach out and smack it. In ire, I looked back at him, tense and ready to fight him, but he just shook his head at me, whispering direly,
“Stay on the path
Touch nothing,” he said,
“Lest you feel the wrath
And then lose your head.”
I looked at this mysterious man, with wonder. “Curious,” I thought for perhaps the millionth time. “Everything and everyone here just gets curiouser and curiouser.”
“Look,” he resumed,
“We came here as two…
If parted, you’re doomed,
So what I say, you must do!”
“Then come with me,” I replied, while he shook his head. “I want to explore, for never have I seen such loveliness.” But there he just stood, firmly shaking his head.
“The Wicked Queen lives here,”
He said in a rush.
“And she is very near,
Beware! Or your body she’ll crush.”
“She won’t rest till you’re dead.
And her army she’ll loose.
She’ll cry, ‘Off with her head,’
You’ll suffer abuse!”
Still, the water and the grass they beckoned to me, and then I saw the flowers! A glorious, beautiful abundance of purples and blues and reds, yellows and greens. And the smell that wafted from them was like none I’d ever smelled before, so fragrant and lovely, and as their leaves and their petals rustled, I heard them sweetly whisper…
“Come closer and sniff,
And gather a cluster
Breathe deeply and whiff
Come enjoy our great luster.”
I couldn’t help myself! They were so lovely, and they called me… Without saying a word, I turned from my worrisome friend and ran on the grass towards those splendid blossoms. Suddenly, the brilliance of the sunlight was gone, and as the sky turned a dark and fearsome gray, the luxurious jade of the grass became brown and dead, while the flora instantly withered and died. I watched in fear and foreboding, as the once clear waters of the water brook turned murky and dark, and the waters churned and boiled. As though in a cauldron, the waters began to rise quickly and dangerously.
Suddenly, my mysterious friend grabbed my hand saying,
“Oh no! Now you’ve done it!
The Queen’s armies will come
Let’s go lickety-split!
Please! Quickly! Let’s run!”
And then I heard it, a most horrible sound… it sounded like thunder as the Queen’s armies came forth, and above all the thunder, I heard a shrill, terrible scream, “Off with her head! Off with her head!”
My heart pounded crazily, as my friend and I ran, faster and faster, we had to escape. We came to a maze – round and round, in and out we ran, with the Queen’s armies on our heels. We came through the maze and we ran up a hill, as fear gave me flight. As we started down the hill, my friend pulled me to the right and into a castle we ran until we came to a room, and my friend pulled me into this room that had three doors, and solemnly spoke these words to me,
“This room has three
Very magical doors
Be careful, choose wisely
This choice must be yours!”
My heart was filled with foreboding as I looked at the three magical doors, and tears began to spill down my cheeks as fear overwhelmed me. My friend and I were in grave danger all because I had refused to listen and allowed myself to be overcome with greed and curiosity. The thunderous sound of the soldiers grew closer, and the wicked shrill of the Queen drew ominously closer too, as my wise friend cried out,
“Please! Make haste and be quick!
The wicked Queen draws nigh,
She’ll place your head on a stick
For all to see and pass by!”
And so, holding his hand in mine, I closed my eyes and stepped forth, choosing our escape through this door: