The Twelfth Dancing Princess Explains
You can kill a man this way.
Kings have tested it, you’ve heard,
with trumpets, forced marches,
cold water douses.
They haven’t tried violins
and cellos, chilly underground ballrooms,
the box step, the schottische.
The results would be much the same.
It takes practice, slipping down ill-lit steps,
climbing into waiting skiffs,
racing along hidden corridors,
gliding across floors of polished parquet
where you must curtsey and twirl,
keeping your feet feather-light,
endurance, like silt, piling in the veins.
You seldom shut your eyes before sunrise.
After a week, the visions begin,
when dreams dance on waking
and meals turn to ash, when spiderlings
skitter the lengths of your arms.
You raise a cup to your lips
to find you’ve closed your teeth
around a rosebud; you thread a needle
with your own thinning hair
Skin dims. Joints wince.
The heat of a breath, too close
to the cheek, is enough to rough up a rash.
The chirp of a cricket cracks rocks in the brain.
In a month, you are a mosaic of scars.
Nothing heals: not your bloodshot eyes,
not your scraped palms (you often stumble),
not the blisters that cluster on your toes,
bubbling up one from another.
Silk grows heavy as sediment.
Velvet and satin drag you down.
A bit of gossamer could bury you—
and now and then you wish it would,
as you lean over the side of the boat
for crossing two-hundred-and-twenty-nine
and imagine yourself slipping into that water,
so clear, so quiet, so dark and still
that you can see your own face dwindling downward,
a last airy pearl floating from your lips,
and your eyes finally, blessedly, closed.
And here’s Jacqueline being magical in the enchanted wood:
And here’s an alluring description of Long Lost:
ONCE there were two sisters who did everything together. But only one of them disappeared. New York Times-bestselling author Jacqueline West’s Long Lost is an atmospheric, eerie mystery brimming with suspense. Fans of Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces and Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts series will lose themselves in this mesmerizing and century-spanning tale.
Eleven-year-old Fiona has just read a book that doesn’t exist.
When Fiona’s family moves to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club—and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends—nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated to the town by the long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.
Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. And when she looks for the book again, it’s gone. Almost like it never existed. With stubbornness and a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. It’s not a novel, but the true story of an unsolved century-old crime filled with clues to the mystery. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places—maybe even the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore.
New York Times-bestselling and acclaimed author Jacqueline West weaves a heart-pounding, intense, and imaginative mystery that builds anticipation on every page, while centering the strong and often tumultuous bond between sisters. Laced with suspense, Long Lost will fascinate readers of Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Secret Keepers, and fans of ghost stories.
★“… A captivating narrative that draws the reader into two stories of two sisters living over a century apart… A spooky sisterhood mystery that is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy titles such as Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces, Ellen Oh’s Spirit Hunters, or Lindsay Currie’s Scritch Scratch.” – School Library Journal, starred review
“In a spooky middle grade love letter to libraries and the mystery genre, West crafts a spellbinding exploration of sisterhood.” – Publishers Weekly
“A spine-tingling brew of ghosts and half-forgotten mysteries…This has all the makings of a classic.” – Stefan Bachmann, internationally bestselling author of The Peculiar
“Grab a flashlight and stay up late with this one.” – Kirkus
Isn’t that lovely? Read the book and let us know what you think!