I am pleased to be participating in the Book Blitz for The Keepsake by Suzy Vittel hosted by YABound Book Tours. Today, I have for you a quote and an excerpt from the book. Enjoy.
Release Date: October 1st 2015
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
In this second Empress Chronicles book, Liz and Sisi continue their intertwined journey through time. On the heels of discovering a magical locket in the empress diary, Liz comes to understand its very special power: the wearer must speak the truth. Not only that, but it turns out that there are three lockets, each with their own magic and power.
Meanwhile, Sisi realizes that she’s communicating with a girl who lives 150 years in the future. A girl who knows what awaits her if she marries the emperor: lack of personal freedom and a legacy that will refer to her as the “reluctant empress.”
With the world’s future hanging in the balance, the two heroines must work together to thwart Lola, whose ambition to rule the Habsburg Empire will rewrite history, and lead to a terrifying new version of reality.
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“I have the third locket, Sisi. It holds the truth. The truth in your heart. You must find it and hold it dear.”
When I open the locket, there’s a bolt of sadness that stabs me, then clings to my skin, making me feel like I’ve trespassed somewhere I shouldn’t have. If there really is some sort of power coming from this thing, we should return it. Only, with Dr. Greta over in Germany, and having stolen the diary a whole month ago, we’d both be in crazy trouble. Especially Cory, given that he’s already got two strikes against him with the juvenile authorities and MIPs and stuff like that.
The diary is hidden under a loose board behind my bookcase. Once we found out that my shrink had been summoned to return it to the authorities, Cory suggested that we stash it. It’s been a couple of days since I checked it, and now, with our new suspicions about the locket, I want to revisit that passage about the keepsake’s magic. Only, I need Cory to translate Sisi’s German.
The bookcase scrapes the floor a little when I shove it forward. The entire wall is made of wood—not one sheet of drywall in this old place—and Cory had pried loose a short panel of fir where it meets the baseboard molding. That’s where I find the empress journal pages crammed into one the binding of my last shrink-sponsored food diary. My heartbeat competes with the storm as I wiggle it free and tiptoe across the hall.
I find Cory already asleep, buried in his sleeping bag in the screened-in summer porch. The diary and locket feel heavy in my hands; my nerves are jangling as I approach his burrito-wrapped body. “Cory,” I loud-whisper.
He snorts and turns over, facing away from me.
Cory pops his face out. “Dude, you’re totally interrupting my amazing dream.”
For Cory, an amazing dream probably has to do with his mouth over a bong, or some girl-related activity, and I don’t want the details. I hold out the journal, “We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Cory sits up and rubs his eyes. Another crack of thunder, this one right over us. I settle in close to him. I seem to be shivering, all of a sudden.
“What, you’re scared of a little storm, Lizzie?”
“Don’t call me that.”
He holds his arm out, his chin gestures toward his shoulder, “Come here.”
I scootch in closer, his warm body heating me instantly, taking the shiver away. His arm settles around my shoulder and I open the diary, the loose pages of ancient text shift away from the decoy cover, and I hold them tight to keep them from blowing away as another gust of wind swoops in.
As I page through it, looking for that place where Cory had translated Sisi’s entries about love and visions and magic, the image of Alika gets clearer. Alika and Cory, together on that bridge. I keep turning the worn, yellowed pages, trying to ignore the intrusion of thoughts of Cory close to another girl, but the vision is very strong. Overpowering. Rain spits at us. Wind blows and whistles through the screen. I toss the locket to the far end of the sleeping bag, down near where the rain has trickled and pooled on the floor. And just as I hear the clink of the keepsake sliding to the floor, Cory shouts, “Liz, look at this!”
Other Books In This Series:
Goodreads Summary: In this FIRST EMPRESS CHRONICLES book, one courageous girl seeks keys to the past to unlock the future…
When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.
One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.
When Liz finds a time-worn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria.
It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own…
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Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).
Suzy’s young adult novels, THE MOMENT BEFORE and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES are available wherever books and ebooks are sold.
An e-chapbook of some of her stories, UNKISS ME, can be found here.