This is my stop during the book blitz for Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours The book blitz runs from 25 till 31 March. See the tour schedule here.
Twelve-year-old Chloe Rose lives a quiet, happy life in her hometown Wilmoton, but she’s haunted by the same nightmare night after night—one with guns and swords and lost fathers. When another brewing battle has her town preparing for war, Chloe’s fears are made into a reality. Promises are left unfulfilled, her family is torn apart, and she must leave her comfy life in Wilmoton behind when she and her mother move into the King’s palace. Living in a castle seems like a dream come true, like the new beginning they need, but Chloe’s not convinced. After a series of altercations, Chloe Rose is kicked out, more desperate for hope than ever. To restore what she’s lost, Chloe travels to an enchanted maze where wishes come true and fairies rule. But with evil forces working against her and her new friends, can Chloe complete the trials of the maze or will her heart’s desires be left unfulfilled?
Chloe Rose and The Enchanted Maze is a powerful story of bravery, friendship, grief, and love.
You can find Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze on Goodreads
Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze is a perfect story for children in military families, mixed race families, or for readers looking for more #ownvoices stories. Discussion questions and teaching materials are available.
CHLOE ELOISE ROSE
The wind sang through the meadow under the open bright skies of Wilmoton, the land advanced confidently with warmth. Each new day, the promise of spring drew near as wildflowers rose from the earth. The Langerfield battle had ended two years ago, and peace had once again returned to Wilmoton. So, Chloe Rose spent some time alone in her special place.
This was where she felt lighter and happier; its warmth spread to her heart. Here, Chloe’s favorite spot was on a little hill in the middle of a meadow that overlooked Wilmoton. It was one of the most beautiful views that her hometown had to offer.
Surrounded by gentle whispers of nature, it was also Chloe’s special place to draw flowers and pick them for her mother. The sun glared down at her from the sky, and the breeze brushed her sun-kissed skin while she let her curly brown locks down. She smiled with every twirl on her dress on the soft-bedded grass. For a moment, everything was peaceful and her heart had a steady, calm beat. Here, she was not afraid of what haunted her thoughts, that which caused her to squeeze her eyes shut to make go away. Nor did she worry about the nightmares that came every night after those thoughts. Everything is brighter and calm here, Chloe thought now.
As time crept up on her, Chloe finished her drawing and brushed the pencil shavings and eraser crumbs from her dress. She walked down the slope of the Meadow and back home to her mother, Catherine. She picked some rosebuds for her mother—Mom likes to watch the petals expand slowly as they bloom. She also grabbed the sketch of her view of the meadow, which she made for her father, Michael.
Chloe’s affection and admiration for her parents were unfathomable. She liked to believe her father had superpowers. Her father was the captain of the Wilmoton’s army. The ongoing dispute between Wilmoton and Cottondale was as old as time. A dispute over land and who owns what and who was the first one on the more fertile land.
Cottondale’s features ranged from cracked sidewalks and deteriorated houses that either had weathered paints along their walls or were in ruins from previous conflicts. Remnants of broken swords and shields littered its fields. The people of Cottondale showed no inclination to repair these damages. Instead, they carried on with their lives in the only way they could, with the hope of reusing the broken swords and broken shields, whenever the situation would inevitably call for it again.
Wilmoton was a quaint town with unsurpassed colorful cottages and a huge bell tower named “Armstrong” at the heart of its harmonious infrastructure. The women learned to sew and weave every day in workshops. The people of Wilmoton were hardworking, and it showed. It was the type of place where almost everyone knew each other and people greeted each other with a smile. Wilmoton was ruled by King Francis II, a kind king who protected his people.
Apart from the never-ceasing war between Wilmoton and Cottondale, Chloe loved living in her hometown. As she skipped along the sidewalk, her pink gown flared up and down in the wind with every bounce. She soon spotted Mr. Andrews with the evening newspaper— a worried look on his face.
The Andrews family lived a couple of cottages away from the Roses, and their two daughters Chloe Rose and Thyra Andrews were best friends. Like Chloe’s father, Albert Andrews was in the army, too.
During one of the many conflicts between the two towns, someone abandoned a baby in a wicker basket on the boundaries of Wilmoton. Disturbed by this little bundle of joy’s being abandoned, Mr. Andrews hurried back to his home with the baby, showing her to his wife, Ava, who had no child of her own. Ava Andrews was overjoyed, so they adopted the baby and named her Thyra.
Upon seeing his worry, Chloe waved her hand to say, “Hello, Mr. Andrews!” Her broad smile revealed her glittering brown eyes, which could cheer up any sad face on a normal day. This time, it did not.
“Hello, Chloe,” Mr. Andrews replied in haste, his whole face lit up with worry and confusion. Chloe did not know how to interpret the look on his face, so she continued home.
Catherine Rose was the envy of almost all the women in Wilmoton. Not because of her luscious, black hair or delicate porcelain skin. Not even because of her high cheekbones or dainty nose that perched so delicately above her rosebud lips. No, she was the envy of the town because of her advantageous marriage to the captain of the army.
“Go and wash up for dinner, dear,” Catherine told Chloe as she entered their cottage.
Wanting to rid the image of Mr. Andrews’ uneasiness from her mind’s eye, Chloe’s thoughts turned to her wonderful day in her happy place. She held out her hand with a bunch of rosebuds, “I picked these for you, mother.”
Catherine smiled, but disquiet sat in her eyes when she replied, “Thank you, my sweet girl. It’s impossible to have a dull day around you. You lighten up any room! I hope you’re hungry for some delicious shepherd’s pie.”
Chloe glowed with delight. She loved shepherd’s pie. “Shouldn’t we wait for daddy?” She peered at her mom with a curious look as she tilted her head to the side.
“No, honey. Daddy will be home later. Come, let’s eat for now,” her mother suggested. Although there was evidence of warmth in her voice, her eyebrows were creased with worry.
Chloe was unaccustomed to see such anxiety on her mother’s face. The distress she saw there mirrored that of Mr. Andrews earlier. I wonder if mother and Mr. Andrews have the same thoughts. Something’s up, I can feel it …but what? … Maybe mother would tell me if I asked. Picking up on the trepidation in the air but not knowing how to address it, Chloe cupped her elbows with her hands and asked her mother, “Is something the matter?”
Catherine let out a deep sigh as her heart skipped a beat. She was tempted to explain what had been published in the evening newspaper, but she did not want to worry her little eight-year-old. “No, we’ll be all right.” She couldn’t quite believe her own words as she sat across from her daughter’s cute, puzzled face.
Despite Catherine’s platitudes, Chloe wished she could read her mother’s mind. I bet it’s the Queen. Everyone knows she’s been sick for a while now. She doesn’t make appearances anymore. Chloe’s mind then revisited that thought that haunted her nights, another idea nagging at her brain. She quickly shook it from her mind, Surely it can’t be; it must be some bad news about Queen Anne.
Her mother sat at the dinner table with her apron on. She checked the clock: He was late. Her food tasted like dust, so she placed her spoon on a napkin next to her dinner plate and turned her gaze to the evening sky, staring at the gray skies outside the kitchen window as the street lamps came on.
“May I be excused, mother?” Chloe asked, bringing Catherine’s mind back to the present.
“Yes, darling. You may.” Catherine’s eyelids drooped with worry. She didn’t notice that Chloe never touched her shepherd’s pie either.
Chloe’s steps were now rather heavy as she dragged herself to her bedroom and prepared for bed—she no longer skipped with happiness as she did earlier. Like her mother, Chloe was unsure of what this night would bring.
Catherine looked down at the table and saw Chloe’s
untouched dinner. Once again, she sighed deeply and checked the clock on the wall. Her heart weighed down with worry. Catherine sat up and waited for her husband. Meanwhile, Chloe remained in her bed and dwelled on that other thought. What if dad’s in trouble? What if those nightmares are real? Mom definitely knows something, but she won’t tell me because she thinks I won’t understand. So, Chloe thought up ways to take her mind off the wave of thoughts that clashed her mind. She picked up her favorite book on botany, but it only piqued her interest further since it was her favorite subject. She got out of bed and walked out of her room to check on her mother. She plodded into the kitchen and stood in the doorway. “Is dad home yet?” Chloe asked.
“No. What are you still doing up?”
Chloe told the truth, “I couldn’t go to sleep.”
“Me either. Come here.” Her mother cuddled her.
“Why can’t you sleep, mom?” Again, Chloe wanted to know the heaviness that had fallen upon the night.
So, Catherine decided to be as honest as she could. “Well, I am waiting for your dad to get home. Once he does, we will know more for sure.”
Chloe let out a yawn and adjusted her position in her mother’s embrace. They snuggled up with the beautiful quilt that Catherine had just finished the day before and eventually drifted off to sleep.
As thunder clapped angrily in the distance in the wee hours of the morning, someone barged into the Roses’ cottage in a hurry, causing both Catherine and Chloe to jump from their sleep.
“Daddy!” Chloe leaped out of her mother’s embrace and ran straight into her father’s arms.
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to dinner last night. I promise, after this, I will take the whole day off just for you. What do you say?” Michael asked as he searched his daughter’s eyes for an answer.
“I haven’t told her yet,” Catherine confessed.
“Told me what?” Chloe asked.
Her father spoke up again, a small smile on his face, “We have to protect Wilmoton once again. I have to protect you from the villains next door. I worked all night to map out our strategy. I didn’t want to leave without bringing a goodbye kiss with me.”
Michael was a hero to everyone in Wilmoton. When he led and won one of the greatest battles between Wilmoton and Cottondale, he became even more popular. He looked every inch the courageous warrior, with strong, broad shoulders, glossy hair, and bronzed skin. His facial features appeared as though every detail had been chiseled to perfection. He had the strength of three men put together coupled with a heart as soft as wool.
Upon his declaration, Michael kissed Chloe on her forehead and placed a pink rose in the palm of her hand, turning then to Catherine to warmly embraced her with a kiss to her forehead, too. “I will be back before you know it, Chloe!”
“I know, Daddy. You always come home.”
Michael embraced them again and dashed out. He hated saying goodbye to his girls.
End of Excerpt
About the Author:
Veronica Elle Butler is a Middle-Grade Author. Growing up, her childhood dream job is to become a doctor like most children but her life path leads her to a different role; wife, mom, twin daughters in a nutshell . She conceives the idea of an Enchanted Maze one night after reading bedtime stories to her twin daughters. She wants to create a world she could share with her daughters and other children as well, so, she begins to map out her story on a notebook every night when it’s quiet without distractions. Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze pulls the reader into a world of mystery that overlaps our mortal world all consisting of grief, pains of rejection, a curious twist of fate, heart of courage, and forming lasting friendships, she delivers an unforgettable adventure to her readers. She’s an avid scrabble player, enjoys documentaries and, learns along side of her husband the roles of a Military Man when she’s not writing. She enjoys spending time with her daughters and being a Mom. Her twins absolutely love Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze and she hopes every child would fall in love with it as much as they have. To find out more you can follow her on Twitter @MazeEnchanted. Her debut novel Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze will be available in Spring 2020.