Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Pretender by Katie Ward + #Giveaway + Excerpt

The Pretender by Katie Ward
Self published on the 14th August 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Amazon US / Amazon UK

France 2000: Two babies are born on the same day just two hours apart - but to very different lives. Isabella is a Princess and heir to the French throne, while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father. At the age of 18, Sophia runs away from home. That same night, Isabella is also fleeing from the burden of her royal life when she finds Sophia slumped at the palace gates. Amazed by how alike they look, Isabella proposes a daring plot - to exchange their lives for one week. 

‘The Pretender’ is an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.


Chapter 4
At this point in the story, Sophia has fled her abusive home after her father attacked her. While Isabella, having undertaken her first solo royal engagement is feeling trapped by her title. Isabella bravely tries to discuss this with her parents.
‘Look, I want to be honest with you and Daddy. The truth is, I’m not happy. I want to have the chance to go to Paris, to be given time to live anonymously, just a normal teenager without the burden of my royal status. Kind of like a gap year I suppose but I only want a few months and I’d be staying in the same country. Please, can you let me go to Paris?’
My parents and siblings turn to look at each other in utter shock. The baffled expression on my father's face then turns to anger.
‘What the hell has gotten into you, Isabella? How could you be so ungrateful! You're next in line to the throne and quite frankly it's insulting to hear you speak such nonsense. Your face has graced every magazine and television outlet in the world since the day you were born, so answer me this: how can you be anonymous: how can you ever be normal?’
I lower my head as my hopes and dreams desert me. Daddy’s reaction is not wholly unexpected but it is disappointing. Is a little understanding too much to expect?
‘I never asked to be a princess,’ I say choking back my tears. ‘How was I to know that in order to wear the crown I had to throw my whole life away. Did you ever ask me if that was OK? Did you ever ask me what I wanted? All I'm asking for is the chance to find out what it's like to live beyond the prison gates of this place.’
‘Insolent girl! I can't talk to you right now or I'll lose my temper completely.’ Fury dances across my father's face, his jaw hardening as he turns away to leave the room, slamming the door behind him. My tears fall as I realise that my whole life will be dictated by duty and protocol. That I’ll never be free.
Giving my sisters permission to go to their rooms, my mother passes me a tissue and allows me to pull myself together before walking me back to my room.
‘Love, I do understand how you feel. I've long seen that you inherited that restless part of my nature, the part that seeks adventure and excitement. But your father's right, you can't be the ordinary person that you want to be - not because of the title we placed upon you at birth - but because of the public's expectation of you. You're not a princess just in title, Isabella, you're a princess in the hearts and minds of a nation. That's what makes you so special, and that's why you can never know what it's like to be normal.’
I see that there are tears in her own eyes; that she too has sacrificed her freedom for her marriage to the King.
‘Oh Mama, I don't mean to sound ungrateful but these walls feel like a jail. I can't leave without permission, I can't do anything without permission!’
‘The world is a cruel place at times, love. What you don't realise is that for every person who stands in adoration of you as a member of the royal family, there are many others who would wish to hurt you for exactly the same reason. We spend a fortune on security because it’s necessary. You're not a prisoner, Isabella, but you can't just wander out on your own because the danger is too great.’
‘If I'm honest, Mama, the way I feel right now, I'd take the chance.’
‘Oh Isabella, you're far too much like me for your own good,’ she says, looking at me sympathetically. She promises: ‘I'll have a word with your father, maybe see if we can arrange a trip to Paris for you. I'm sure we could tie it in with some engagements. It's the best we can do, my love.’
‘Thank you, Mama.’ I yawn and cover my mouth. ‘It's getting late. I think I'll just go to bed if you don't mind.’
My mother nods then kisses me good night before leaving my room, I feel the weight of her gaze upon me before she closes the door behind her.
Lying on my bed, I replay the evening’s events. A sudden thought crosses my mind. Racing to the window, I look down at the ground outside my bedroom. It’s not too far. Then, before I can change my mind, I whip off my sheet and duvet cover, knotting them together, along with a big towel from my bathroom, attaching my homemade rope to a bar on my window.  Tucking my credit card into my jeans pocket, I stand on a chair, climb out backwards and carefully descend to the ground, clinging to the rope, my heart pounds a million beats to the second. Once on the ground, my knees shake slightly as I set off out into the night.
The cool summer air surrounds me as I hurry towards the palace gates before someone can stop me. I've no idea what I'll do when I'm on the other side of the gates but I don't care. I want my freedom and I won't take no for an answer. I’m an adult, aren’t I? Surely, I get to make my own decisions now.
Just as I reach the gates, however, I see an unexpected sight: a slumped figure lies sobbing in front of them. I approach gingerly.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask.
The figure quickly rises, wiping away the tears before turning around to face me.  I see that it's a frightened-looking girl, around the same age as me.
‘No, not really. I'm sorry, I had nowhere else to go and this felt like the safest place to come.’
The girl seems sincere. ‘Don't apologise,’ I say, not wanting to see her cry. ‘Why do you have nowhere left to go? Can't you go home?’
‘Home? No, my father kicked me out.’

Meet the author:

Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism.

After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper.

Katie currently lives in Devon with her cat (aka ‘Her Royal Fluffiness’) where she sings in a community choir and has recently taken up Archery. Katie’s favourite author has been Roald Dahl since she was a child as she loves the dark edge he brings to his books. On the flip side though, Katie loves Disney, magic, unicorns and a good rom com film at the cinema with her friends.

Author links: 
Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a signed original illustration from Emma Haines (Open Internationally until 23:59 UK time on the 20th September)

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel's Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data.  Rachel's Random Resources is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Katie Ward / Romance fiction / Books from England


  1. This one sounds like a really light, gentle and quick read. I love visiting France in books and yay for illustrations as well ^.^