A Queen’s Throne by Nicole Adamz, Brooke Chastain (The Iron Lotus #1)
English | 2020| Young Adult | Steampunk| ePUB | 2.8 MB
Sometimes love comes second to need.
Zhēnzhū hates being poor, but she loves her family. A vague shadow clings to her family after one decision by her father sent the Méilís into poverty, and they never recovered. Now, her father is fighting in a war raging inside of Milgrim: one side promotes reckless advancement of technology while the other side urges caution. The responsibility of keeping the family together falls on Zhēnzhū’s mother and the four girls.
As the eldest daughter, Zhēnzhū takes her duty seriously but can’t help yearning for more. When Zhēnzhū is accused of something she didn’t do, her job is placed in jeopardy. Desperate, Zhēnzhū struggles to forge a new path but becomes entangled with two men. Both offer her a chance at a different life, but she isn’t sure what choice to make. Clinging to the past, and hope for the future, Zhēnzhū’s troubled heart makes a surprising discovery. Will her final choice help her family?
After Shìyán had helped Jiā tie the boughs around the room with an extra string, it felt quite festive and cozy. It was perfect for the Winter Solstice and was sure to lift Mama’s spirits. They didn’t have the advanced gadgets and gizmos of northern Milgrim that Zhēnzhū would have liked to have had, but they managed without them.
Xìnì straightened her cloth-wrapped gift, lining it flawlessly with the others. The present was smaller than the rest, but Zhēnzhū knew how delicate it was. Two months of Xìnì’s scant allowance was barely enough lucre to cover the cost of the flat porcelain hair stick.
“I hope Mama likes it,” Xìnì said, her pale brows bunched in worry over big green eyes.
Jiā smiled widely. “She’ll love it! Especially the pretty lotus painting you added to the end of it. Won’t Mama be surprised to see her favorite flower? It will be like spring in winter!”
“And it will go well with my gift,” Zhēnzhū reassured her, motioning to the cloth-wrapped flower bowl shoes she had bought.
Zhēnzhū had taken great pains over the last few weeks to embroider vibrant butterflies on the plain shoes she’d found on sale in a shop window. Mama would have a nice pair of shoes to wear when she visited friends, and no one could look down on her for not being appropriately dressed. Zhēnzhū would love to have another pair, so she was sure Mama would like them.
“It’s a shame I can’t wear flower bowl shoes more. They’re perfectly suited for my small feet, but I walk around too much with the children I watch. Being a gevernis is tiresome work,” Zhēnzhū lamented.
“At least you don’t have to cater to old Aunt Mèilì,” Jiā grumbled. “I’ve never known someone to be such a stick about social rules.”
“You do have lovely feet, Zhēnzhū. Your shoes and Xìnì’s hairpin will look lovely on Mama. I’m sure she would appreciate another hairpin to compliment the white jade one Baba gave her,” Shìyán chimed in sweetly, quietly directing the conversation away from any unpleasantness.
“What did you get Mama, Jiā?” Zhēnzhū asked, curious.
No one had seen what Jiā’s gift was, but she had labored furiously over it the last few nights. Jiā’s face lit up before doubt threaded shadows in her dark eyes, and she pursed her lips. Fidgeting, Jiā fingered a frayed edge on the pocket of her pants.
“Well?” Xìnì said impatiently. “Tell us! We’re dying to know.”