Every little girl was enchanted by the story of Corinne Kingfisher - a young woman whose house had burned down in a tragic fire and who had been taken in by the handsome Lord Dachshund, one of the few aristocrats in Lorcqa who did not abuse his power over the peasantry. It would be no exaggeration to say that every young female dreamer wanted a similar event to happen to her. Parents used Corinne as an example, as a role model for their little girls - even if they didn’t know that she was the gentlest, most amiable soul in Periville - because she had that much of an influence on them.
One thing you might hear a parent say if you were to walk the streets of Periville was ‘Don’t be naughty if you want a handsome man to come along and save you from your boring lives.’ This would be a half amused reaction to the child feeling her life so tedious that she complained and began to try to play tricks on them. The words that followed were ‘Do you think that Corinne was naughty as a child?’
The effect of this rhetorical question was almost instantaneous.
Yet it was no classic fairytale romance for Corinne. While she enjoyed the admiring glances she received from the daughters of visitors to Dachshund Manor and being referred to as a princess by these endearing characters, her life was far from what the children imagined.
Yes, she was in love with Lord Dachshund, yes, she wanted to marry him and continue to inspire the little girls of Periville, but no, he did not bring her a rose every night and declare his eternal love for her - or indeed display any sign of affection for her - and no, it did not seem that one day he would break the tedium of their lives as nothing more than friends and propose to her.
But still, there was hope for the fantasy princess who sighed every night before she fell asleep under her velvet covers and woke up with a tear rolling down her soft, pale cheeks. For the world is mysterious and unpredictable and there were times when she looked into the eyes of her handsome prince and saw the love she sought.