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Once Upon a Rose (Once Upon Series, The) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Winter Rose" by Nora Roberts
Copyright (c) 2001 by Nora Roberts

CHAPTER ONE

The world was white. And bitter, bitter cold. Exhausted, he drooped in the saddle, unable to do more than trust his horse to continue to trudge forward. Always forward. He knew that to stop, even for moments, in this cruel and keening wind would mean death.

The pain in his side was a freezing burn, and the only thing that kept him from sliding into oblivion.

He was lost in that white globe, blinded by the endless miles of it that covered hill and tree and sky, trapped in the frigid hell of vicious snow gone to icy shards in the whip of the gale. Though even the slow, monotonous movements of his horse brought him agony, he did not yield.

At first the cold had been a relief from the scorching yellow sun. It had, he thought, cooled the fever the wound had sent raging through him. The unblemished stretch of white had numbed his mind so that he'd no longer seen the blood staining the battleground. Or smelled the stench of death.

For a time, when the strength had drained out of him along with his blood, he'd thought he heard voices in the rising wind. Voices that had murmured his name, had whispered another.

Delirium, he'd told himself. For he didn't believe the air could speak.

He'd lost track of how long he'd been traveling. Hours, days, weeks. His first hope had been to come across a cottage, a village where he could rest and have his wound treated. Now he simply wanted to find a decent place to die. Perhaps he was dead already and hell was endless winter.

He no longer hungered, though the last time he'd eaten had been before the battle. The battle, he thought dimly, where he'd emerged victorious and unscathed. It had been foolish, carelessly foolish, of him to ride for home alone.

The trio of enemy soldiers had, he was sure, been trying to reach their own homes when they met him on that path in the forest. His first instinct was to let them go. The battle had been won and the invasion crushed. But war and death were still in their eyes, and when they charged him his sword was in his hand.

They would never see home now. Nor, he feared, would he.

As his mount plodded onward, he fought to remain conscious. And now he was in another forest, he thought dully as he struggled to focus. Though how he had come to it, how he had gotten lost when he knew his kingdom as intimately as a man knew a lover's face, was a mystery to him.

He had never traveled here before. The trees looked dead to him, brittle and gray. He heard no bird, no brook, just the steady swish of his horse's hooves in the snow.

Surely this was the land of the dead, or the dying.

When he saw the deer, it took several moments to register. It was the first living thing he'd seen since the flakes had begun to fall, and it watched him without fear.

Why not? he mused with a weak laugh. He hadn't the strength to notch an arrow. When the stag bounded away, Kylar of Mrydon, prince and warrior, slumped over the neck of his horse.

When he came to again, the forest was at his back, and he faced a white, white sea. Or so it seemed. Just as it seemed, in the center of that sea, a silver island glittered. Through his hazy vision, he made out turrets and towers. On the topmost a flag flew in the wild wind. A red rose blooming full against a field of white.

He prayed for strength. Surely where there was a flag flying there were people. There was warmth. He would have given half a kingdom to spend the last hour of his life by a fire's light and heat.

But his vision began to go dark at the edges and his head swam. Through the waves of fatigue and weakness he thought he saw the rose, red as blood, moving over that white sea toward him. Gritting his teeth, he urged his horse forward. If he couldn't have the fire, he wanted the sweet scent of the rose before he died.

He lacked even the strength to curse fate as he slid once more into unconsciousness and tumbled from the saddle into the snow.

The fall shot pain through him, pushed him back to the surface, where he clung as if under a thin veil of ice. through it, he saw a face leaning close to his. Lovely long-lidded eyes, green as the moss in the forests of his home, smooth skin of rose and cream. A soft, full mouth. He saw those pretty lips move, but couldn't hear the words she spoke through the buzzing in his head.

The hood of her red cloak covered her hair, and he reached up to touch the cloth. ``You're not a flower after all.''

``No, my lord. Only a woman.''

``Well, it's better to die warmed by a kiss than a fire.''

He tugged on the hood, felt that soft, full mouth meet his--one sweet taste--before he passed out.

Men, Deirdre thought as she eased back, were such odd creatures. To steal a kiss at such a time was surely beyond folly. Shaking her head, she got to her feet and took in hand the horn that hung from the sash at her waist. She blew the signal for help, then removed her cloak to spread over him. Sitting again, she cradled him as best she could in her arms and waited for stronger hands to carry the unexpected guest into the castle.

--From Once Upon A Rose by Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, and Ruth Langan, Copyright (c) October 2001, Jove Publications, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc., used by permission."

From Booklist

Roses link four novellas by four romance writers. The best is Roberts' powerful fairy tale of a kingdom imprisoned in ice and snow that features a wounded hero from another land who appreciates all that the young hardworking queen does for her people, even risking her own life to magically heal those who need it. Marianne Willman's story is about the daughter of a king hidden from the evil sorceress queen by means of an amulet forged with rose petals. Jill Gregory's tale is of a princess who, upon her twentieth birthday, will lose the protection that has kept her hidden from the evil sorcerer who had slain her family. Her only hope of surviving is to marry a man with a magical sword. Ruth Ryan Langan tells of a mute girl in war-torn Scotland and a wounded warrior. As with all collections, some stories will appeal more to some readers than to others. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Once Upon Series, The (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515131660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515131666
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale. We all grew up hearing the stories of the prince who comes and rescues the beautiful princess from the evil queen. Now that I'm older, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm still attracted to those kind of stories. And that's why I absolutely loved Nora Roberts' "Once Upon A Rose". She, along with authors Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan and Marianne Willman weave four enchanting tales of wicked queens, handsome princes and magical creatures.
The first story, "Winter Rose" is written by Nora Roberts. It's the tale of Prince Kylar of Myrdon who wonders into a mythical land cursed with eternal winter. The prince has been injured in battle and is on the brink of death when he is rescued by Deidre, Queen of the Isle of Winter, who because of the curse cannot love. Kylar falls in love with Deidre and vows to find a way to break the curse.
The second story, "The Rose and the Sword" by Jill Gregory revolves around Brittany, the long lost princess of Palladrin, thought to have been murdered along with her family by Darius, the evil wizard. Hidden by a kind wizard and by Queen Elysia, Brittany has grown up knowing nothing of her family and that she is the rightful heir to Palladrin. Two days before her 20th birthday, Queen Elysia tells Brittany, really Britta, that a spell was cast when she was a child to protect her from Darius. The spell though, only lasts until her 20th birthday and that after then Darius will be able to see her and will try to kill her. To prevent this, Brittany must seek out and marry her betrothed Prince Lucius of Marric, who holds the Jeweled Sword. She also has to find the Rose Scepter. Together, the Jeweled Sword and the Rose Scepter can defeat Darius and reunite the kingdom of Palladrin.
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By A Customer on January 15, 2002
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I love a great fairy tale! I absolutely love Nora Roberts and her "Once Upon a Rose " is no exception. Herself along with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne
Willman give us enchanting tales of magic! Filled with handsome princes and of course wicked queens. I truly enjoyed all the stories in this anthology as all of the stories are well written with intriguing characters. I absolutely recommend this anthology, it is enjoyable, fun and truly enchanting!
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Nora Roberts (I love her books!). THE most AMAZING book heroes ever & compliments 100%, and the rest of the character line up is so easy to relate to. I could read to my hearts content and indulge, All the other authors in these books are on point as well! ABSOLUTELY a great way to indulge!!
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Nora Roberts is the best writer of romance. Her stories can always pull the emotion out of you that she is looking for. She is the greatest and everyone should read all of her books. The ones she writes under JD Robb are just as exciting, but in a different way. Enjoy.
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I have read all but one of the Once Upon books and loved them all. They are great r a fun read where you don't want to get into a full length book.
I tend to read a book of short stories after reading a series or trilogy. Love, magic, great characters, funny the best !! try one
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As I was sitting at home recovering from the flu, I thought I could use a good fairy tale to make me forget all my aches and pains, so I grabbed this book off the shelf. Although pleasant enough little tales, there were rather annoying flaws in every story.
"Winter Rose" by Nora Roberts has some eerie parallels to the story of "Beauty and the Beast," what with the symbolism of the rose and the curse and all.
"The Rose and the Sword" by Jill Gregory was probably the best of the lot; however, the hero's initial nastiness was somewhat overdone, which made it difficult to believe his miraculous transformation on their wedding night.
"The Roses of Glenross" was easily the weakest story, although the love story was very evocative and sweet. The plot seemed a bit contrived, and it was with a raised eyebrow that I read about the two lovers consummating their love without benefit of marriage on the grounds of a convent with the holy sisters' full approval.
"The Fairest Rose" by Marianne Willman is plagued with a hero who is infatuated with the heroine's half-sister until the very end, at which time we are expected to believe that he is REALLY in love with the heroine herself and has been for some time. Frankly, I thought Rosaleen deserved much better.
In fact, one of my complaints about these novellas is the absolute perfection of the heroines, especially in contrast to the heroes (at least in the case of "The Rose and the Sword" and "The Fairest Rose"). These women are too beautiful and good to be believed. How could anyone stand to be around them? The men, on the other hand, range from normal men with the usual faults to a man who paws serving women in the presence of his betrothed. I guess it's the usual double standard that you find in most fairy stories. And I did forget my aches and pains for awhile, so it was definitely time well-spent.
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I enjoyed this story very much. I am a huge fan so of course, I like all Ms.Roberts books-- I have to admit however that I liked
Heaven and Earth a little better than Once Upon A Rose.
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... I thought it was great. "Once Upon a Rose" contains four lovely tales of mythical lands and happily ever afters.
The first tale, "Winter Rose" by Nora Roberts, is fantastic. Prince Kylar of Myrdon has been injured in battle, and wanders into a land cursed with eternal winter. He is saved and nursed back to health by Deirdre, Queen of the Isle of Winter. Deirdre is a healer and a hard-working queen, but the curse that has frozen her land has also frozen her heart, so she cannot love. Kylar is fascinated by this dedicated and selfless queen, and vows to find a way to break the spell and win her heart. This tale will delight readers!
"The Rose and the Sword" by Jill Gregory introduces Brittany, the long lost princess of Palladrin, who has been protected from the evil wizard Darius, who murdered her family many years ago, by a spell that will end on her 20th birthday. Now, only a few days before that fateful day, Brittany's only chance is to seek out and marry her betrothed, Prince Lucius of Marric. Lucius has a special jewelled sword, which raised with the hidden Rose Sceptre, can defeat Darius. Lucius and Brittany must journey to find the Rose Sceptre together, or all will be lost. When Brittany finds Lucius, he is in a sorry state of self-pity, and seems incapable of heroism. But after only a short time in Brittany's company, love blooms in Lucius' heart and changes everything!
Ruth Ryan Langan's "The Roses of Glenross" is the weakest story in this anthology, although it is still an enjoyable read. It is set in a war-torn Scotland, and begins with the courageous Jamie Morgan rescuing Alexa MacCallum from the barbarians who have just murdered her family.
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