Title: Johara’s Choice
Author: Astrid V.J.
Genre: YA Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling
Main character description (short).
Johara is a bundle of contradictions. She has spent her life behind four walls with only small window onto the world beyond because her parents fear a prophecy regarding her future. All Johara wants is the freedom to be herself, unbound from her parents’ fears and worries, but at the same time she wants to be a dutiful daughter and make her parents proud. Forced to stay where she is, Johara escapes through her grandfather’s correspondence, exploring the world beyond her tower through the reports from his advisors and bureaucrats, and gaining a mountain of knowledge.
Erik has always had a lust for adventure. It’s what got him into this fix. Now, he’s been fired, suffers nightmares from all he’s witnessed, doesn’t have a penny to his name and is stuck in a foreign country that hates his people. All he has left when the debt collectors come knocking is a mysterious tinderbox he came by on one of those adventures he loved to seek out before life broke him.
Locked in a tower with the fear of prophecy holding her parents back, Johara dreams of freedom. However, her time in confinement is spent well, researching the true state of her country. When she realises her father has ignored the importance of ancient ritual, Johara must find a way to break free and avert the gathering catastrophe, or risk the annihilation of her people and their way of life.
Haunted by the horrors of war, Erik has given up hope of ever finding anything truly worth fighting for. When a twist of fate allows his path to cross Johara’s, everything changes and he begins to hope there might yet be a chance at happiness. But can he embrace life and the spitfire princess who never does as she’s told, running headlong into danger at every turn? Or will he let that, too, slip through his fingers.
Embark on a magical high-stakes adventure in this retelling of Andersen’s fairytale, The Tinderbox.
Brief Excerpt 250 words:
How could Father think, even for a moment, that this is a better use of my time?
Johara swayed her head from side to side as she tried to absorb the stacks and stacks of parchment the servants carted in by the crate-full. Earlier that morning, she’d rejoiced at the prospect of her dance and embroidery lessons having been cancelled, but this was beyond all reason.
She stared open-mouthed at her father and was even more perplexed by the satisfied smile playing on his lips as he twirled his moustache. How could he possibly be pleased with himself at this solution to Johara’s ‘problem’, as he termed it?
“You wished to be useful, Johara,” the sultan announced. “And nothing could please me more. I have meant to go through my late father’s correspondence for quite some time now, but the pressures of ruling have not given me a moment to do so and none of my councillors has the spare time. You could serve the realm and your dear father greatly if you sorted through this and reported to me the most important findings from your grandfather’s letters. Now, I must attend a meeting about the drought over in Derakhtan province.”
He marched out the room in a swirl of silks while Johara sank into a cushioned seat. Her mother stepped through the doorway, a smug smile painted on her features.
“I dare you to complain about this one, Johara.”
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?
Johara’s Choice includes representation unusual in Fantasy. Mental health is a key consideration in this novel. Additionally, I include nudges for my readers to embrace their own transformation instead of merely reading about the characters’ transformational journeys. I am a certified transformational life coach, and seeing readers embrace their potential is very rewarding.
Johara’s Choice on Amazon https://amzn.to/3Ykcfc2