The wonderful story is set in the fictional absolute monarchy of Markenland. The last of its kind in Europe, the isolationist country is located geographically somewhere in the wooden wonderland between Switzerland and Austria.
Queen Lexa of Markenland is a young reformer who is trying to drag her country, kicking and screaming, into the new age. By triggering democratic elections she is endeavoring to transform it into a modern parliamentary monarchy. Young, haughty, surrounded by mystery and a powerful aura of an absolute monarch, Queen Lexa cuts a magnificent figure. Yet, beneath the powerful veneer, she is standing all alone in the face of her destiny.
Enter Clarke Griffin, the plucky, resourceful and fiercely loyal UN dignitary, leading a delegation of UN observers tasked with observing and legitimizing the first ever democratic elections in Markenland. Between staying impartial in the performing of her observer role and her budding attraction and feelings for the mysterious royal, Clarke walks a very thin line.
The pair start off with a terse exchange and continue with a series of tense encounters, amplified by the secrecy and conflict that surrounds the young Queen. The palace intrigue, plotting noblemen and assassination attempts add to the angst of the story.
With seemingly the whole world against their budding romance, will the lovers find a way to be together? With the rigors of royal responsibilities weighing heavily on the fragile shoulders of the young queen, will she put her country first and deny herself the chance to be happy? Or will she forsake her royalty for love?
Thrace writing and pacing of the story is such that it transitions perfectly from one scene to another, building up the tension and the romance slowly yet inescapably. Once it draws you in, the story is impossible to put down. The author also manages to pay close attention to the character development, closely entwining it with the complex story. Lexa and Clarke’s personalities shine through their actions, very much true to their TV show selves.
While the author chose to simplify elations in general and what UN election observers do on the ground, I will not go all UN geek on you and simply say that some literary license has been taken here and there with the process.
Additionally, Snow White is not part of The 100 fandom, but if she was, she’d be super annoying in this fanfic.
The story can be split perfectly in three parts, starting with tense and angsty buildup towards elections. It continues with years of pinning and longing, expressed in thousands of letters the star-crossed protagonists exchange. Finally the story culminates with the wonderfully fluffy third part, when the pair are finally allowed by faith and circumstances to be together. The author holds the reader’s hand through the captivating story, bringing them gently to a perfect resolution and the hoped for HEA.
Excerpt from What Heart’s Ease Must Queens Neglect a magnificent Clexa royal romance AU
A woman gets up from the desk, buttoning the front of her dark single-breasted blazer.
Their guide stands next to the desk with her hands behind her back. “Allow me to introduce Her Majesty, Queen Lexa of Markenland.” The woman gestures with one hand towards Clarke and her team. “May I present Clarke Griffin, of the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, and her team.”
Clarke takes her first look at Queen Lexa: a woman only a year older than Clarke, shorter and slighter in person than Clarke thought she would be. Her hair is caught up in a neat chignon, pinned at the bottom with a simple golden V-shaped brooch. And though her suit is obviously expensive and well-cut to her slim lines, she could be just another rich businesswoman in Manhattan.
Of course she’s been photographed and televised before, usually in similar attire, but Clarke was expecting – she’s unsure what. Someone more in line with all the whispers of strict militaristic behavior, someone more befitting of the rumor that she killed her own father to take the throne. No matter how much she’s done to move Markenland forward in the past ten years, rumors of violence and intrigue have followed her for her entire adult life. As she walks gracefully around her desk, offering her hand to shake, Clarke feels her perspective shift again. The queen carries an aura of easy power and her eyes are keenly intelligent, cutting across Clarke towards the rest of her team and seeming to come up with a lengthy summation in moments.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, your majesty,” Clarke says. The queen’s grip is very firm, calloused in spots except where an understated signet ring bands her middle finger. To Clarke it almost feels like when she shook hands with a pro hockey player a few years ago, the strength casually there from a lifetime of hard work. They’re of a height with Clarke in heels and the queen in polished oxfords.
“The pleasure is all mine.” Her voice is quiet, measured, the enunciation excellent. She speaks perfect English, no hint of accent like some of the staff around the palace. Clarke has watched her speech to Markenland announcing the election several times; it was a good speech, delivered cleanly, with a pleasing cadence. Clearly she’s had lessons in oratory. She was educated entirely in-country, a product of her father’s isolationism and borderline xenophobia, but Clarke doesn’t have the best measure of the local university system, or whether the queen simply had the finest tutors money could buy.
Clarke introduces her team members one by one and the queen goes down the line, shaking hands with each, firm up-and-down with eye contact. Jasper audibly stammers over his name.
“I apologize for the change to the schedule last night,” says the queen, coming to the end of the line and turning back to Clarke, hands folded behind her back. Posture is crisp but not overly deliberate, habits Clarke has seen in those with military training. “There were matters that required my immediate attention.”
“Of course,” Clarke says graciously. “I look forward to working with you during this historic time for Markenland.”
“I’m grateful to the United Nations for agreeing to my request,” says the queen. “It’s important that the process and results of this election are as legitimate and transparent as possible so that my people can be confident in the change in leadership.”
The aide next to the desk clears her throat; Clarke still hasn’t managed to catch her name, but apparently she can interrupt the queen’s conversation without immediate consequence.
“Ma’am, the duchess is waiting.”
Clarke could swear the queen rolls her eyes, just the barest flicker of disdain. But it must be a shift of the light because she’s turning smoothly and nodding at her aide. “I’ll be right with her.” Then back to Clarke. “I trust everything in the palace has been to your satisfaction?”
The throat clearing this time is much louder and more insistent. Clarke is not deterred.
“We made plans to stay in a hotel close to the palace as part of our neutrality as observers, so that the election results are as legitimate and transparent as possible.” The queen doesn’t react to having her own words used against her. Clarke’s heart is starting to beat faster of its own accord, but she maintains her calm. “I’d appreciate it if we were allowed to move there at the earliest convenience.”
The queen’s face hardens instantly and the little peek of humanity Clarke thought she might have glimpsed is immediately subsumed into the cool, distant attitude of a ruler considering a request she considers beneath her. “Your objection is noted,” she says. “But as part of my duty to safeguard you while in my country, I must insist that you remain in the palace, where my security will have a much easier time protecting you.”
“If I may ask, ma’am, from what?” Clarke asks.
Bits And Bobs
- Fandom: The 100, Clarke and Lexa
- Length: 83,284
- Author: thrace
- Rating: M
Rating Guide: G= General, T = Teen and up, M=Mature, E = explicit
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