So I’m writing this story. It’s fantasy, and I want it to have the tone of a retold fairy tale. But I’m worried the prose is too formal/flowery/overdone and readers won’t connect with it. Here is an excerpt. I would love any thoughts.
"I will not be an Empress tomorrow. My entire life was spent preparing to be Empress, and I thought that my wedding had finally cemented that goal. But I will not be an Empress tomorrow, and my husband will be free to remarry.
There is a custom among my people – when a woman marries, she braids a barbed wire into her wedding plait, so that her new husband will know that a woman is no docile thing. So that he will know that she bites. I went to my wedding with my hair unbound, face and hair alike covered with a veil of the softest silk. I wonder, sometimes, if things would have been different if I had entered marriage as a woman of my people should, ready for war.
But I was not bred for war – I was meant to bring peace between the mountain tribes and this southern emperor. The peace has failed – the messenger rode in last month, his horse’s flanks lathered with sweat. He was brought before the emperor still wearing the dust of the road.
The news was not good, but my husband delighted in telling it to me all the same. My father was dead, my family home burned and razed, a rival claiming to be the chief of the mountain tribes and demanding that the empire’s caravans pay a toll on the trade road.
The peace is over, and my marriage is next. I pray that my life will not end with it.
Morning comes, so quickly that it is if Thief Goddess herself deigned to steal the night away from me, and with the dawn come the guards at my door, with their heavy footfalls and heavy hands that bruise when they grab my arms.
They have been waiting to lay hands on me, I know. I am the Imposter Empress, the mountain girl who pretends to be royalty. It is, they think, no better than what I deserve.
I expect them to drag me to the throne room of my husband the emperor, but they take me to the fane, where these southern people worship my husband’s god. They throw me to the floor, and my knees hit stone. I look up into my husband’s eyes, and hate the hands that hold me down.
I would kneel to no gods but my own, had I any choice. "