The #Spotlight is on Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini #historicalfiction

Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini released in 2021 in the historical fiction genre.

Set in early 1400s Europe, Close Your Eyes is a sincere, yet light-hearted and lustful, ode to love. As Samuel, the court jester, struggles to describe why his friends, Agnieszka the cook, and Tycho the story-teller, fled the King of Gora’s service, he learns that love was the beating heart behind everything that happened in the castle. 

He learns as well that more ghosts than he knew of walked the midnight halls, and that the spirit of Jeanne d’Arc haunted his friend, and once slid into bed with Tycho, daring him to leave – to take to the cold roads of Europe, where he had once wandered orphaned and alone, and find his destiny there.

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1435 Samuel’s Narration – at end of Part II

In the winter of 1431, I did not recognize the many currents which had begun to sweep through the castle. Save for Tycho’s increasing silence and reclusiveness, I thought all was the same – Pawel continued in his midnight walks, another suitor had failed to win Alexandra’s hand, Gora’s curse, in the form of Agnieszka learning the truth of her imprisonment, was about to destroy another love story.

The change in Tycho was the only one of which I took note, for I thought that my young bouncing friend was becoming as spiritually broken as was I. He kept largely to himself, and due to his fear of the voices, he rarely slept. When we saw him he was ragged and exhausted, and most notably, he was silent.

I thought that it was Agnes who was giving him worry, but after reading his journal I realize that Tycho felt strangely content with the prospect of Agnes attempting an escape. Perhaps, on one of those cold nights he spent seated at his desk, reading or writing by candlelight, the story of Agnieszka and Michal was revealed to him in its entirety, and he knew that their story did not end with that goodbye near the lightning scarred tree.

If not Agnes, what troubled the boy?

He makes only brief mention of this in his journal, but I believe, especially in light of his speech concerning his wintry death, that he was afraid of travelling again.  The boy, who had never known mother or father, whose closest friends had either died in Bohemia or abandoned him there, and who had never felt himself to be loved, was afraid of being alone.

When Tycho had accepted the post of court storyteller, he had renounced freedom for family, a trade he never regretted and would have ecstatically made again. In Gora, with Alexandra, Krysztoff,  Agnieszka,  Ahab and I about him, not to mention the scores of others at court who adored him, Tycho was the happiest he had ever been. He regaled listeners with stories of his adventures in foreign lands, making girls with dreamy eyes long to see the English white cliffs, the warren of caves and underground tunnels beneath Montsegur, the unbelievable expanse of blue ocean stretching from the Iberian coast, but Tycho did not wish to return to these places. He had experienced their beauty and mystery by himself and preferred his home in Gora to the hard won delights of the road.

It was the prospect of losing his home and family which worried Tycho, which made him argue with Ahab when the astronomer raised the issue of the boy’s destiny, and which made Tycho evade the midnight voices, voices which he felt would ask him to sacrifice the only thing he had ever valued, the only thing he wished to keep.

Although much was yet to happen, Tycho’s entry regarding Jeanne d’Orleans was the last he made in his journal. It is Tonnelli who now steps from the shadows to take up the story, thankfully recording his thoughts and movements in his letters to Martin V, without which I would only sketchily have been able to draw this history to a close.

Tonnelli was soon to make a sacrifice as well, and I knew as little of it as I did the doubts which had visited Tycho. It is strange that I am the one who has become the historian – the blindest of the participants, and yet it is I who will engrave this story into history.

Author Bio:

Chris Tomasini lives in Ontario, Canada. He has studied creative writing via Humber College’s “Correspondence Program in Creative Writing”, and through the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. In the 1990s Chris taught English as a Second Language and had stops in England, Poland, and Japan. Since 2000, Chris has worked in bookstores, publishing, and in libraries. Chris is married with two children, and can often be found (though not very easily) on a bicycle on country roads in central Ontario.

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