By Eva Caye
Dignity is the first book of the To Be Sinclair series of eleven science fiction romances. It and its companion novel, Majesty, cover the romance and first years of marriage of the leaders of the most important ruling family in the galaxy. Dignity is about 50% science fiction to 50% romance, and it shows Felicia Sorensen’s emotional development, the brilliant nerd who suddenly finds herself as the love interest of the Emperor Victor Sinclair.
This book is important not just for its love story, but for the hints of what’s to come, how Felicia leans on her relationships with her mentor, professors, and fellow student-scientists, as well as how she uses the fruits of her scientific labors to help the Empire during a crisis. The layers of complexity, secrecy, and diplomacy Felicia must learn to become an Empress will lead to her success (in book two) as the most important scientist in the galaxy.
What will the greatest ruling family in the history of the galaxy be like?
Lady Felicia Sorensen, a brilliant microengineering student, finds herself pressured to date Emperor Victor Sinclair, for he has fallen madly in love with her. Despite being showered with extravagant gowns and attention, she longs for a fascinating life as a scientist, instead of the stressful and dangerous destiny of an Empress.
The social pressures of being the Emperor’s Betrothed, from gossip and manipulation to an assassination attempt, cause her to weigh her love for him against her personal goal, to do research in her own lab someday. How can Lady Felicia follow her dream while still bending to the political necessities of a high elevation?
Lady Brighton’s Sorority was getting back to normal a week after Anna McGuiness’ extremely delightful retelling of her time at the Emperor’s Birthday Celebration when Felicia was called to Lady Brighton’s parlor once again. When she saw Lady Darya Cheval, she sighed.
Lady Darya exchanged glances with Lady Brighton. “I certainly hope you don’t teach ladies to express such disdain when they see visitors, Margaret, or perhaps I should leave right now?”
“Not in the least, Darya. Felicia, would you please come have a seat and behave? You’re in your third year here; you should certainly know how to show more respect for guests.”
Felicia straightened her posture and took her seat quite properly. This time Lady Brighton had gestured her to a chair across from Lady Darya such that they sat in an equilateral triangle.
Lady Darya looked serious but gave Felicia a smile that seemed to belie the previous criticism. “Felicia. Please listen to me. I believe there’s been a misunderstanding, and I think we can correct it and make matters better.” She nodded to herself as if she were marshaling talking points in her head.
“First, the Emperor has expressed no displeasure at your behavior the night he escorted you to the ball. He has specifically stated he found you very interesting and delightful. He doesn’t have any idea why you apparently left him standing by himself on a path outside in the dark, and he certainly has no idea how you came up with the notion that he asked you to leave that night. He thought he was handing you off to me, for me to keep you company until he could finish the conversation in which he was immersed. Are we clear on that?”
Felicia managed to nod, though she was feeling rather numb. She couldn’t tell whether she was being chastised or not. It almost sounded like the Emperor was apologizing, but she wasn’t sure.
“Second. The Emperor has accepted your excuses for not coming to his Birthday Celebration. He specifically stated he is impressed with your self-honesty and with your work ethic. He also thanks you for having Lady Anna McGuiness come in your stead, for he had a very nice time with her.” Lady Darya drew a deep breath.
“Third. He wants to see you again. Not some other person. You. He says that, if a party is not to your liking, perhaps you would like to visit during the day on a weekend. Since your midterm exams are now over, he would like for you to consider coming over to spend some of the morning with him, have lunch, and perhaps walk about the grounds, so you should dress warmly. Would this be acceptable to you?” Lady Darya sounded quite deferential with that last statement.
Felicia nodded, thinking it would be shameful to disappoint her a second time. Surely her mentor and the most important lady on the planet would not set up a… simple liaison, so the Emperor must have actually enjoyed their time together. She wondered how many regular friends he had, though that thought only made her aware of how few she herself could count.
Between Lady Brighton and Lady Darya, the details were settled in a matter of minutes. Felicia was excused, having never said a word.
Eva Caye bio
Eva has studied some unusual topics to support her literary efforts, such as building solar ovens and rocket stoves to get a feel of what colonizing a planet from scratch would be like. She’s moving with her magnificent husband and Señorita Margarita La Bonita to a brand-new house in Louisville, Kentucky.