a small tower extending above a building
It's a wonderland of palace buildings with golden
turrets and glittering arches, fountains full of crimson and ivory fish, topiary mazes of clipped trees, shrubs, and bushes in every possible geometric shape.
characterized by extravagance and profusion
The Orléans archipelago is a string of islands stretching like a rose with a crooked stem out into the warm sea. Most of them are connected by golden bridges or can be reached by
lavish river coaches.
a fine fabric net used for veils, tutus, or gowns
They stand beside women adorned with jewels and draped in luxurious, pastel-colored dresses made full with crinoline and
a handheld collapsible source of shade
Intricate hats cover the ladies' hair; some clutch dainty
parasols and oilpaper umbrellas, or cool themselves with patterned fans.
a large and often sumptuous tent
The carriages stop before the royal
wish, long, or crave for
covet their use of the arcana.
papers containing detailed information about a person
We weren't allowed to discuss our instructions in the weeks leading up to the carnaval, but Amber and I had swapped our
of or resembling a white stone
Her subject needed to be given skin the color of toasted walnuts, hair full of large barrel curls, and a pretty, plump face; mine had to have skin the shade of
alabaster stone from the Fire Isles, hair so dark it blended into the night, and a mouth so perfect and so red it would be indistinguishable from a rose.
lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
Her hair and skin are as gray as a stormy sky, and
wizened like a raisin.
deficient in color suggesting physical or emotional distress
All the people in Orléans are born this way—skin
pallid, gray, and shriveled, eyes cherry red, hair like straw—as if all the color was leeched out of them, leaving behind the shade of freshly picked bones and ash.
having the deep slightly brownish color of gold
They ask us to use our
gilded tools to recast every curve of their faces.
pupa of a moth or butterfly enclosed in a cocoon
They wrap around her small, squirming body, until she's swaddled inside a pink
chrysalis like a writhing worm.
a commonly repeated word or phrase
I say the
mantra of the Belles:
Beauty is in the blood.
special design representing a quality, type, or group
Fireworks streak across the night sky, creating the
emblem of the Belles—a golden fleur-de-lis, with a red rose twisting around its center like a ribbon of blood.
a public area set aside as a pedestrian walk
I feel like one of the famed courtiers depicted in the beauty-scopes or painted on Trianon's
promenades and avenue boards.
elegant sitting room where guests are received
I loved the house's pointed roof, the four wings, the endless balconies and their gilded railings and silvery spindles, the soaring ceilings full of house-lanterns, the coral-pink
salons and wine-red chambers and champagne-blush parlors, the legions of servants and nurses.
be on friendly terms with someone, as if with a brother
We're not to
fraternize with non-Belles.
deep blue like the color of a clear sky
Royal beasts parade along the grass—
cerulean peacocks, rosy teacup flamingos, and fire-red phoenixes.
of or relating to or characteristic of death
In our Belle-trunks, little stone
mortuary tablets are packed alongside our dresses, in memory of our mothers.
put on clothes
She's able to soften even the voice of a teacup monkey, make the most oafish person charming, and give someone any talent they desire—cooking, dancing, playing the lute or a stringed misen—as easily as
donning a different dress.
a superior paper resembling sheepskin
Their animated quills scratch against
parchment pads at lightning speed.
a mural done with watercolors on wet plaster
frescoes arrange and rearrange into different celestial scenes: the gods and goddesses, an everlasting rose, the kings and queens of old, the islands of Orléans, the heavens.
framework consisting of an ornamental wood or metal design
A series of chariots drifts along a shiny
lattice of cables, lifting well-dressed people from one balcony to the next.
a small cheap ornament, knickknack, or piece of jewelry
Trinkets lined our shelves: dried petals, tiny bayou pebbles, and rainbow pearls sat like shrines to our adventures together, along with tomes of folklore and fairy tales about the God of Luck's phoenix or the Goddess of Deception's little silver fox.
a large and scholarly book
Trinkets lined our shelves: dried petals, tiny bayou pebbles, and rainbow pearls sat like shrines to our adventures together, along with
tomes of folklore and fairy tales about the God of Luck's phoenix or the Goddess of Deception's little silver fox.
low table with a mirror where one sits while dressing
vanity table held a washbasin, and a fireplace always roared with light.
a manual calculator with counters on rods or in grooves
The room holds claw-footed sofas clutching jeweled pillows; a gold-stitched tapestry of the great kingdom of Orléans swallows one whole wall; a large white desk is nestled into the far corner, boasting an
abacus with pearly white beads and cast-iron spintria safes.
expressing offensive reproach
Another, Speculations of the Foulest Kind, broadcasts royal and courtier relationship breakups, blaming them on appearance shifts or lack of beauty maintenance, and a third,
Scurrilous Scandals and Secrets, speaks about a series of black-market beauty products rumored to perform the same feats as the Belles themselves.
a room enclosed largely with glass to allow sunlight in
"This is the
solarium courtyard to inspire your arcana. I encourage all favorites to walk in it daily. Very therapeutic."
worthy of religious veneration
"Each and every favorite has stayed here. This is truly
hallowed ground," she says.
a bottle with a stopper, for serving wine or water
A servant enters with a
carafe of warm oil and we fall quiet.
impinge or infringe upon
She swats at the
encroaching servants, but she's restrained and dragged out, kicking and screaming.
carnivorous or bloodsucking aquatic or terrestrial worm
The nurse shakes her head at me, removing another pair of
leeches from the porcelain jar.
not decorated with something to increase its beauty
She returns and pulls my hair up into a simple,
unadorned Belle-bun, and ties a cream-colored waist-sash around my middle.
a moderate purple
The windy season's colors are in: bright cobalt, misty
mauve, cognac, purple-red wine, radiant orchid, cypress green, and storm gray.
distribution according to a plan
"When will the queen release her official announcement regarding toilette-box
without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious
blatant disregard for the rules, Camellia, in front of the entire population of Orléans, has put us in a compromised situation—do we disqualify you from being the favorite, or allow you to be considered despite this?
give as a gift
A very talented Belle, named the favorite. But she didn't follow my instructions, or respect the honor that the Goddess of Beauty
bestowed upon me. So I took her from court and kept her at La Maison Rouge.
having the color of tanned leather
tawny brown skin pinkens, and she frowns.
without qualification; used informally as intensifiers
She smiles at me, and her teeth look
stark white like the keys of a piano.
cheap showy jewelry or ornament
Tiered trays hold buttons, lace, ribbons, gems, jewels, and hundreds of other
dress or groom with elaborate care
Even though I've been dressed and measured and
primped so many times, I still hate the feeling in these moments that my body doesn't belong to me.
make more attractive, as by adding ornament or color
I become a doll—an object to be
makeup consisting of powder applied to the cheeks
Layer after layer of Belle-powder and
rouge are applied to my cheeks and eyes.
try to gain favor through flattery or deferential behavior
fawns over us, and the dresses, and our new looks.