You did it! We figured this one out! It is a truth universally acknowledged (by me for certain) that the Bitchery pretty much knows everything, and really, it’s true. Scroll down to see the solution for this HaBO – and many thanks!
This HaBO request comes to us from Kate and she’s hoping to find this historical or historical-adjacent romance:
I read this at the latest in the mid-90s. It was set in either Ancient China or a fantasy version of it. The heroine is grouped together with a bunch of other women competing to be the bride of a widowed prince.
Part of the competition is that they have to have a painting made of them to show the king, but because of shenanigans, the artist makes her painting look deformed and old. Later in the story, the hero sees her running and something in the way she runs reminds him of why he loved his late wife, and he goes in search of her. From what I can remember of her, she was feisty and not interested in the competition, but needed to help her family.
This sounds kind of…charming.