So, I'm wracking my brain trying to track down this book. I read this when I was 12 or 14, could be a YA fantasy novel since there was no hanky panky, but there was a serious romantic theme in the second half.
Part 1 is the chronicle of the female protagonist's role in the rebellion of smallest province, in a land of old dead magic, somewhat forbidden. She is one of the heirs to that province and the kingdom (as is later found out). She is caught in one of the animal traps that her rebels set up, and her survival depends on her interrogator, who subsequently agrees with the rebellion and is the reason for the end of that civil war. The reason for the rebellion had something to do with the tree people who had made a treaty with the humans generations before to never cut any trees, in return the humans were provided with magical fire sticks for heat. There were also few solid doors, and most entryways were covered by a curtain.
Part two is the female protagonist's clumsy navigation of the political scene in the capital, where there sits a golden wood throne, made of the magical wood of the tree people. Magic is forbidden or frowned upon, not quite sure, but she stumbles upon the plot of one of the courtiers building his magic to overthrow the shaky rule of whoever it is, maybe a democratic rule at that point. The supposed antagonist is the Marquise, he is usually wearing black or some such, and he ends up being the heroic counterpart to the fumbling heroine. At the culmination she defends the tree people, heading off a massacre of them, afterward finding out that the Marquise was her secret pen pal in the palace, and her dear love.
It sure feels like a young adult romantic fantasy, but it was longer than usual for a YA novel. I'll be so glad to find this book; it's one of those haunting reads that leaves an addictive taste in my mind.
Many thanks in advance!!