Jun 7, 2018

QK Agent Round: Absalom, Absalom

Title: Hope
Entry Nickname: Absalom, Absalom!
Word Count: 93,000
Genre: Women’s historical fiction


Hope Macdonald is a spunky tomboy, growing up in an isolated early twentieth century mountain community. Her life is guided by the customs of her Scottish ancestors and the strict tenets of her Protestant religion. Turning thirteen means she is officially a woman, and she must abandon her tomboyish ways. Without her trademark overalls, and no longer allowed to fish and trap, Hope struggles with her new role, losing much of her stubborn self-confidence in the process.

When a devastating storm destroys their crops and kills much of the livestock, Hope’s family faces foreclosure. Believing the only way to save their farm is to produce a larger crop, they propose to rent fallow land from their neighbor, Absalom Neville. Absalom wants only one thing in return: Hope.  

Guided by her belief that she must follow God’s plan for her life and by her fear of what might happen if she angers Him, Hope agrees to marry Absalom, a man twice her age. This marriage will test her strength in ways she could never imagine and keep her bound to a man who has stolen her spirit and threatens to take her life.

Can she leave? Not unless she can overcome the paralyzing fear of stepping outside the boundaries that have been ingrained in her since childhood—that will make her a “tainted woman.” She and her children will be ostracized by the community, thrown out of the church, perhaps thrust into even worse poverty.
Hope is historical women’s fiction complete at 93,000 words. It will resonate with readers of Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay and Sentence of Marriage, by Shayne Parkinson.
I am a retired school technology specialist and teaching assistant, now a full-time writer. I would be delighted to send a sample or the full manuscript at your request. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you.

First 250:

On  my thirteenth birthday—May 15, 1920—everything changed.

I was up and out early to check my trap lines. The air was full of the sounds and smells of spring: the sweet scent of Ma’s favorite purple lilacs, the sing-song warble of mating orioles. My overalls were soaked to the knees from walking through the hay field to the woods, my bare feet squished in the cool muddy soil. On any other day I would be thinking about my catch, mentally tallying the money I’d earn from selling the pelts, but today was the day I’d been waiting for forever.

My insides fluttered in anticipation of my birthday celebration. I hummed a made-up birthday song as I danced down the path to the creek. Ma would make my favorite dinner and cake, and if I was lucky she might let me have my best friend Emma over to spend the night.

What would thirteen be like, I wondered? I mentally inventoried my body, trying to discover where I might feel the changes brought by such an important age. Everything felt the same. I didn’t seem any taller nor feel any wiser but, according to local custom, I was a woman. I wasn’t sure exactly what came with that status, but it made me feel very grown up.

My parents named me Hope. I was born too soon, a frail and tiny child, and hope was all they could give me. But I grew, and I thrived. Being the only girl, I had little choice.

1 comment :

  1. Interesting start—I'd like to see where this goes. Please send your query, synopsis, and pages to Lisa@kimberleycameron.com Please be sure to write "Query Kombat" on the subject line. Thanks and I look forward to reading more.

    Lisa Abellera
    Kimberley Cameron & Associates