Friday, June 19, 2015

Team Maries #1: AN ADAGIO DARK AND LOVELY

Title: AN ADAGIO DARK AND LOVELY
Genre: YA historical
Word count: 73,000

Query:

All seventeen-year-old Angelique Saint-Clair wants is the freedom to choose her own fate. But to guarantee protection for herself as a free woman of color, she has been taught that she must sign a contract with a wealthy Creole gentleman--not as his wife, but as his mistress. Her mother has trained her well for her first quadroon ball, where Angelique meets the kind and wealthy Monsieur LeBlanc. Unfortunately, at the same ball, Angelique discovers the depth of her feelings for another man, who happens to be both LeBlanc’s half-brother and her impoverished piano instructor.

Determined to secure her daughter’s future, Marguerite Saint-Clair encourages negotiations with LeBlanc, forcing Angelique to choose between protection and love. Just when Angelique decides to follow her heart, yellow fever strikes, threatening her mother’s life. Angelique’s dream of pursuing her music with the man she loves burns up with the fever ravaging the city. To provide for her mother’s care, Angelique takes the contract to LeBlanc, only to discover he has already left New Orleans. Now Angelique’s survival depends on the one person she’s never fully believed in: herself.

First page:

New Orleans, 1825

Masks cover only so much. I twirl the silk-wrapped stick and watch the attached mask circle above my hand like a bird. Flawless dove feathers rise from the right corner, but when I brush my fingertips along the edge, the feathers just itch instead of tickle. I raise the mask over my face, peering out through eyeholes that once seemed so much wider. It has been years since I believed I could be anything if only I imagined it.

I try to pretend I am at the piano instead of surviving another fitting, but the seamstress pushes a pin through the satin covering me and traps me in reality. My fingers clench, and the stick cracks in two.

“Angelique,” Maman says as she accepts the broken pieces. Her pinched lips relax as she turns back to the seamstress and waves her other hand toward the dress. “It looks exquisite.”

Maman requires no mask. She has perfected the art of pretending we are better off than we are.

Thick raindrops plunk on the wooden banquette that lines the street. I hear more than see them beyond the front window of our cottage on Dumaine. The walkways have soaked up so much water lately that they have warped in the perpetual humidity. At least the afternoon showers relieve some of the stench that covers the city at this time of year. 

7 comments:

Lauren MacLeod, The Strothman Agency said...

I vote for you!

Erin Harris said...

I vote for this one! What a great concept, what a fabulous voice.

Caryn Wiseman said...

I vote for you!

Carrie Pestritto said...

This is wonderful! I vote for this one!

Andrea Somberg @ Harvey Klinger Inc. said...

I vote for you!

Kathleen said...

I vote for you!

Courtney Stevenson said...

Love this concept! Vote from me.