Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #93

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000 words


Sixteen year old Fortunée, the adopted daughter of fairies, can’t do magic like the rest of her family, but she can wield a sword like a musketeer and heal a weary traveler with herbs. Yet when Louis XIV’s dragoons arrest her father for using magic, neither her sword nor her father’s magic can save him.

Fortunée, her mother, and brother go into hiding, but even then, they are not safe. Her only hope for finding her father—and protecting her family—is with Henri, the Dauphin, a fairy himself. But just as Fortunée realizes her feelings for Henri, he is turned into a flower by the man who arrested her father.

Fortunée sets off for Versailles to unmask the man behind her father’s arrest and Henri’s curse. But the King is not inclined to listen to peasant girls, especially when they speak against his most favored minister. Fortunée will have to find her gift—though it be unmagical—to free those she loves and save the kingdom of France.

First 250: 

I was with Papa, picking lavender, tying it in bundles for Maman’s tinctures. My frock clung to my chest from the heat and Papa’s ring hung like a stone against my neck. Only yesterday he gave it to me, slipping it off his thumb where he always wore it.

He was nearby, singing his fée song to the flowers, the barley and the wheat. He sang in their language, saying goodbye. Adieu songs.

Tomorrow he’d ride to Versailles to petition the King about the edict.

He held up a perfect stalk of lavender. “I will miss this place, Fortunée.” He nudged the bees back with his hands.

“You will return,” I said.

“If the King is merciful.”

I stared at his face, making a picture in my mind: his eyes bright with being among the plants, his arms red and shiny with sweat, his tunic and breeches caked with dust.

It’d been a fortnight since Maman and Papa had told my brother, Bertrand, and me, but still I could not quite believe he was going to leave us.

“I will not be gone long,” he said. “I am sure of it.”

I said nothing. I was thinking of the trip Maman, Bertrand, and I had ahead of us while Papa traveled to Versailles. How the three of us would stay in a cottage near Paris while Maman attended a Baroness. It was not a post she could turn down, not in these hard times, but I wished I was going to the palace with him.


  1. I don't have anything to critique, I just wanted to chime in that I think your query sounds interesting and the first 250 flowed well. Good luck! I don't typically read YA, but I would definitely read this. (I'm #91 btw, if you wanted to take a look.)

  2. I love a lot about this. I like the historical setting mixed with magic and I really like that Fortunee sounds like she can hold her own based on the query letter.

    I think there are a few things that could make this stronger though.

    In the query letter, you mention that Henri is "the only hope to finding her father and protecting her family" but then he gets turned into a flower. I thought this was a bit confusing because if he is her only hope and then he is gone, then he wasn't really her only hope. I think you could just rephrased that to say something like "Fortunee thinks that Henri is her only hope..." and then something like "but when he is turned into a flower, she has to find the courage to try on her own..." though in better words. It'll make it a little less confusing, at least for me.

    Also, in the first 250, I stumbled over "...a picture in my mind: his eyes bright with being among the plants". It's the "with being" here that feels awkward to me. Maybe you could tweak it to "his eyes shining bright among the plants" or something along that lines?

    Otherwise, I really think this is strong and I'd keep reading! France, Louis XIV and faeries are definitely up my alley.

    -Amber (#102)

  3. I agree with the earlier comments. The query is strong and clear, and the 250, though quiet, gives us a good place to start. And it gives me a clear picture of the MC. I'd love to read this book. Best of luck!


  4. You're in! I put this through because the query has a clear goal, motivation, and conflict, the heroine is sympathetic, and the writing is strong.

    I think Amber makes a good point about Henri being Fortunée's only hope. And Suja points out that the sample is "quiet." Do you really want the first 250 words an agent or editor sees to be quiet? The query promises lots of action.

    Best of luck with this!

  5. And I don't know what your title means.

  6. Thank you, Bouncer Resolution!!!
    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I did make the change that Amber recommended. I have gone back and forth on using another title for this one or maybe I need to make the meaning of the title clearer in the query.
    Thanks again!