Today’s query critique involves an adult novel that takes place in another country.
Dear XXXX ,
Sometimes the loneliest place is right where you thought you wanted to be. < Sally got everything she thought she wanted when she escaped her English homeland and her mother; a new life in France with her new husband. She came with dreams of gastronomy and soirees, of building a community of their own. Consider flipping this to start with getting everything she wanted and her dreams and ending with her escaping.
What Sally hadn’t factored in was the French. Not just the people but the language. <> Surrounded by noises with no meaning and rules of etiquette that she never gets right, her world begins to crack. Her closest ally, her sister Maria, is five thousand miles away and her French husband just doesn’t get it. Going home would mean succumbing to her mother’s clutches again, and Sally can’t bear the thought of being curled back into her web of manipulation. I like the visual, but why use curl? When the choices are isolation or suffocation, there’s no real choice on offer. <I’d cut this sentence. It feels redundant to what the reader has learned.
One battle at a time Sally’s French grows and she blusters her way into mode d’emploi. Her days of being trampled are over and the French will see a fire in her that has never before been unleashed. Now all she needs is a friend. Honestly, I’d cut this entire paragraph and just move into the following paragraph.
Her effervescent sister’s arrival in France accelerates Sally’s social circle and it looks like life might shine on their new community. But France is a turbulent place and it can be dangerous not to spot the warning signs when trouble is on its way. As a thriller writer, the stakes are easy for me to show and I know that’s not always the case for other types of novels, but can you be more specific regarding the trouble in which you are referring so your stakes can be higher?
Searching for Sonder SEARCHING FOR SONDER is a 75,000 word women’s literature novel set in the fictional town of Ame-Fort in France. <<I’d simply say it takes place in France.
I’m English but have spent the last three years living in France; learning the language and teaching English. I am the great-great-niece of Siegfried Sassoon and have been writing since I was young enough to spin Brother’s Grimm tales into my own stories. Before my husband’s work took us to France, I was a Sales and Marketing Director, working in sales and hospitality for over a decade. My husband’s work has recently moved us to the Costa Blanca in Spain, which will provide some good material for my next manuscript. Consider cutting the last line as it takes the power away from this query as you are talking about a different manuscript at this point.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Feel free to revise and resubmit if you would still like another set of eyes. While I’m not well read in this genre, this premise sounds intriguing!