Query critique 1/28/22

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY

Query critique 1/28/22

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 24th, 2022, 1:16 pm

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the query up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

If you'd like to enter a query for a future Query Critique, please do so here.

Dear [agent],

Susannah is a young white woman living in Detroit during the American Civil War. She believes her proper sphere is taking care of home and family. That’s everything she longs for. On New Year’s Eve — the night before the Emancipation Proclamation comes into effect — she finds a five-year-old black orphan, Noah, hiding in her stable. The hungry child has been bitten by a feral dog. Susannah does what comes naturally to her — she helps the little boy. However, although she continues to do what she believes is right, her family rejects the child, and her beau withdraws his offer of marriage.

As her eyes are opened to the racism that’s been around her all along, Susannah learns that loving Noah and providing him with a comfortable home is not enough. She must fight for Noah’s rights and his safety at every turn — from confronting the local school district to defending him from a rioting white mob. She loves Noah, and feels more fulfilled than she ever has in her life before. When Noah chooses to live as part of the black community rather than as her son, she’s devastated, but sees it’s best for him. Now aware of racism, she concludes that restricting her sphere to home and family is unjustifiable. She resolves to continue helping in the fight for emancipation and racial equality.

Proper Spheres is a 90,000-word work of literary historical fiction. It’s inspired by the Detroit race riot that occurred in March, 1863 after a man the newspapers described as a ‘negro’ was convicted of sexually assaulting a white girl. It’s my first novel, told from the points of view of Susannah, Joshua (a black man who escaped slavery in Virginia), and William (a white Irish immigrant). My style is similar to your client, [author name], but this story is set later in the nineteenth century than her novels. Other comps are Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly and Conjure Women by Afia Atakora.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

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