Monday, October 8, 2012

Small Press Finalist #18 - The Looking-Glass House

The Looking-Glass House
Adult Literary Fiction


Cline, Texas, 1964: A young nun is haunted by her Catholic upbringing, her desire for other women, and the ghost of her mother, whose suicide she witnessed as a child.

Twenty-year-old Margaret Harmond is training for the sisterhood in a Catholic home for unwed mothers.  Her uniform and vows allow her a certain distance from others, a safety-guard against sin.  But when a new girl moves in, Margaret finds herself irresistibly tempted and in need of a distraction.  That’s when the home’s black handyman is unjustly beaten by the police.  With the backing of her church, Margaret begins a movement to stop police brutality, but soon discovers much more sinister corruption: young black men have gone missing, only to have their bodies found mutilated in the woods, their deaths ruled as accidents without investigation.  Margaret is determined to uncover the truth, but unraveling this mystery may endanger the lives of those she loves most, while bringing her closer to the one person she was trying to avoid.

First 150 Words:

March of 1964 in Cline, Texas was unseasonably warm.  The frost had melted and the azaleas were beginning to bloom, their fuchsia flowers rippling across the grounds of Saint Therese's Home for Girls.  Inside, the chapel was stuffy and quiet.  No breeze came from the open windows, and dust particles hung motionless in the sunlight.  Twelve pregnant girls knelt in the pews, praying.  The only sounds came from the kneelers creaking as the girls shifted.  Sister Mary Catherine, Mother Superior of Saint Therese's, sat in a burgundy mohair arm chair at the front of the chapel with a rosary in her hands, as if her eyes were closed because she too was praying.  All the girls, though, knew she was sleeping.

But even with Mother Superior beginning to snore, a hum as monotonous as the bees outside who droned from blossom to blossom, fat and drunk on azalea nectar, the girls could not relax, because Margaret watched them from the back pew.


Unknown said...

I feel like your query needs one last punchy sentence, leaving a big question in the potential reader's mind.

abuckley23 said...

I was so happy to finally find an adult submission in the contest! I love the premise, I think it was the 'nun' that hooked me. I'd love to read the first three chapters if you can send them along with your query to andrew [at] curiosityquills [dot] com