I wrote about how I came up with my characters, Ana and Serafina, and although I added a bit at the end about what the novel is loosely about, it doesn't give a reader a sense of the book. I learned the hard way here, folks!
This morning, I offer you the synopsis of my novel as it appears in my query letter to potential agents:
In the male-driven society of 1900 Puerto Rico, women compete against each other for protection, respectability and economic support for themselves and their children. Ana, an Afro-Cuban midwife navigates poverty, racism, machismo and male doctors in a changing medical world. She is known as a “formidable and decent woman”, a caring and experienced midwife, but getting emotionally close to people is both Ana’s strength and vulnerability because of a secret that followed her from Cuba.
My 85,950-word historical novel, A Decent Woman, is the story of the friendship between the midwife Ana and Serafina, a high-spirited young woman who marries into Ponce high society. Despite differences in race and their places in society, the women forge a life-long friendship that will take them to the brink of insanity and the edge of death. Betrayal and resilience are common themes in my protagonist's lives and conflicts arise as the women are forced to look at the idea and definitions of decency that will threaten Ana's old secret as a new secret is born.
Creole in a Red Turban, was painted by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Aman, 1801-1888. The interesting part to me is that when I began writing my novel in 2006, I described my heroine Ana as wearing a white turban and an off-the-shoulder white blouse. I found the painting on a Google Image search just last week. It's as if the lovely woman was waiting for me to find her and because of her, I'm inspired to paint a portrait of my heroine Ana for my book cover when I'm picked up by an agent and the book is published :) Yes, I can dream!