Author Topic: The Shipping Magnate - historical romance (paranormal?)  (Read 526 times)

Offline Catharina S

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The Shipping Magnate - historical romance (paranormal?)
« on: November 13, 2018, 06:27:00 AM »
This is a 115,000 word novel. Still on the fence about genre (historical fantasy/romance or historical paranormal/romance or historical speculative/romance?)...maybe posting the synopsis will help?

I would also love feedback about what details I might be able to cut in order to shorten...I've had requests from at least one agent for a three-paragraph synopsis which has me pulling my hair out! Shortening to just 1-2 pages would be enough for most I think.

***

Lady Felina Abbandonato has been raised to be a proper gentlewoman in late Victorian London. Her father has also educated her to be the heir to his fortune and business, a reality that is likely to be unappreciated by the gentlemen who balk at the idea of a working wife. She cannot muster feelings for any of them, but most distressingly, she possesses unusual aspects of which only her parents are aware, aspects which they have taken pains to hide. She is convinced that anyone who is made aware of these traits will reject her. To escape it, she convinces her father to permit her attendance at the University of Pisa to study maths and dabble in chemistry.

Gareth Kingsley, a foundling at age fifteen on the docks near her father’s ships, had been her schoolmate, albeit briefly, when Lord Abbandonato took him under his wing. During the brief period of their tutelage, Felina grew to admire him. Eventually the self-assured youth was sent to where his childhood companion could not follow: Prescott School for Boys, an elite boarding school, and Oxford University, under the sponsorship of his mentor. Kingsley ultimately left to the continent to make his fortune, and had communicated only with Patrick Lord Coldwell, his old school chum.

Felina and Gareth, now adults, meet once more in the salon of her parents’ town home, and are immediately drawn to one another. Over the count’s objections but with his wife’s encouragement, the pair begin a courtship. They begin to reveal their most intimate secrets to one another, and Gareth proves undeterred by Felina’s stranger traits. He reveals his own similar oddities in turn. Felina, once set on spinsterhood, begins to sense that a life without Gareth Kingsley would be unbearable. At last, a bungled proposal, nearly thwarted but for Gareth’s quick thinking and eloquence, receives the count’s blessing, and the pair are married.

On their honeymoon, Gareth dives into the Mediterranean one night so that she might witness the manifestation of a most exceptional feature: a dolphin-like tail. He explains that he is a triton, an ancient race of sea dwellers that bears both similarities to, and differences from, the mythological creatures they are supposed to be. On the succeeding nights, Gareth both tells and shows Felina all that he can about himself – all that he can, that is, without endangering her life.

More surprisingly, Gareth tells her that she is the female version of his race, a nereid, helping her to discover her own aquatic form and learn to transition between air and sea. Among the various other unique features shared between them, Felina finds that she possesses a rapid healing ability, but hers is far more advanced than her husband’s. She doesn’t entirely trust that his love for her is genuine, however, and problems arise in their relationship, despite Gareth’s patience and persuasiveness. What little confidence she gains in him suffers a blow when, in a complete loss of control, Gareth attacks her one morning aboard ship. His reaction is a result of her singing, an outcome which was unknown to her. Regaining his senses before causing her harm, he contritely offers to send her back to England and quietly divorce her in order to protect her from further endangerment. In an unexpected show of resolve, she refuses, seeing the obvious solution to the dilemma.

Though Gareth has presumed them to be the last of their race, one night the pair is interrupted in their usual aquatic play by the appearance of the missing tritons. Gareth is challenged for possession of his wife by one of his triton brothers, and although he knows better, he accepts. A battle ensues, during the course of which the first triton to appear, Wily, unobserved by the others, assaults Felina. Gareth, infuriated, kills her assailant, but has now broken the laws of the kingdom. Gareth is held prisoner, while Felina is released, thrust to the surface, and unable to find the settlement.

On returning home, Felina takes up residence in the newly completed manor house which Gareth had designed for her. Gareth has left the shipping concern in her hands, the management of which she at first protests, believing herself incapable of overseeing such a vast concern, but over time gains confidence in her abilities. Gareth sends her messages from afar, including sending one of his brethren, who delivers his message at gunpoint. Other domestic issues arise, including a court case brought by his business partners attempting to have Gareth declared dead.

 After a year, Gareth returns, disguised at first as an indigent but missing an eye. When he reveals his identity to her, she faints. He interprets this as revulsion on her part; she believes his hesitation toward her as a loss of affection and blame. After a consultation with her confessor, the situation is resolved, and they resume their relationship. Gareth discloses his experiences as a prisoner in the triton world, which was less difficult than Felina had believed. The eye was left as security, still in working condition and capable of being restored to him. She insists on retrieval of the eye herself, which will entail returning to the settlement without Gareth’s protection and placing herself in danger. Over his initial objections, he eventually relents.

During the hearing before the tritons, Felina learns that there are factions among them. Most want to find and reconcile with the nereids, but a smaller sector of the community is mistrustful of the females. Because of this tension, the leader grants her the eye, but not access to the settlement, which will remain hidden from her in the interests of the stability of the community, as well as for her own protection. She returns with the eye. Felina aids Gareth’s recovery through an exchange of blood which she hopes will grant him her healing power. The story closes with the recovery of Gareth’s health and the disclosure that, in her absence, he has dealt with his duplicitous partners. Felina now has more faith in her own abilities, and in her husband, and Gareth comes to realize that he cannot control everything and must rely on the aid of others, including Felina, the one whom he has been charged to protect.


Offline kaperton

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Re: The Shipping Magnate - historical romance (paranormal?)
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2018, 01:35:03 PM »
This is a 115,000 word novel. Still on the fence about genre (historical fantasy/romance or historical paranormal/romance or historical speculative/romance?)...maybe posting the synopsis will help?

I would also love feedback about what details I might be able to cut in order to shorten...I've had requests from at least one agent for a three-paragraph synopsis which has me pulling my hair out! Shortening to just 1-2 pages would be enough for most I think.


Okay, that's ridiculous. That's when I just say no, you're getting a 1-2 page synopsis. I had one agent request a one-paragraph pitch and I pretty much ignored that.

***
Lady Felina Abbandonato has been raised to be a proper gentlewoman in late Victorian London. Her father has also educated her to be the heir to his fortune and business, a reality that is likely to be unappreciated by the gentlemen who balk at the idea of a working wife. She cannot muster feelings for any of them [who exactly? any of her male suitors? men in general?], but most distressingly, she possesses unusual aspects of which only her parents are aware, aspects which they have taken pains to hide. She is convinced that anyone who is made aware of these traits will reject her. To escape it [what's "it"? rejection?], she convinces her father to permit her attendance at the University of Pisa to study maths and dabble in chemistry.

Gareth Kingsley, a foundling at age fifteen on the docks near her father’s ships, had been her schoolmate, albeit briefly, when Lord Abbandonato took him under his wing. During the brief period of their tutelage, Felina grew to admire him. Eventually the self-assured youth was sent to where his childhood companion could not follow: Prescott School for Boys, an elite boarding school, and then Oxford University, under the sponsorship of his mentor. Kingsley ultimately left to the continent to make his fortune, and had communicated only with Patrick Lord Coldwell, his old school chum. [leave our Lord Coldwell, since he's not mentioned again. Why wouldn't Gareth communicate with her father?]

Felina and Gareth, now adults, meet once more in the salon of her parents’ town home, and are immediately drawn to one another. Over the count’s [I assume that's her father?] objections but with his wife’s encouragement, the pair begin a courtship. They begin to reveal their most intimate secrets to one another, and Gareth proves undeterred by Felina’s stranger traits. In turn, he reveals his own similar oddities in turn. Felina, once set on spinsterhood, begins to sense that a life without Gareth Kingsley would be unbearable. At last, a bungled proposal, nearly thwarted but for Gareth’s quick thinking and eloquence, receives the count’s blessing, and the pair are married.

On their honeymoon, Gareth dives into the Mediterranean one night so that she Felina might witness the manifestation of a most exceptional feature: a dolphin-like tail. He explains that he is a triton, an ancient race of sea dwellers that bears both similarities to, and differences from, the mythological creatures they are supposed to be [this sentence is slightly confusing--maybe "they are imagined to be"?] . On the succeeding nights, Gareth both tells and shows Felina all that he can about himself—[em-dash, no spaces]all that he can, that is, without endangering her life. [why would her life be endangered?]

More surprisingly, Gareth tells her that she is the female version of his race, a nereid, helping her to discover her own aquatic form and learn to transition between air land? Or can they fly? and sea. Among the various other unique features shared between them, Felina finds that she possesses a rapid healing ability, but hers is far more advanced than her husband’s. She doesn’t entirely trust that his love for her is genuine, however, and problems arise in their relationship, despite Gareth’s patience and persuasiveness. What little confidence she gains in him suffers a blow when, in a complete loss of control, Gareth attacks her one morning aboard ship. His reaction is a result of her singing, an outcome which was unknown to her. Regaining his senses before causing her harm, he contritely offers to send her back to England and quietly divorce her in order to protect her from further endangerment. In an unexpected show of resolve, she refuses, seeing the obvious solution to the dilemma.

Though Gareth has presumed them to be the last of their race, one night the pair is interrupted in their usual aquatic play by the appearance of the missing tritons ["Missing" sounds like they knew they were missing.]. Gareth is challenged for possession of his wife by one of his triton brothers, and although he knows better, he accepts. A battle ensues, during the course of which the first triton to appear, Wily, unobserved by the others, assaults Felina. Gareth, infuriated, kills her assailant, but has now broken the laws of the kingdom. Gareth is held prisoner, while Felina is released, thrust to the surface, and unable to find the settlement [what settlement? The triton's settlement?].

On returning home, Felina takes up residence in the newly completed manor house which Gareth had designed for her. Gareth [Gareth's absence? Otherwise it sounds like he left it to her on purpose. Did he?] has left the shipping concern in her hands, the management of which she at first protests, believing herself incapable of overseeing such a vast concern [could you use a different word than "concern" since you just used it?], but over time gains confidence in her abilities. Gareth sends her messages from afar, including sending one of his brethren, who delivers his message at gunpoint [this is a little confusing. Who is holding him at gunpoint? Maybe just say "Gareth finds way to send her messages from afar"]. Other domestic issues arise, including a court case brought by his business partners attempting to have Gareth declared dead.

 After a year, Gareth returns, disguised at first as an indigent but missing an eye. When he reveals his identity to her Felina, she faints. He interprets this as revulsion on her part; she believes his hesitation toward her as a loss of affection and blame. After a consultation with her confessor, the situation is resolved, and they resume their relationship. Gareth discloses his experiences as a prisoner in the triton world, which was less difficult than Felina had believed [I have to say, this bit about it being less difficult is a bit of a tension killer]. The eye was left as security, still in working condition and capable of being restored to him. She insists on retrieval of the eye herself, which will entail returning to the settlement without Gareth’s protection and placing herself in danger. Over his initial objections, he eventually relents.

During the hearing before the tritons, Felina learns that there are factions among them. Most want to find and reconcile with the nereids, but a smaller sector of the community is mistrustful of the females. Because of this tension, the leader grants her the eye, but not access to the settlement, which will remain hidden from her in the interests of the stability of the community, as well as for her own protection. She returns to Gareth with the eye. Felina aids Gareth’s recovery [I know he lost an eye, but I didn't get the idea he was in bad shape otherwise. Maybe mention earlier how messed up he was when he returned.] through an exchange of blood which she hopes will grant him her healing power. The story closes with the recovery of Gareth’s health and the disclosure that, in her absence, he has dealt with his duplicitous partners. Felina now has more faith in her own abilities, and in her husband, and Gareth comes to realize that he cannot control everything and must rely on the aid of others, including Felina, the one whom he has been charged to protect.


« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 01:43:25 PM by kaperton »

Offline Catharina S

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Re: The Shipping Magnate - historical romance (paranormal?)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2018, 01:42:58 PM »
@kaperton:

Thanks so much! Amazing feedback. It's hard to spot the flaws in your own story. I suppose it's possible to be too familiar with your own work! Thanks to your suggestions I see what I missed.

Offline kaperton

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Re: The Shipping Magnate - historical romance (paranormal?)
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2018, 01:45:13 PM »
@kaperton:

Thanks so much! Amazing feedback. It's hard to spot the flaws in your own story. I suppose it's possible to be too familiar with your own work! Thanks to your suggestions I see what I missed.

I know what you mean! I continued to make adjustments after I originally posted, so you might want to look at my updated comments in case they're more useful.