MENTOR: Susan Spann
FIRST ALTERNATE: Aimie Runyan
TITLE: ICE FLOWERS IN WINTER
CATEGORY/GENRE: Adult Women’s/Historical Fiction
WORD COUNT: 81,000
PITCH: In 1667, an orphan, a baker, and a farmer’s daughter answer Louis XIV’s call for “mail-order” brides to marry settlers in the Canadian colonies; upon their arrival, the women must rely upon one another, and their unusual friendship, to find the strength to survive--and blossom--on the frontier.
May 1667: Salpêtrière Charity Hospital, Paris
One, two, three strokes up... Rinse. One, two, three strokes down. Rinse. Move three inches to the right...
Rose Barré scoured the floor on her hands and knees, her once fine hands now raw and bleeding, as she tried to rid the small room of the stench. The battle was futile. One clean cell would not mask the stink of filth and disease that permeated the dozens of others surrounding it.
This was one of Rose’s bad days where, no matter what she did, she could not stop scrubbing, even though her officière had forbidden the endless scouring. No matter how Rose reasoned with herself, she could never get the room clean enough to sate the urge. She wiped her matted black curls from her forehead with the back of her hand and moved the brush three inches to the right.
Officially, the Salpêtrière was a charity hospital for women. It served the poor, the homeless, the deranged, and—as in Rose's case--the orphaned and dispossessed. In reality, the Salpêtrière was a prison whose inmates served life sentences. A well-connected family member need only write a letter, and a daughter, niece, wife, or sister could find herself imprisoned in the Salpêtrière for life.
Rose was no exception. Her mother died in childbirth, and when her beloved father was shot over a hand of vingt-et-un, twelve year-old Rose was sent to live on her aunt and uncle’s estate outside of Paris, a place of crystal chandeliers, gilded furniture, and gardenßs manicured to the point they no longer resembled nature.