Guess the Plot
Freedom to Love
1. One of the more privileged slaves on the plantation, Ben is allowed to choose his wife. He chooses Nora, but Nora already has plans to escape to the north. So they run for freedom together, with Nora disguised as a southern gentleman and Ben as "his" slave.
2. When his wife Thelma finally passes on after a thirty-year bout with terminal depression, Preston Wurlitz struggles through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, acceptance... and then, he sees a TV ad for the Christian Dating Site, and suddenly, he knows he’s got the . . . Freedom to Love!
3. There is no discernible plot, but everything that happens in this verbal aphrodisiac will stimulate your glands.
4. Rachel Cristow’s high school crush was hunky football quarterback Seth Greenley. After a tragic divorce, she begins thinking about him more and more, and an internet search reveals that he’s living across the country. So she packs up her two Siamese cats and her three-legged German Shepherd and begins the roadtrip of her life, from the beachside town of Freedom, California to Love, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
5. A memoir of happy, carefree days traveling the world, making new friends, discovering enlightenment; and how I gave it all up for a soulless harpy who left me last year for her dentist.
6. In the 1800s American South, two slaves on different plantations meet and fall in love. But they can never get together, for their masters are feuding. Will they ever find the . . . Freedom To Love?
Dear Evil Editor:
For a slave, which is the stronger desire — love, or freedom?
Ben is the stable manager at Ten Pines plantation in Macon, Georgia. It is a highly respected position for a slave [Why, everyone in town highly respects that slave.] and comes with many favors including his choice of a wife. [Unless he chooses his master's daughter.] Ben has had his eye on Nora since she turned seventeen, now at nineteen and of marrying age, Ben picks her. [Not much of a sentence. If you make it two sentences it'll be easier to tell which of them is now nineteen.]
He is happy with his current life, dreams of having a family with Nora, and raising his son to take his place as the next stable manager. But his muscular body and the promise that his children will not be sold does not melt Nora’s icy exterior. Ben tames wild horses, but can he tame her restless spirit? With his gentle voice, strong hands, and soft touch he can get a horse to warm up to him, to trust him, but will they be enough to gain Nora’s love? [Those last two sentences both say the same thing. Get rid of one of them.]
Nora is her mistress’s personal maid, a job she was given because she is her mistress’s half sister. [Whoa. So Ben did choose the master's daughter. Gutsy.] Nora realizes her snowy white skin [You already told us she has an icy exterior.] makes her valuable and any children she has as well—especially girls. [Those two sentences aren't needed in this paragraph. Start with the next one.] She has seen too many families broken up, too many girls abused over the years, too many of her master’s promises broken. She held off getting married as long as she could, [She had a say in the matter?] but when Ben chooses her as his wife, she can’t back out of the arranged marriage. His six-foot frame and honey voice takes [take] her breath away but she tries not to let that show. Having children would destroy her plans, would ruin her slim, boyish figure. [Huh? Dump that sentence.]
Planning for years to escape on the Underground Railroad, she decides to flee before her feelings for Ben overtake her common sense. Ben finds out about the plan and threatens to turn her in [Nice guy.] if he is not allowed to accompany her. Thinking of the only way they could travel together, Ben disguises Nora as a southern gentleman and runs with her as her slave. All the dangers of the journey, the threat of being captured and returned, are not as painful as being unable to hold each other in their arms.
Nora will be Ben’s wife as a free woman or die trying.
Inspired by the true life escape of William and Ellen Craft, FREEDOM TO LOVE is a 50,000 word historical romance. I have a history B.A and have extensively studied the nineteenth century U.S. [I note that the Crafts published Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, a written account of their escape, and that it can be read at Project Gutenberg. So, did you use this to get all the facts right and then add the private romantic moments that they modestly failed to include, or is it largely fictional? If it's basically a true story, that would seem to be a major selling point, even if romance does sell better than history, and perhaps just saying it was inspired by a true story isn't doing it justice.]
Thank you for your consideration.
Working Nora's skin color into the query is awkward, and not working it in makes the idea of disguising her as a southern gentleman sound ridiculous. Solution: leave out the part about the disguise. Change the end of that paragraph to something like: Nora agrees to run with Ben; the added danger is a small price if the alternative is never again holding Ben in her arms.
Nora plans to use the UR to escape, but if she escapes with Ben she has to be in disguise. There's an implication that the Underground Railroad wasn't available to two slaves traveling together. Was that the case?