PW #145: Adult Historical Fiction: PORTRAIT OF LISE

Manuscript Status: 1 Week Delivery

Mentor Name: Jenni L. Walsh

Mentee Name: Christine Adler


Category: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 80,000 words


19th-Century Paris. When real-life figure Lise Tréhot sits for artist Auguste Renoir, she feels alive. But his betrayal forces her to decide between remaining his secret lover and muse or having the family she’s always desired.


Mindful of the soft autumn pears on the bottom, Lise tucked a loaf of bread into her basket. Rain began to fall. She dropped coins into the merchant’s hand and pulled her shawl around her shoulders. Closing the basket lid and turning toward home, she slowed her steps despite the weather. Her father would be there, grumbling over his business troubles.

Outside the millinery, Lise glimpsed the wavy, blond hair of the boy who’d banished her familial worries all summer. Longing for the warmth of Serge’s hand on her skin, his breath tickling her ear, she walked briskly toward him.


Lise ignored the gasps and turning heads, bystanders likely appalled that a seventeen-year-old would holler to a boy on the street. If her elder sister were here, she’d also disapprove.

“Lise!” Clémence would say. “That is not how a young lady behaves.”

Lise smirked and quickened her pace, her heels clicking against the stones of the new boulevard Serge had helped widen. His hungry eyes were on her now, his lips curled into a smile, and she grew giddy at the thought of those lips on hers. She wasn’t the only girl who’d pined for Serge’s attention, yet, weeks ago, he’d chosen her.

“That young man isn’t a proper suitor for you, sister,” Clémence would add. “He’s beneath you—and you know it.”

Lise ignored her sister’s voice in her head. Yes, Serge was a laborer, completely unlike Clémence’s Jules, a former architect and solidly bourgeois. But Lise didn’t care, and Serge’s station didn’t stop her from seeing him, unchaperoned, in secret.

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