Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Names: Mara Rutherford and Joan He
Mentee Name: Emily J. Taylor
Title: HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 80,000
When Jani’s sister signs an unbreakable contract with a magical traveling hotel, Jani must save her from the ruthless maître d’hôtel, who puts the guests’ experience above all else, including the lives of his staff. CARAVAL meets DOWNTON ABBEY.
I often heard my sister before I saw her. Zosa sang a melody that spilled through the open sitting room door, her sweet, supple voice sounding so like our mother’s, until she coughed and began a raunchier ditty comparing a man’s more delicate anatomy to a certain fruit.
The singing cut off with a wet wheeze that had me racing inside. I forced a teacup to her lips, tipping until it was drained and the choking eased.
“Happy Birthday,” I said, the words eddying like silver in my blood. Here, birthdays weren’t crusted with confectioner’s sugar; they were hard won and more dear than gold.
Zosa’s eyes traveled from my face to the sack at my side. “Did you bring it?”
I pulled out a sodden newspaper, pressing it into her hands. “Your present, madame.”
Last month, Zosa asked for a job. Anyone with common sense would take one look and turn her away, but I had promised to let her interview for one job of her choosing. And my discretion.
Inside were advertisements for fancy dress shops, patisseries, and perfumeries, positions that would never belong to a girl who tired after minutes on her feet and coughed up her lungs every hour.
But the one she pointed to wasn’t what I expected. The ink was a vibrant purple, like Brunji blood poppies or crushed amethyst velvet. It stood out, a strange beacon in a sea of black and white.
Hotel Magnifique is hiring.
Interested parties inquire Saturday at noon.
Pack a bag for Elsewhere & prepare to depart by midnight.