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PW #431: Adult Historical Fiction: A BRIDGE BETWEEN US

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Manuscript Status: Finished, 2 Weeks Delivery

Mentor Name: Alex White
Mentee Name: Tracey Enerson Wood
Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 93,000 words

Pitch: A family sacrifices everything, including each other, building the Brooklyn Bridge. After her father-in-law is killed, and her husband incapacitated, the burden falls to Emily Roebling to keep the project moving. But Emily’s marriage frays, and working in a man’s world is fraught with politics and sabotage, even when her friend P.T. Barnum steps in to help.


The scent of burning candles did not quite mask that of blood and sweat in the makeshift ballroom. The orchestra hummed atonally, tuning up as men clad in sharp Union dress uniforms gathered in conversation groups with women in their finery. Nearer to me, a line of men on crutches and in rolling chairs aligned themselves along a wall, each of them missing a limb or two, or otherwise too broken to join the healthier soldiers. It struck me that they wanted to be there, to be included, despite their infirmities. Wouldn’t it be easier to stay away from the event– a brutal reminder of what they had lost?

I nodded my greetings, hesitant at first. Like most young women in my small town, I was sheltered from the sight of maiming and other consequences of war. The injured men clambered over each other, some in hospital pajamas, some half in uniform, each reaching out to me. I tried to ignore the bloody gauze wound about heads and the stench of rotting flesh as I shook their hands, right or left, bandaged or missing fingers, making my way down the line. One after the other, they thanked me for coming and begged me to dance and enjoy myself.

A soldier with one brown eye, his face cobbled by burns, held my hand in both of his and said, “I want to see the joy of life.”

I promised to show him.


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