Monday, October 1, 2012

GUTGAA SPP #14 - The Looking-Glass House

The Looking-Glass House
Adult Literary Fiction


Twenty-year-old Margaret Harmond is haunted by her Catholic upbringing, her desire for other women, and the ghost of her mother, whose suicide she witnessed at the age of eight. While training for the sisterhood in a Catholic home for unwed mothers, Margaret finds herself tempted by one of the pregnant teenage girls and throws herself further into her work by joining the local Civil Rights Movement. But as she begins to investigate the disappearances of young black men, she finds herself caught in a web of corruption, endangering the lives of those she loves most and bringing her closer to the one person she was trying to avoid.

First 150 Words:

March of 1964 in Cline, Texas was unseasonably warm.  The frost had melted and the azaleas were beginning to bloom, their fuchsia flowers rippling across the grounds of Saint Therese's Home for Girls.  Inside, the chapel was stuffy and quiet.  No breeze came from the open windows, and dust particles hung motionless in the sunlight.  Twelve pregnant girls knelt in the pews, praying.  The only sounds came from the kneelers creaking as the girls shifted.  Sister Mary Catherine, Mother Superior of Saint Therese's, sat in a burgundy mohair arm chair at the front of the chapel with a rosary in her hands, as if her eyes were closed because she too was praying.  All the girls, though, knew she was sleeping.

But even with Mother Superior beginning to snore, a hum as monotonous as the bees outside who droned from blossom to blossom, fat and drunk on azalea nectar, the girls could not relax, because Margaret watched them from the back pew.


Manchee said...

I love this. My only question is, could an unmarried pregnant girl really train for the Sisterhood, especially decades ago? I have no expertise on the topic, so I defer to the author.

And this one has my enthusiastic vote!

Slave to the Muse said...

Very intriguing! The subject matter is so unique. Both query and opening chapter are well done. I will be voting later so check back! :)

Ellie Heller said...

I like this a lot!! (pretty sure I've seen it in earlier incarnations too!).

The only thing which jumped out at me was the phrase 'training for the sisterhood in a catholic...' Training seems like not quite the right word here. I'm not sure of the steps modern nuns (or nuns of that era opposed to historical nuns) but as I recall there are a series. While it might be confusing to use the exact word for the step she is at, training seemed... off. Lacking commitment, like it's just the work, not a calling or occupation. (Of course I did, on a second read, wonder why she's joining the sisterhood if she's haunted by her Catholic upbringing). It's a small thing and I may likely be the only one who quibbles over the choice.

Slave to the Muse said...

I just can't get over this premise. It's so different. You have my vote. :)

Rose Cardinal said...


Your writing is so beautiful it's almost lyrical. This will no doubt be a controversial novel that will be a tough sell but with your writing, I believe you can do it!

Kinderella said...

I like how you stepped outside of the box. Your story is different, interesting, and controversial. Great job. You have my vote!! :)