Belle (Historical Fiction)

Genre: Historical Fiction
Intended Audience: YA
Length: 80K+

Summary:

Belle Morrison is finally at an age that she may start courting the upper-class to protect her standing and make her parents happy. Despite knowing it must be done, she dislikes the idea of promising her life to someone.

At a party hosted by her parents, Belle meets many potential suitors but her feelings towards love and marriage don’t change. She is introduced to Joshua Greenwood, a handsome upper-class man with a proclivity for poetry and a tendency for falling over his own feet. Although they strike up a friendship, that is all Belle wants.

The pair begin their courtship duties with Belle evermore reluctant to the idea and doing whatever she can to hold off on the courtship for a little while longer. Joshua, seemingly oblivious to Belle’s unwantedness, follows the rules of the courtship to the letter, but he realises he must do more to catch Belle’s eye if they are to be wed.

With the help of her lady’s maid, Hazel, Belle is able to hold off Joshua’s advances long enough to decide just what she wants for herself and her future. Her parents continue to push for the pair’s betrothal, unaware of their daughter’s unhappiness and struggle with who she is. As time passes and the pressure from her parent’s increases, Belle falls further and further into the dark hole of depression. Joshua, meanwhile, notices the shift in Belle’s behaviour and vows to understand just what is happening.

Joshua breaks the rules of courtship and slips out to see Belle in the middle of the night. With the help of Hazel, the two meet in the park close to the village and Belle finally reveals all to Joshua. She tells him that she never felt any sort of romantic attraction to him or anyone else, despite their weeks of courtship and meetings. Belle confirms that she would rather they remained close friends but knows that it is impossible because of her parents and their desire for her to remain high in social standings.

As they return to the house, Joshua’s clumsiness is their undoing when he stumbles and knocks over a bucket, alerting Belle’s parents to their late-night rendezvous. Furious with her, Belle’s parents push for the betrothal before anyone finds out about their secret meeting and their family is ruined. Belle refuses and promptly runs from her home, finding herself by the lake and toying with the idea of jumping in to escape her fate.

The two having grown so close means Joshua knows just where Belle has gone and rushes to the lake before she does anything she would regret. Together, they decide to go through with the betrothal for the sake of their families, but Joshua promises nothing more will happen beyond the wedding. Belle agrees, deciding to make her family happy and maintain her friendship with him.

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Yay my brave Goose pitched!

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We’re all so proud :sneezing_face:

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We are indeed!!

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Congratulations on pitching your story to Nick, Amelia :slight_smile:

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  1. I’m not strong in historical fiction of this type, generally I give it all to Amanda because she lives for it. My understanding of the genre is that this hits all the tropes and that people enjoy this? For some reason. Up until the ending as a form of inversion. I’m fairly certain the hist fic community lives for their wrapped up romance endings where everything works out, and while this is close, it also isn’t. While I might appreciate the inversion, I don’t know if the main audience will? Or maybe they will because the rest of the story follows the rules up until that point and they’re too deep. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it as is, if anything you absolutely should, just know that it might never be as successful or potentially popular as the sort of standard endings and you should be okay with that (or it blows up, you never know with subversions like this, they have the odd chance). It’s what happens when the first half largely appeals to core hist fic fans and the ending doesn’t. I hope it goes over well, but if it never does, you should still be proud of it.

  2. From a structural standpoint, not looking at the hist fic components, this certainly works as a plot. I think it would be better if you could better showcase how the two main leads interplay with each other. If you can give them some scenes to help lay the groundwork for how they come to recognize their (lack of) feelings. What does Belle teach Joshua about himself that helps him come to recognize this courtship stuff is a bit presumptuous? What does he potentially open up in her to come to terms with her apparent asexuality? Otherwise this looks good all around

  3. Again, I can’t stress how weak I am on this simply because I don’t get the appeal, but from an objective standpoint I know what works. Like understanding the flavour components that make up fish doesn’t mean I like fish but I do know how to cook it, technically. So I’m pretty certain this works well on its premise and set up.

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We are here for you, Amelia :heart:

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Wow, I never expected this to be so positive :joy:

Thank you, Nick! :slight_smile:

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I checked with Amanda, she said yes, it works as general historical fiction.

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