So, I’m writing a book that starts off on a very similar note as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It takes place during WWII, the protagonist is English, and she is sent away to the countryside with her siblings on a train, and then later wanders off into a magical world. However, this is where the similarities end. The siblings don’t come with her, there are no talking animals, no evil witches, no epic battle (at least not in the first book), the story is way darker and way more adult than any of C.S. Lewis’ writings, and though there are plenty of religious allusions, it certainly doesn’t hit you over the head with Christian theology (the MC turns out to be a lesbian, for one).
I kind of knew that my premise was similar to that of the Narnia series when I started writing it, but kind of shrugged it off because Operation Pied Piper was also a real historical event. It seemed like fair game to use it as a premise for my own story, even if Lewis used it for his. But now I’m having doubts, especially after one of my beta readers suggested that it might be a bit too similar.
I have been preparing my manuscript to send it out for queries. Do you think this might be the sort of thing to keep it from getting accepted by an agent? It’s kind of important that the story take place during the second World War, which is why I chose Operation Pied Piper as a starting point. The only way I could think of avoiding it is maybe starting it around the early 30s instead of the late 30s. What should I do?