Title: THICKER THAN WATER
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 90,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Evelyn Carmichael wants all eyes to be on her. To be seductive and adored, Rita Hayworth-style. If her rural hometown wasn’t so uptight, Evelyn might have become a movie star herself. Since she’s stuck in tiny Eaton Springs, she sets her sights on achieving fame and admiration from the local men. But eligible bachelors are dying at the war front, and that frightens Evelyn. With fewer respectable, Midwestern men available, she cannot shake her fear of being unhappy, alone, and ignored. Because what’s more terrifying than being a single woman wasting her beauty on cripples and dairy cows?
In the wake of the second world war, the small town of Eaton Springs is bending beneath the pressures of food rations, low morale, and losing their men to the war in Europe. But the watchful town is focused instead on the Carmichael sisters, who are fighting a different sort of battle: one inside the home.
Boy-crazy Evelyn Carmichael longs for a man in uniform, but is forced to settle for Harvey, the sincere, asthmatic boy-next-door. As Evelyn struggles to settle into her new role as a married woman, she finds it difficult to live a picture-show perfect life.
Meanwhile, shy, anxiety-ridden Clara Carmichael is the opposite of her charismatic older sister—she simply wants everyone to get along. As Clara battles with depression, she moves in with the newlyweds. But getting along with Evelyn proves difficult as Clara finds herself slowly falling for Harvey.
When Evelyn is charmed by a wounded war hero and becomes pregnant with his child, the sisters’ lives are blown apart. Evelyn is forced to choose between her uniformed fella or her life with Harvey. Clara, too, must decide where her loyalties lie: with her self-absorbed sister, or her sweet brother-in-law. Both sisters know they will have to live with their decisions within the conservative confines of their community, but how can they turn their backs on love?
As the Carmichael sisters’ drama unfolds, the same question is on both of their minds: is blood thicker than water?
First 250 words:
Evelyn Carmichael liked to dig her fingers deep into the penny candy bins at D’Antonio’s Sweet Shoppe. To feel the crinkle of the wrappers in her hands, the sweets filling her palms. The candy store was no bigger than the nearby tailor shop, but it was filled with every kind of sweet treat imaginable. Evelyn normally chose the candies with the liquid centers—strawberry was her favorite—but every so often she bought anise or horehound and tried to trick her siblings into eating it.
Evelyn was knuckle-deep in a mound of root beer barrels when she spotted Peter Mayes. It was just Evelyn’s luck that she would run into Peter on an afternoon when she’d forgotten to swipe a coat of red lipstick over her too-thin lips. Peter was behind the register, pulling the crank handle with a satisfying ching! that clanged throughout the small store. She couldn’t help but recall the feeling of his lips, the way he’d tried to slide his hand up the front of her blouse. How she’d pushed him away. His words—“Don’t have a cow!”—rang in her ears along with the noise of the register.
If Evelyn had her druthers, she would’ve had a plan for the next time she saw Peter. To have a smart-but-funny remark handy: No cows here, maybe, with a wink of her left eye, her mascaraed lashes long and dark. She would’ve brightened her face with borrowed make-up from her stepmother’s stash.
Being plain-faced and in the care of her stuffy next-door-neighbor Mrs. Jansen was not what Evelyn had in mind.