F-7: Adult: CALL OF THE KOEL

Genre: Historical, Upmarket Women’s Fiction

Word Count: 123,000

Pitch: 19C Hong Kong. Cultures clash beneath masks of civility. Still, Helena and concubine-turned-servant Siu Lin become friends. When old secrets resurface, their lives hang in the balance. The reach of revenge is wide and ruthless.

Excerpt: 

May 1866, Hong Kong

At last, and too soon, they arrived at the painted green door. Siu Lin leaned against a rough wooden post, her legs sponge and marrow from the walking that had begun the day before. Her younger brothers sat down by the side of the alley to wait.

“Don’t make trouble,” Baba warned them, and they nodded. His voice was soft, but he didn’t stand for disobedience.

“Come, Siu Lin,” Mama said. Siu Lin looked again at her brothers tracing lines in the dirt.

“Come, Siu Lin!” Baba was growing impatient.

She followed her parents across the threshold. Inside, the damp earth floor, musty in the humidity, teased at the back of her throat. Baba murmured low to the woman they had walked so far to see. So far.

An anxious current, choppy and fitful, rippled in her stomach and she drifted toward the open seas of despair. She shoved away thoughts of home, and cast her nets, instead, on the strangeness of this place. A candle flickered and shadows danced over the walls. A bed. No, two beds. A large wardrobe. What did the woman keep inside?

Baba was still speaking with the woman. The matchmaker amah. Finally, the woman nodded, brushed past Baba and came to stand in front of her.

Ah Yip. The name had haunted her for weeks. Now it had a face, round and expressionless like the barren moon.

“We cannot afford to keep her,” Baba said in a hollow voice and looked to the floor.

4 Comments

  1. Hello! I’d like to move 6 places on this one…

  2. Lana Popovic |

    I move my pawn four spaces.

  3. Brianne Johnson |

    I really like the setting and the writing in the excerpt; I’d love to take a look at the first two chapters (move my pawn two spaces?).

  4. Way to use the internet to help people solve prbmleos!

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