Maeve Bowman is a young, rich girl in Manhattan, 1923. She is being forced into a marriage for power, only she loves the drastically opposite girl Blake Hopkins.
Young Adult Historical fiction
||Newport, Rhode Island
||4 publishers interested
The roaring twenties. Life is at its peak for the lavish, rich, daring upper class of Manhattan. Maeve Bowman is no exception. As the daughter of a wealthy not-so-moral businessman on the Upper East Side, Maeve has an ideal life. Parties every night. Finest clothes from Europe. Dinner with Al Capone and Anita Page. There is no limit to anything Maeve desires. New York City rests in the palm of her hand, and every young suitor is fighting to have her on their arm. There's only one flaw in the pristine curtain covering the secret life that Maeve hides. She favors none of the suitors her father presents to her, preferring the drastically opposite Blake Hopkins, with whom a love affair would be completely unfeasible. A middle class, church-going girl with the highest of morals, Blake equally has feelings for the high class girl she meets in an art museum. Maeve faces an onerous choice, one that could ruin her world as she knows it, but she is a prize to all the rich men in Manhattan and has no choice but to agree to marry her father's choice of the suitors.
Twenty-two-year-old Kenneth vaan der Horn is the dashing young heir to his father's family fortune. Every available woman in Manhattan loathes Maeve for her engagement to Kenneth, yet Maeve would do anything to escape the world of secrets she must drown herself in. The wedding is the talk of the century. Every person of any worth in the city is to be there. All of Staten Island is buzzing with the news, leaving Maeve more exposed than ever. More eyes are on her, more rumors are being passed around like disease. Everyone is anticipating this day while Maeve's father, the king of new money, is spending unfathomable amounts of cash for the most talked about day in the history of Manhattan. Little does Maeve know, her hand in marriage is only a business deal between her and Kenneth's father to hide Mr. Bowman's illegal money-making method. Bootlegging.
While Maeve is focused on her own conflicts, she becomes immune to realizing what's going on around her. Her father's business is collapsing. Her mother is sick. New York is starting to wonder where this suspicious Mr. Bowman came from with all his money. And although new money is just as greedy as old money, it is infinitely more frowned upon.
Blake is wondering how much she can sacrifice for love. She begins to question everything as she learns how difficult loving a city girl can be, especially when she too is a girl. In a small, religious town in upstate New York, Blake's sexuality is even more frowned upon than in Manhattan, leaving both unique, inquisitive young women to make a choice. No matter how strictly Blake was raised, she's willing to throw it all away to be with Maeve Bowman. But could she keep their love a secret?
However, to save her family, Maeve must become everything she was raised to be, everything a young million heiress has to be. Maeve and Blake are beyond torn. Do they give each other everything? Or do they walk away to live the lives that were chosen for them? Choose each other and face a world of hate, or live a life of detrimental heart break, a closeted life hiding within the shadows where they must never embrace who they truly are? It would be nearly impossible to make their dream lives a reality, yet leaving would cause unthinkable damage. Would it be worth keeping such a deadly secret? If one person finds out, everyone will.
Maeve and Blake's fates seem to be sealed at Maeve's wedding. There is no possible way for them to live a life together publicly. They must, as most queer characters did in the twenties, hide their identities. It places the girls in a forever vicious cycle. They cannot change the ways of society, despite knowing who they are and what they want. The wedding is going all to plan until Mr. Bowman is shot just hours before his daughter walks down the aisle, leaving the question up in the air, 'Who did it?' The wedding is postponed until the question is answered. Rumors circle faster and stronger than ever before. Maeve and Blake are just seconds away from having their secret love life revealed. They seem to have escaped this battle until Blake is blamed for a crime she didn't commit, murdering Maeve's father. Soon, everyone is starting their own rumors about why she killed him, knowing her odd relationship with Maeve must have something to do with it, but no one is sure. It pins Blake and Maeve forcibly in one of the largest obstacles they must ever conquer while testing their love for each other. The two young lovers must discover their identity all while fighting the impossible battle of being an LGBT+ teen in the twentieth century.
Chapter One: Maeve is forced by her father to meet her first suitor. She is beyond uninterested and begs to never have to meet another one. Her father expresses his feelings on how he believes it is imperative for her to marry as soon as possible.
Chapter Two: Maeve's cousin and dearest friend, Emerson Townsend, is married. Maeve's family pushes her to mingle with the young men at the wedding seeing as her cousin is a year younger and already married. It is then she is introduced to Kenneth vaan der Horn. There is something devilishly charming about him, causing Maeve to dislike him from their first conversation.
Chapter Three: Maeve leaves the wedding and races to her usual escape, a party. She dances and drinks the night away and meets a new friend. Betty Adley. They sneak back to Maeve's penthouse where they are caught by her mother, a slightly more understanding and easygoing figure than her father. She scolds Maeve for leaving the wedding early, but there is no punishment beyond that. Ida Bowman seems to be the only person leaving Maeve to be herself.
Chapter Four: At an art museum, Maeve encounters the stunning Blake Hopkins. While Maeve has been with other girls, she always made every effort to convince herself she just had too much liquor in those moments, that she was just a little off. However, Maeve instantly feels a desire to get closer to Blake. She introduces herself by explaining the art piece and then asks her to come to a party she's hosting while her parents are away.
Chapter Five: Maeve and her cousin, Emerson, meet for the first time since the wedding. Em is about to leave for her honeymoon, and Maeve can't stand the thought of her leaving for a month. The entire lunch, she contemplates telling Em her feelings about Blake, but she opts not to. She decides it is for Emerson's best, so she won't worry during her honeymoon.
Chapter Six: Maeve's father and mother depart on their trip to Europe the same day Emerson leaves for her honeymoon. Maeve is oddly lonely, but she enjoys the freedom. She decides to go to another party that night since there is no one to stop her, and she cannot wait for her party a week later.
Chapter Seven: Maeve sees Blake yet again in a coffee shop in Manhattan. She can't help but speak to her, and Blake invites her to sit down. Their conversation allows Maeve to feel some sort of acceptance, a feeling of happiness she has never felt before. It is then the actress Lillian Fisher is brought up. She is Blake's favorite star, an "inspiration" as she calls her. Maeve is delighted because she knows Lillian well, so arranges a dinner with the three of them at her father's speakeasy as a plan to get to see Blake again after the party.
Chapter Eight: Another suitor is arranged for Maeve to meet, only this one she actually likes. Of course, she doesn't want to marry him, but he's nothing like the uptight men she's met before, the ones that want her only to sit on their arm. He's understanding and kind, and Maeve begins to rethink everything she thought true.
Chapter Nine: Maeve's much anticipated party rolls around. She spends the entire night looking for Blake then decides to have fun -- a little too much fun -- after determining Blake is not coming, only to find her at the very end, after the guests have gone home. Blake explains how she was nervous having never been to a party, and Maeve promises her a better one, one that will make her love parties just as much as Maeve does.
Chapter Ten: Maeve doesn't see Blake again after the party before Mr. And Mrs. Bowman come home. A week after their return, Maeve turns twenty-one, the age it was decided upon she would be forced into marriage had she not found a suitable husband by then. Maeve is devastated and runs away for the weekend to go stay at Lillian's apartment. It is there she tearfully explains that she has no desire to marry a man and could possibly be in love with a woman. Lillian is weary while making her best attempt to be supportive.
Chapter Eleven: Maeve and Blake have dinner with Lillian. Blake can barely believe Maeve is friends with such a star. They have the time of their lives that night indulging in the drama at the speakeasy. Before Blake leaves, Maeve kisses her on Lillian's couch. Shockingly, Blake kisses her again and smiles as she says they should do it again sometime right before leaving.
Chapter Twelve: Once again, Maeve is forced to meet Kenneth vaan der Horn. Only this time there is a small party thrown for the occasion. Unbeknownst to Maeve, it is an engagement party, and Kenneth gets down on one knee and proposes in front of both of their families. Maeve has no choice but to say yes.
Chapter Fourteen: Maeve sees Blake again and explains to her the news as they sit in Central Park. Blake is hurt, but still optimistic. Maeve has little hope in her future.
Chapter Fifteen: Maeve voices to her father that she does not want to marry Kenneth, leading to a loud argument and Maeve with a split lip. She is shocked. Her father never put hands on her before, and she is beginning to wonder if the rest of her life will be this, in the control of men.
Chapter Sixteen: Much to her dismay, Emerson throws Maeve a wedding shower. Luckily, Lillian invites Blake, and the two discuss their lives moving forward.
Chapter Seventeen: In a last attempt to end the marriage to be with Blake, Maeve decides to confide in Kenneth. She explains that she is in love with someone else, and this is not the life she wants. Kenneth is far from understanding. He screams at her, saying all people are in love with someone else when they are married, including himself, and their wedding is just a plan to help save Maeve's family. Her father needs money and more power to continue his business and deal with the growing backlash, and her mom has fallen very ill.
Chapter Eighteen: Maeve tells Blake she has no choice but to get married. Blake is willing to give everything up for Maeve, but she can't unless Maeve would do the same for her. The two seem to be growing apart.
Chapter Nineteen: Maeve gets ready for her wedding. This chapter takes place with her and only her alone in her room attempting to control her biggest enemy, her mind.
Chapter Twenty: Maeve's father is shot. Rumors are passed around, but more and more fingers seem to be pointed at Blake as whispers about their love affair multiply.
Chapter Twenty-One: Maeve helps to discover her father's killer was not actually Blake but her mother who was fed up with his abuse. She dies before she is jailed. Maeve's mother explains to her that she knows she is going soon and that killing her father was the only way to keep her safe. Maeve thinks she's in the clear, but she's far from it.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Worry infects Maeve as she receives a death threat. Though she knows her father's death was necessary, it allows rumors to circle of her and Blake's relationship. The two young women are petrified.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Maeve meets with Emerson, who advises her to leave Blake as soon as possible and try to continue on with the marriage with Kenneth. Maeve is at a crossroads. This could be the biggest scandal in Manhattan if anything further happens between her and Blake.
Chapter Twenty-Four: Maeve goes to lunch with the vaan der Horns to discuss the marriage. They believe the scandal with her father's death is a helpful business tactic, and now that she's inherited her father's fortune, she is still a suitable wife for their son. The wedding is back on.
Chapter Twenty-Five: Blake confronts Maeve and leaves her after hearing of news of the wedding being back on. Maeve is utterly broken, but she cannot call off the wedding. This is the last grain of hope she has. Living this life is dangerous in the public eye, and she sees no other way to win the battle. She must lay the price with a broken heart.
Chapter Twenty-Six: The wedding is back on only this time it is smaller and more quiet with mostly a media presence. The vaan der Horns don't want people present after the last failed attempt at a wedding, but they want everyone to know it happened.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Lillian sees Maeve is not doing well mentally or physically after the wedding, so she helps her to sneak off to see Blake. The two women couldn't be happier to see each other. They decide they will make things work in secret. Besides, Kenneth has all his ladies on the side, so it wouldn't hurt for Maeve to have one too.
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Kenneth beats Maeve for going to see Blake. It is so intense that he threatens to kill her if she ever so much as thinks of Blake again.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Maeve and Kenneth attend a party together. Just as Maeve thought the rumors were disappearing, everyone at the party attacks her with their words and violence too. They spit homophobic slurs at her and belittle her to her breaking point. When she gets away, she runs upstairs, makeup and tears pouring off her face. She feels the cool air on her face as she finally reaches the roof and feels truly at peace for the first time in her short life as she steps off.
Chapter Thirty (pov~Blake, one year later): Blake is still recovering from her heartbreak. She is unsure she will ever be healed. She knows there will always be a scar there. Her only relief is that Maeve will never feel pain again.
My target audience is young adults, or anyone who prefers young adult books. Also, anyone who has an interest in books revolving around LGBT+ characters, otherwise they probably wouldn't enjoy it. Femme also takes place in the twenties, so someone who likes scandal, parties, and the roaring twenties on top of all of this would be ideal.
My name is Iliana Katerina. Writing and art art my passion. I've been writing since I was six. I've written on Wattpad before, one of my books receiving over 60,000 reads, but I was only twelve when I wrote it. My writing has evolved very much so, and now I am much more proud of my writing. Should Femme get published, it would be my first official published novel. I'm very young, only fourteen, so I haven't accomplished much yet in a writing sense, but everyone has to start somewhere. I did, however write the graduation speech for my middle school graduation. My English teacher asked people who were willing to write a speech. The best speech would be given in front of the entire grade and their families. My teacher chose me, and I gave the speech at graduation. A few writers that were there loved my work, and we ended up keeping in touch. They've given me some great tips and helped me grow as a writer.
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Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation by Sherry Wolf