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First Page Critique Contest

Jamie Ayres is hosting a first page critique contest to celebrate Heather Birch’s debut novel Halflings. Participants are to post their first 250 words on their blogs, then hop around to everyone else’s to read their entries. Jamie will randomly draw five names to receive a critique from Heather. Does that make sense?

So, here’s my entry:


Title: Must Love Breeches
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Word count: 97,000

Pitch: When a thoroughly modern girl finds herself stranded in 1834 London, she must find a way home while navigating the pitfalls of London society, resisting her attraction to a hunky lord, and ultimately having to decide when her true home lies.  


A reenactment ball was the perfect setting for romance. Or not.

Isabelle fidgeted in her oddly-shaped, but oh-so-accurate ball gown surrounded by women who’d sacrificed authenticity for sex appeal. It was as if she were a dorky kid again, participating in dress-up day at school when everyone else had magically decided it was lame.

At least her co-worker Anna was with her in this. Like Isabelle’s, her dress was circa 1834. “Hmmm. How about him?” Isabelle asked, eyeing the guy walking past in tight-fitting, buff-colored breeches.

Anna sucked on her olive and plopped the stir stick back into her cocktail. “Oh, yes. A breech-ripper for sure.”

Isabelle choked on her drink—they’d just been discussing their favorite “bodice ripper’ romances. They’d also discovered they shared a mutual obsession with guys in period clothes, which had helped propel her through the early stages of the party. Since this was the first time they’d hung out, she treated this moment delicately, afraid to puncture the mood. To have another friend in London would be wonderful.

A sharp elbow in her side caused her drink to flirt with the rim of her glass. “Look sharp,” Anna said, her voice low with just a dollop of teasing. “Here comes Andrew.”

Isabelle took a gulp of her drink, the champagne fizz tickling her throat and nose. She’d been cultivating a crush on him since she’d started working at the British Museum six months ago. She’d pictured him in period clothes looking resplendent.

He did.


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