Query Critique 83

I am seeking representation for THE PERFECT WIFE, a 70,000-word novel.  I noticed that you are looking for upmarket women’s fiction, and I think this book fits that genre very well. This would probably sound stronger if you just said “and I think this would be a good fit.” Be confident about your genre.

Shanta believed in love; she saw it from her parents, from her sister, and she knew that her husband would be her constant, caring companion.  She had a vision of walks through Bangalore, India with her new husband, sharing cardamom infused milk sweets and cups of chai on their porch.

Gandhi’s declaration of India’s independence and the onset of World War II shatters these dreams.  Her husband becomes dedicated to the freedom cause, quits his job, and leaves her, with two children and little life experience, to work with Gandhi. I’d almost like to see this worked into a hook. The last paragraph does a good job setting the scene, but this sentence has conflict. And it’s the conflict that’s going to make people want to keep reading. World War II sparks protests all over India, and Shanta finds herself caught up in it, faced with racism and violence that her parents shielded her from all her life.  In this increasingly unstable world, Shanta is forced to find in herself a protector and provider to survive in a way she never thought she would: on her own.  This is an okay ending, but it would be stronger with some stakes. A deliberate statement that tells the reader what happens to her if she doesn’t find a protector.

I am part of a mother-daughter team.  Dipti Ranganathan has written short stories and was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers.  This story is particularly important to us because it is heavily based on the life of my great-grandmother.  THE PERFECT WIFE tells a well-known story, that of the freedom movement in India, from a new perspective of the wives of the men who fought for their country.  I believe that this novel will help bring the perspectives of women to light in a way similar to Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.  THE PERFECT WIFE is also similar in themes to the novel that you represent After the War is Over.


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