PW #407: Adult Historical Fiction/Mystery: THE GIRL OF SALT AND FEATHER

Pitchwars Badge (Square A)Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Roselle Kaes
Mentee Name: Elle Jauffret
Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Word Count: 85000


1785 France. Closeted-chef and medical assistant Génépy was left for dead. Now, four years later, she finds herself investigating a murder with eerie similarities to her own attack. While her forensic skills help narrow the suspects, her culinary expertise turns her into the secret weapon of Provence’s clandestine revolutionary movement.


The thin layers of the millefeuille’s light and crispy pastry disintegrate like a thousand leaves between my tongue and palate, giving way to the soothing silkiness of crème patissière. A vanilla caress after a flaky explosion, concluded by the sugary taste of raspberry icing.

A flush heats my face and shivers spread through my body. I’ve outdone myself with this dessert. Papa’ll see that I have all it takes to be a chef.

When I open my eyes the copper pots reflect the birthing daylight, splashing an orange glow on the grey walls. The birds’ chirps fill the air, uninterrupted by the screams of rioting peasants whose uprisings have been temporarily halted. Despite Papa’s efforts as Provence’s representative, the King’s concessions have been insufficient to permanently calm the popular unrest.

The bells sound five in the distance. I better hurry up. The kitchen staff will soon be rushing in with many ready to disclose my clandestine cooking to Mother in exchange for pints of grain.

I check my gown, assuring that no traces of flour will betray my night spent in the kitchen and prompt Mother’s violent outbursts about cooking not being for noble girls.

I slide my millefeuille in the icebox when I see a silhouette approaching on the wall. As I turn around, something hard and sharp hits me in the chest. I stagger backwards, looking down. A cleaver is lodged in my leather apron and a crimson stream is running down my feet.

Then, there is only black.


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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  1. I’d love to read more of this! Please send the first 50 pages attached as a word document to:



    Rena Rossner

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  2. I’d like to read more! Please send the first 50 pages in Word format and a query letter to, and include “Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line of the email. Thank you!

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  3. I’d love to see this. Please send query (in the body of the email) with synopsis and full manuscript (attached as Word documents). Please send those to ESubmissions at Thank you!

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