I have to say thank you to everyone who helped on this forum with my query, as it really has made a difference. The kinds of queries I was writing a year or two back didn't look as sharp. I found it difficult to go through multiple iterations and I even (regrettably) started getting frustrated at points, which I'm still sorry for, but I'm glad to all those who helped just the same. :) Thanks, folks!
One agent is still checking out my MS and says she likes the general idea a lot, so we'll see what happens.
HYENAS IN WAISTCOATS, complete at 109,000 words, is a work of feminist alternative-history. It covers similar territory to feminist classics like Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and more recently Naomi Alderman’s ‘The Power’ and Louise O’Neill’s ‘Only Ever Yours’.
In a gender-reversed Edwardian Britain, ‘Votes for Men’ campaigner Otto dreams of a future where little boys can grow up to be something other than brainless, helpless, muscular lawn-ornaments.
But it’s 1902, and a draconian decorum prevails. A respectable fellow knows his place: at home, playing foot-ball with his children, looking handsome and tending the garden. Polite Edinburgh society simply won’t tolerate Fabians, bohemians, Suffrage campaigners, Free Love advocates, or any other ‘unmanly’ deviants. Like Otto.
Nevertheless, when Otto’s lifelong friend is locked up in a lunatic hospital for his ‘disordered affections’ for another man (at least, that’s what fanatical head psychiatrist Dr. Rose calls them), Otto is compelled to act.
But when Otto begins staging protests and confronting Dr. Rose’s authority, he’s quickly in over his head. Ostracized by the community, fired from his workplace, and dogged by a shocking scandal over his own bisexuality, Otto will have to fight hard. He knows he can prove his friend is no madman - and no threat to society.
However, when Dr. Rose starts denouncing Otto himself as a madman, he’s confronted with a terrible choice. Should he keep fighting to free his friend and uphold his beliefs…if it means he’ll end up in that asylum himself?
Told from three points of view, the completed manuscript for HYENAS IN WAISTCOATS is available on request. Please find attached a synopsis and three chapters (as requested). I hold an MA honours degree in English and Scottish Literature, and I’ve lived in and worked as an Edwardian re-enactor in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area of the novel's setting. I’ve been involved in women’s rights campaigning for over a decade. Thanks for your time and consideration.