The Crichton Heir keeps you guessing from the prologue to the end of the book as to who the Crichton Heir actually is. You have a strong, although rather naive, Lady Margaret Sinclair, who seems to always have her foot in her mouth. It only gets worse (what gets worse? her foot in mouth?) when the mysterious but handsome Sir Patrick Graham shows up unexpectedly at Crescent Cove, per her father's request. Sparks fly, and Margaret wants to pursue these new feelings, while Patrick knows that he should avoid the Laird's beguiling daughter who has his body reacting with a mind of it's own!
Why should he avoid her? Is her foot in mouth contagious? Because this set up and these characters are so stale, it brings out my not-nice jokey responses. That's really not what you want in a query letter.
Margaret's world is turned upside down with the sudden death of her beloved father and she must agree to marry the Laird of Crichton Castle, Alexander Crichton, to save those around her from his threats. He is a deviant man who may have more than one death on his hands already. While Patrick struggles to save Margaret from a man he despises, he must learn to trust not only Margaret, but those that she would protect from Crichton; Josephine, her companion, who isn't what she seems, Frederick Kerr, the man that Margaret has always loved, and her own mother, Victoria Sinclair, who has her own secrets that may save all of them in the end.
Character soup here; a list of people reduced to glib adjectives that make them seem like cliches. Focus on Margaret and her problem. Why does she have to marry this joker? He's threatening her? Why doesn't she kick him in the kilt?
The Crichton Heir, is approximately 95,000 words. It will be the first in a series of historical romances, The Crescent Cove Series. The setting for The Crichton Heir is Northern Scotland, late eighteenth century.
I'm so over historical romances set in Scotland that I want to send you a Rand McNally map of the world. There are OTHER PLACES! Think Iceland! Lichtenstein! Andorra! Portugal! Anything but poor overused Scotland.
I sincerely thank you for your time and consideration.
I see this exact query three to five times a week. Every week. It's an auto reject. I want something I've not seen before. Give me Iberia in 1540 before you give me Scotland in 1770. I don't care how much you love Ren Faires, write about something else.
Dear Query Shark,
Patrick Graham is blissfully unaware of what fate has in store for him at Crescent Cove. Summoned by his benefactor, Angus Sinclair, Patrick will learn that his parents were murdered for greed when he was a baby, and he was given a new identity to protect him from those who had everything to gain from his death.
This isn't the hook for the novel at all. It's the setup for what happens. Lead with the hook.
Margaret Sinclair, Angus’s daughter, is a strong, outspoken young woman. When she wrongly suspects that her father has brought Patrick there as a potential suitor, she is not opposed to the idea, due to the mutual attraction they have for each other.
This isn't the hook either, it's just more set up.
Unfortunately for Margaret and Patrick , Angus Sinclair makes a horrible mistake. He assumes that Margaret is quite taken by Alexander Crichton, and to mend the two family’s differences, he promises Margaret to Alexander, instead. Adding to the problem is the fact that Alexander is a man of no honor. Abusive and sadistic to women, he is not opposed to using blackmail to acquire both Margaret and her inheritance and could be a cold-blooded killer.
So, why does Angus promise Margaret to an abusive sadist man of no honor? If we know this about Alexander, why doesn't Angus? This is closer to the hook for the novel: misunderstood motive.
Shortly after the surprise announcement of the betrothal, and before Angus can tell Patrick of his true identity, Angus mysteriously falls ill and dies. Margaret swears on her father’s death bed that she will abide by his wishes to wed Alexander. With no way out, she vows to keep her word; not only for honor, but to protect those that she loves from Alexander’s fiendish threats.
Fiendish threats are such a cliche that I root for the fiends.
To save her daughter, Margaret’s mother must divulge a family secret that Margaret is not the first and only child of Angus Sinclair. Therefore, Alexander cannot take possession of Crescent Cove through a marriage to her. She also resolves a decades-old mystery, naming Patrick as Alexander’s missing cousin and the true Crichton heir.
It is a race against the clock for both Patrick and Margaret’s brother.
Um, if Margaret has a brother, wouldn't HE inherit Crescent Cove rather than Margaret? And wasn't she an only child in the paragraph above?
They must try to rescue Margaret from her new husband’s deadly sexual pleasures. Both men have sworn to die to protect her. Both men may have to pay that price for her freedom.
Deadly sexual pleasures? What the heck is that? Do I even want to know?
At 95,000 words, The Crichton Heir is a completed historical romance with action,
I'd much rather see the characters as memorable from how you write about them, rather than have you tell me how memorable they are.
And truthfully, you're so caught up in giving me the plot that the characters aren't memorable at all. You're missing one key element: an interesting antagonist. Fiendish and evil aren't interesting at all. Historical romances have interesting compelling bad guys. You don't.
At least you don't mention Scotland though. That's a big plus.
Thank you for considering my work. I appreciate your time.