So, rip me (my entry, that is) up. And thank you vastly for your time! 🙂
Grand-maman’s inconsiderate passing leaves Boulangerie Herriot one apron vacant, and fifteen-year-old Flavie is supposed to fill it. But when her dad bribes her into kneading dough overtime in return for a summer holiday for her little brother, the custard curdles. Flavie steals the ginger and declares civil war. If she can’t break her dad, she’ll be quitting school at sixteen and folding pastry full-time.
A half-baked sabotage attempt and a posse of toads in the water-tank later, the Boulangerie is sued for sub-par hygiene. With the kitchens shut for the duration of the law suit, saboteur Flavie is exiled to her uncle’s farm on some remote island still bunker-dotted from its occupation (and near-starvation) in World War II. The idea: she cultivates her very own gastronomic appreciation and returns to town imbued with the family’s ten-generation-long devotion to bread. More helpfully, Flavie discovers that her dad isn’t the tyrant he seems, and that the freedom of France depends on affordable comestibles—specifically, on small private bakeries.
Her dad needs all the help Flavie can give him to stop the corporations monopolising the people’s bread. And if the welfare of the populace doesn’t stir her senses (because let’s face it, Flavie doesn’t care for politics), the thought of her brother’s culinary dreams going sunny side down might be enough to brave those kitchens again.
MORE LOVELY THAN A CABBAGE PATCH is a Young Adult Contemporary novel complete at 56,000 words. It takes place in the lush Parisian countryside and on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. (Can anyone think of any comps?)
First 250: *edited*
The bus heaved with rain of the April kind, the don’t-think-about-summer-quite-yet kind. Flavie pressed her hot cheek to the juddering glass expanse and shut her eyes.
It had been good for Boulangerie business, catering for Grand-maman’s funeral that morning. One guest, reassuringly epicurean despite the presence of a corpse, had complimented the cucumber and cream-cheese sandwiches—the perfect middle finger for all those times Grand-maman had badmouthed Flavie’s cream-cheese.
“Yo. Flavie. Are you blanking me? I’ve said your name twenty times!”
Flavie dragged her eyelids open. Jacques Durant perched on the bar skirting the luggage rack across the aisle. He’d donned his sardonic voice, nasal over the diesel engine’s cough-and-splutter.
“Sorry, didn’t see you.”
“What’s up, have you lost your raison d’être?”
She pulled a smile. “The opposite, I guess.”
Even Oncle E had flown over from his English farm on his English island to celebrate Grand-maman’s demise. It seemed he owed a duty to the mother who’d cast him off—if only to bury her.
Flavie would’ve told Jacques everything if she minded his not knowing.
“Good day?” he asked.
After the funeral she’d gone back to school. Last lesson had been awful. Some hush-voiced teacher must’ve told the class, “You must be good to Flavie. Flavie is bereaved. You must unite to help her through her time of trouble.” So they said nothing and shrank from her silence. So she smiled at their pity.