Book Jacket


rank 5940
word count 51210
date submitted 08.02.2009
date updated 05.04.2010
genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical Fictio...
classification: universal

The Lychway

Rebecca Beattie

Switching between late eighteenth century and modern day Dartmoor, and London, the story mixes legend with reality, fact with fiction, and folklore.


Chessen Waterhouse is a dreamer. Brought up in the lonely wilds of Dartmoor, she is considered an outsider by her peers and the local community, so she takes refuge in books. But there is one person in the community who finds her intriguing. Sam White has watched Chessen from afar for as long as he can remember.

Violet lives in the Dartmoor of the late eighteenth century, when a very different set of pressures govern life. Despite the village fear of the local Wise Woman Gracie, Violet is fascinated by the work she does, and they develop a friendship, which leads to the discovery that she has an aptitude for herb lore. Her father, discovering the covert lessons, allows them to continue, promising that he will tell Violet's Mother when the time is right. But Joshua's sudden death leaves Violet with her secret untold.

Church law of old states that the dead must be buried in the parish church, but at this time, the church is situated across the other side of the moor. With no alternative, Violet's brother, must bury their father in a snowdrift until the weather clears and they can begin the journey.

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, dartmoor, folklore, herb lore, history, journey, magic, west country, witchcraft

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Melcom wrote 1566 days ago

I really liked this felt very at home with it actually as I used to live near Dartmoor.

Very polished writing and the characters come to life through your wonderful descriptions.

Great flowing read that was a joy and pleasure to shelve


MerysAch wrote 1569 days ago

Thanks Rodney, will do!

After reading your pitches and looking at your chapters, I'm happy to back you.

Will you split your full synopsis into three or four paragraphs wih a line of white space between each paragraph? Doing so will give your synopsis more "eye appeal" and allow readers to follow your story's key plot points more easily.


Burgio wrote 1570 days ago

This is a well written story. The amount of research you must have put in to learn about this time in history shows. It brings your scenes, your dialogue, and your characters to life. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

soutexmex wrote 1570 days ago

You just tell us it switches back and forth in the short pitch. What is switching back and forth? Break up the long pitch into smaller bits. Make it a faster read. Being Authonomy's #1 commentator and amateur pitch doctor, trust me, spend some time on your pitches; I cannot overemphasize how you need to master this basic sales technique to grab the casual reader. That's how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key
Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

R.A. Battles wrote 1570 days ago

After reading your pitches and looking at your chapters, I'm happy to back you.

Will you split your full synopsis into three or four paragraphs wih a line of white space between each paragraph? Doing so will give your synopsis more "eye appeal" and allow readers to follow your story's key plot points more easily.


lizjrnm wrote 1570 days ago

This is a well crafted and polished piece of literature! It is evident you have spent time and passion in writing this gem. I agree with the previous comment - get a striking cover and you will sail through the rankings - everything counts.

The Cheech Room

Nick Poole2 wrote 1618 days ago

The Lychway

That's a good first line. We know immediately that we have an honourable but interesting heroine.

A child of nature, no less. I'm not too sure about the "you may be thinking" bit.

Her mother has a career! Scandal!

At last a scene! That horrible Susan. We need more of that, I think, and less of you telling, beguiling as it is. In fact this is coming alive ass she starts her lonely school life. Who can't identify with her here?

Chapter ends as it was promised, with gossip. And I AM beguiled.

You are quite a writer aren't you?

"Mirror In The Sky"

Heidi Mannan wrote 1857 days ago


Your pitch drew me in. I love your premise. I only had time to read the first chapter so far, but this has a lot of potential. Based on what I've read I'm giving it a turn on my shelf. Best of luck!

Turning Red

kgadette wrote 1865 days ago

Dear Rebecca,

For the quick pitch: try to streamline. Choose either legend/reality or fact/fiction/folklore.

For the long pitch: Suggest you break into digestible bits, ie paragraphs. Us readers seem to have digestion problems (!) Rather than give us every detail of the plot, throw the most important, evocative facts at us.
Eg rather than the first 2 sentences as they stand: "Chessen is a dreamer, preferring the company of books to people."

As for the first chapter, you've painted lots of details about Chessen. But where's the story? The incident that puts it all in motion?

Many other readers will address your book, and their opinions will be highly varied. However, I'm choosing to share with you some recent info I compiled from several agents. The general consensus was that the manuscript had at most the first 10 pages to prove it was worth reading further. Harsher readers said they'd stop after 3-5 pages unless something gripped them. This is not meant to be negative; rather, a checklist so that yours can be as good as possible in preparation for that all-important professional eye.

Characters must hold interest;
Story needs tension;
Conflict must be present – need to make life as difficult as possible for your MC;
Writing must be as polished as possible;
Descriptions general rather than specific;
Story must be going somewhere by three pages, max.

Take a look at your first 3 pages with the above list in mind. Do they promise a wonderful reading experience to come? This book has lots of promise; with that in mind, shelved.

bethany bate wrote 1989 days ago

Rebecca, I love the subject of your folklore and will delve far deeper into your chapters than the initial two I have had time to read so far. It is written in such a way as it is welcoming and entices the reader to advance into its pages. I love the dialect and and am happy to shelve it and put it on my wish list. But it is top priority for my next big read. Will be back to you shortly.
As we share common ground, may I interest you in a reciprocal agreement for you to read mine too? Many thanks. BB

Joanna Stephen-Ward wrote 1990 days ago


Welcome to authonomy. Good title and pitch. I recommened you get another cover asap to make it stand out from the others. Excellent frist line. I'd advise you not to address the reader, it's distracting and pulls you back to reality when the reader needs to get more absorbed in your story. Name the city where her mother works. It's specific and adds authenticity. You overuse Chessun's name. We know you are talking about her so SHE or HER will suffice. The children's comments about Chessun are just perfect, as are the descriptions of the new school.

A lovely engaging book. It's on my watch list till I get room on my shelf. I feel and hope this will go far.