I need help to decide/create a suitable title for my latest creation.....
I have given birth to a monster.
A literary monster in the form of a true saga.... I'm up to 85,000 words and still have a long way to go.
If you really don't want to know the plot, then don't read the following. I have left some key elements out, but don't say you weren't warned!
It starts in New York City in 1960. A very young runaway gives birth in a hospital having been helped off the street by a NYPD cop and a taxi driver. Her family, school and church have disowned her because she was pregnant. Just after the birth, the young mother dies, leaving her daughter truly alone in the world.
The plot line jumps forward to 2008. A retired parish priest (the story's narrator) is visited by an attractive American woman that he has never met, and yet she clearly knows him well. She turns out to be the baby from New York.
They have a discussion about an elderly man who died just after the priest originally took office in this particular village, many years before.
Without giving away too much, it turns out that the elderly man had a problem (yes, that one) that he had to live with through the turn of the century, two world wars and up to his death. He clearly wishes earnestly that reincarnation is not only possible, but he wants to come back with the original mistake being rectified.. as a female!
This woman convinced the vicar by producing irrefutable evidence and gstarts telling the old man's full story...
It begins in the early 1900s, in an upper-class private school, progressing to 1914 and the Great War, where our protagonist finds himself up to his behind in mud as an officer in the infantry.
In late 1916, he is cut off during a daring raid behind enemy lines. Trapped and wearing the wrong uniform, the man disguises himself as a female, assuming the name Sabine, and with some abandoned children, struggles to find a way to return to his own lines.
He succeeds, but a Canadian Officer falls in love with his female persona, so he has to escape from the allies too!
Eventually he returns to being who he used to be, (somewhat reluctantly) to find he's been awarded a medal for bravery and reported Missing in action. His CO is delighted to see him back safe and asks for a report of his exploits. He words his carefully, simply saying he disguised himself as a local and managed to evade the enemy until a suitable opportunity presented itself.
On the back of his experience, along with other suitably qualified 'experts' he is sent to America to assist the Americans to get an idea of what kind of a war is being fought in Europe. The political pendulum is swinging towards the US joining, so the US military want to be prepared in case.
While in America, the US military Intelligence is apparently more clued up and having seen his report, see through his wording and correctly assume that he used a female disguise. Discretion is maintained, and so he cooperates with one US Major. He is able to help draw up contingency plans for US personnel who are trapped in similar circumstances.
The Major's sister, (who actually prefers women) however, takes a fancy to our hero, identifying certain qualities in him that she is attracted to, and they become lovers. However, their joy is short lived as he has to return to Europe.. they become engaged just before he leaves.
On arrival in London, he is instructed to report to the War Office.
They were not as dumb as he believed... now asking him to go back into occupied Belgium to seek out intelligence about the German U boats that are plaguing the Atlantic and Mediterranean - the catch? he has to go back as a woman.
Sent to a secluded location to resurrect his alter ego - Sabine
Time spent sneaking about in occupied Belgium, tricking dastardly German officers, helping escaping POWs and finally returning to find the US has joined the fray and his fiancée is now a nurse attached to the US army.
They meet, she sees him as a woman, and sparks (good ones) fly.
End of war.. off to America, fun as flappers - tragedy, back to Britain for WW2. This time as a senior officer with MI19 - set up to assist the evading POWS in occupied Europe.... big jump to end of old man's life.......
...new jump to the girl's life. She retains all the old man's memories, which prove interesting for life in the 1970s and 80s....... marriage, children and true happiness.
Finale is when the elderly vicar visits the woman in her home in America and is brought up to date.
That in a nutshell is the story......
I initially called it
A CHANCE WOULD BE A FINE THING.
Another suggestion is ..
I am not convinced that either do it justice.
I'd like some suggestions. Now, I know that there are some excellent minds here (warped maybe, just like me, but still excellent), so please let me have some suggestions. If you like either of the original suggestions, then let me know.
I will credit the person who comes up with the one I select in the book.