a novel by Sarah Brownsberger

Complete at 115,000 words. Literary/upmarket.

THE MOON IN DAYTIME pokes serious fun at our current notions of breadwinning.

A resourceful mother of four, faced with divorce and minimum-wage poverty, joins forces with a gifted homeless teen, her daughter’s boyfriend, to knit her seedy New England town into a shadow economy of thrift and aid. So popular and needful does their project prove, it riles the local lords of industry and ultimately ISNARCC, a new federal law-enforcement agency. Rife with humor and family dynamics, Miriam’s tale of our present economy draws on themes as old as Persephone: a mother’s struggle to provide for her children in the face of rapacity.


TO HEAR HIS VOICE [working title]

a novel by Sarah Brownsberger
(YA, <85,000 words, in late revisions/under critique, est. completion date December 2019)

Why do the black neighbors shun Ellen Burns? What is she guilty of, at fifteen, besides being milk-white and Bostonian? They don’t even know her. She’s only in Prestland, Ohio, for the summer, to stay at her aunt and uncle’s historic farmhouse and take music lessons at the nearby conservatory. It’s 1980. Racism is over; integration won! Ellen’s aunt, a painter and Ellen’s hero in art and life, has been married to Ed Lowry, a son of  Prestland’s august black community, for twelve years.

Yet Uncle Ed’s cousins, who hang out with their friends in the cellar below Ellen’s room, snub Ellen cold, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. At Ed’s church, the pastor rails against outsiders. Even Uncle Ed gets mad, if Ellen deviates from his rules about where to go in town, how to act, and what to wear.

Focussing on her music, Ellen flouts her uncle’s concerns. Only when a threatening package arrives does Ellen grasp that her neighbors’ problem with her is not personal. Her presence on the old farm is fanning the heat in a brush-pile of race resentment against the Black community. The resentment is ancient but the Aaronite Guard, a supremacist group targeting interracial marriage, is new.

Now Ellen sees her neighbors’ wariness for what it is: Protection of precious life. When an emergency disrupts the community’s creative security measures, Ellen must draw on all her artistry to overcome what Edith Wharton called the “hard, bright blindness” of privilege, to follow the neighbors’ cues and act in concert with her Uncle’s young cousins to help preserve an historic refuge for the next generation.