Funeral director Neil Aldridge is used to grief, but he stumbles when his wife, Anna, loses not only several pregnancies but her lust for life. The Aldridges work around the clock to abate the crushing costs of their mortgage, student loans, and fertility treatments. When they decide to pause their journey to parenthood, Neil believes the crisis has been averted until Anna leaves for work and doesn’t come home.
Anna returns three days later, apparently happier than she’s been in years. However, Neil’s relief is short-lived when she reveals that she spent her extended weekend with her fiery ex-best friend, Steph, a woman whose enduring love for Anna has jeopardized their marriage before. And she neglected to tell him that they’ve conceived again.
A heated fight between the women reignites Neil’s fear that Steph’s feelings aren’t as unrequited as his wife has always insisted. But when Anna walks in on Neil embalming an infant, they’re forced to reconcile with their history of conception—and abortion. Neil must extricate Anna from her despondency and remind her why she chose him over Steph, or else he risks losing her for good.
DEATH RATTLE is an upmarket contemporary fiction manuscript that explores the shattered American Dream, reproductive rights, and lives worth living. Currently querying agents.
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