Audition Notice – Fiction (Historical Fiction) Audiobook – PFH

Title: The Senator’s Daughter


Word Count: Approx. 73,000

Rate: $200 PFH (payments via electronic bank transfer)

Narrator Summary: Female, Strong Storytelling Skills, Standard American

Audio Required: Raw WAV, Punch & Roll.

Audition Deadline: December 15th, 2023

Full Recording Due: February 15th, 2024

Pickups: March 1st, 2024

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Book Synopsis

The novel follows Julia Webster, the teenage daughter of United States senator Daniel Webster, in the latter part of 1829 and the first half of 1830. Her family is going through a disruptive transition after the death of her mother two years prior when her father decides to marry again. The relationship between Julia and her new stepmother, Caroline, is a complicated one and is a subplot of the novel. In the aftermath of the wedding, Julia learns of the Indian Removal Act which is set to go before Congress in May 1830. This would lead to the removal of five indigenous nations (Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) from the southern states. She is appalled by this discovery and sets out to see if there is anything she can do to disrupt the passage of this legislation. She is also introduced to Matthew Eaton, the nephew of one of President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet members and staunchest supporters, John Henry Eaton. He has mixed feelings about his uncle and his stance on political issues and his and Julia’s relationship is a complex one that is explored as the novel progresses. Julia ends up traveling down to North Carolina under dubious circumstances and visits a Cherokee village in North Carolina where she meets and befriends a woman named Atsila. When she returns to her home in Boston, she faces repercussions for her unauthorized trip to North Carolina and learns from her father that the Indian Removal Act has unfortunately been passed. Her father reveals that he voted against it due in large part to her outspoken opposition to it. The novel ends with Julia vowing to do all she can to see that justice is done for the five affected nations.

Audition Script

The rain was coming down in gray sheets when she stepped out of the missionary society’s front entrance three days later. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ll never get used to how quickly the weather can change in April, she thought, remnants of snow piles still clinging to the cobblestones of the sidewalk. She’d had to beg James to take her earlier after she’d received late word that Abigail had been struck down with a nasty cold and Jacob had stayed home to take care of her.
There was, thankfully, a covered stoop to stand on and take shelter under but she couldn’t stay there forever. She glanced furtively up and down the lane but didn’t see the familiar silhouette of James or the carriage anywhere. That’s what I get for staying past the time we agreed on, she berated herself, knowing now that finishing those last few care kits hadn’t been her brightest idea.
She was well and stuck now and couldn’t even look to see if James was on the street behind the building without risking getting soaked to the skin. He would’ve had to give up his spot when she didn’t come out and now the side of the street was filled with other carriages waiting out the downpour. Not wanting to catch a cold herself, she turned her back to the street to go back inside and find out if it would be possible to borrow an umbrella.
“Julia,” came a familiar voice. She turned and was surprised to see Matthew unexpectedly striding toward her under a very welcoming umbrella.
“Matthew! Oh, thank goodness. What are you doing out here in this weather?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” he replied good-naturedly, shifting himself over toward the edge of the lane so that she could fit under the umbrella’s protective canopy. “I was walking back from a meeting with one of our clients. It was a good thing Mr. Kinsman recommended taking this with me. I would’ve been in the same boat as you if I hadn’t.”
“I should’ve been more prepared. I’m so grateful you came along. The only problem is I haven’t found James yet. I hope I’m not delaying you from returning to the law office.”
“You’ve nothing to worry about. That meeting was my last of the day. I was actually on my way home when I spotted you.”
“Oh, it is rather late in the afternoon, isn’t it?” Now that the days were getting longer again, Julia had also been thrown off by the fact there was still some faint light to the overcast sky. “I hope James doesn’t get into trouble due to my carelessness. I really thought I could get everything I needed to do done before I left.”
They had reached the corner by then, turning left on to the next block in an attempt to find James and the elusive carriage.
“What exactly do you do when while you’re there? I don’t know if I’ve ever asked.”
“Oh, it depends on the day and what’s the important mission of the day or week. I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve kneaded dough, shelled peas, helped with big vats of laundry. But today I was putting together care kits for the missions that are going out soon. We’re almost fully prepared for the ones
leaving in the next three months, both within the country and outside of it.”
“It sounds like your work keeps you very busy. I hope you’re getting something out of it.” “It’s fulfilling work as long as I remember I’m doing it in service of others. Otherwise, it would be easy to feel drained by it.”
He gave her a knowing smile and she blushed at her own boldness. They had now reached the next block and still no sign of James. Julia was beginning to panic a bit. What would she do if James had decided it was best to go back home to wait out the storm? How would she get back if she didn’t find him within the next couple of blocks?
“I still don’t see him,” she said to Matthew, fiddling with her locket. “Why don’t we go back to the missionary’s building, then? It would be better for us to wait in one place and see if James turns up where he’s supposed to be.”
“Yes, I like that idea,” she said, feeling relieved. At least one of them was making good sense.
Turning back the way they’d come, a comfortable silence settled between them as they maneuvered their way through the small streams that had popped up between the stones. They were almost to the missionary’s massive façade when Matthew spoke up again.
“I hope it’s not this sodden in Washington. My uncle and your father could be up a creek like we are now.”
“Oh, please don’t even put that thought in my mind. My father doesn’t need another bout with anything right now. I don’t think they’d be anywhere together, anyway.”
“Yes, you’re probably right. My uncle seems to be avoiding your father since New Year’s.” They had almost made it to the steps where they had started.
“Why would he be avoiding my father? He’s the only one that stood up for him during that whole messy evening.”
“I don’t think he interpreted it as your father doing him any favors. He’s a proud man who thinks he can fight all of his battles alone.”
“He’s certainly hankering to fight actual battles,” she muttered, unable to keep her contempt under wraps.
“What did you say?”
“Your uncle. . .” she stopped herself from saying what she really thought of Henry Eaton, trying desperately to salvage this unexpected opportunity to see Matthew. She suddenly realized they’d halted in the middle of the sidewalk and there was no steady stream of people to carry them along. They could very likely have an argument in the rain and no one would intervene.
“What? You can say it if you want to,” he said, his typically open face now a mask of rigid lines.
He was shutting her out right before her eyes which needled her even more. How could he put so much importance in what his uncle thought?
“He’s a fool. A cruel and inept one at that.” The words she spoke were barely audible as the rain poured down around them. But she had said them out loud and that was what mattered. She felt his swift intake of breath, they were so close to one another under the umbrella.
“I know how important it is for you to help with the Indian cause. But you can’t attack others while you’re defending it. To be frank, I think you judge my uncle too harshly. I see the way your face contorts when you mention him and his involvement in all of this. I don’t think you understand the pressure he’s under from the president.”
“And I don’t think you understand how willing he is to carry out the president’s orders. You’re blinded by your loyalty to him because of the assistance he provides you.”
The moment the angry words fell from her lips, Julia knew she’d pushed things too far. She’d only witnessed the fury that now morphed Matthew’s face into a scowl once before, when she’d followed him on New Year’s Eve after Henry’s disastrous spectacle. He didn’t show it very often but its
heat could melt brass.
“I see you’re not holding back today. Please, tell me what you really think, Miss Webster.”