I just started a new (to me) book last night. A used paperback copy of a book from 1994, with a premise eerily similar to a story I’ve had in my head for a few years. Mine will be a fantasy, where this one is a contemporary romance, but it deals with the same core issue: man has son out of wedlock that he doesn’t know about, is now married to someone else, and his daughter is attracted to the boy.
The first line of the book was so beautiful, I thought I should pluck out 12 more books off my shelf and make their first lines this week’s 13:
1. (First, the book I’m reading: Home Song by LaVyrle Spencer). Minnesota lay green and vibrant, freshened by a night’s rain that rinsed the late August sky to a watercolor blue.
2. “Death,” the proprietor said clearly, showing the stone. (Piers Anthony, On a Pale Horse)
3. It might have been chance that kept my attention tight across the street and upon the mud-splattered gypsy van, but I doubted it. (Dawn Cook, The Decoy Princess)
4. England, 1751. Rianne Lockwood heard the conversational noise in the salon when she was still ten feet from the room, and shook her head. (Sharon Green, Flame of Fury)
5. The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette. (William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, the ‘good parts’ version of S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure)
6. When the storm broke, rain pounding down in great sheets out of a black and unforgiving sky, Claire Hanson had to admit she wasn’t surprised; it had been that kind of evening. (Tanya Huff, Summon the Keeper)
7. Friday, October 8th. Lucifer—Puissant Lord of Evil, Utmost Originator of All Things Foul, Master of the Netherworlds, Purveyor of Anguish—glanced up from his newspaper to stare thoughtfully over the miles of open office space that made up the central nervous system of Hell. (Holly Lisle, Sympathy for the Devil)
8. Killashandra listened as the words dropped with leaden fatality into her frozen belly. (Anne McCaffrey, Crystal Singer)
9. On December 8th, 1915, Meggie Cleary had her fourth birthday. (Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds)
10. A.D. 2248: On the day after the killer frost took a ready harvest, a trio of cloaked enchanters came riding into Bolen’s town, New York, on froth-dappled black horses whose brasses shone like the sun. (Janet Morris, Dream Dancer)
11. The Prince had all his young life known the story of Sleeping Beauty, cursed to sleep for a hundred years, with her parents, the King and Queen, and all of the Court, after pricking her finger on a spindle. (Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty)
12. The angel Gabriel went to the oracle on Mound Sinai, looking for a wife. (Sharon Shinn, Archangel)
13. When I was seventeen, my life changed forever. (Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember)
What first line drew you in to one of your favorite books? Do some first lines seem bleh but the book is so good you read it over and over? Will you put a book down based on the first paragraph? Or keep reading it to see if it gets better?